The muffler is a cylindrical component attached to the exhaust that filters out the loud, explosive sounds from the engine. Inside the muffler is a set of tubes that are designed to reflect sound waves back and forth in order to reduce the engine noise.
All vehicles come with a factory standard muffler but you do have the option of installing an aftermarket custom muffler. While standard mufflers do the job well enough, custom mufflers may be better suited to provide the performance you want from your vehicle.
Before you decide to install a new muffler, you need to take into consideration 3 important things: fit, type and construction.
Find the Right Fit
When it comes to fit, you need to consider whether or not your vehicle has a single or dual exhaust system. This is easy enough to determine – look at the underside of the back end of your vehicle. Is there one or two tail pipes? One is a single exhaust system, two is a duel exhaust system.
Whether you have a single or duel system will indicate how many inlets are required. The inlets are sections of the exhaust tip that point toward your engine.
You also need to know your exhaust pipe diameter in order to match the inlet size to the existing diameter.
Lastly, take note of how much room you have under your vehicle for a custom muffler. You want to make sure that whatever custom muffler you choose provides sufficient clearance under your vehicle.
Types of Mufflers
Once you have figured out the proper fit of a custom muffler, you need to choose the style of muffler. There are 3 main styles to choose from, each with their own benefits and considerations:
1. Straight Through Muffler
A straight through muffler features a perforated tube that allows for silent release of exhaust gases. Because the exhaust gas can flow freely, the performance of the engine is unhindered. This means that, due to the low flow restriction, you will experience an increase in horsepower and fuel economy.
2. Turbo Muffler
Turbo mufflers have an S-shaped design that allows exhaust gases to enter the muffler and release out the tube. While you will gain horsepower and better noise reduction, this muffler design is more restrictive. This means that the exhaust gases have to travel farther and work harder to push through the exhaust system.
3. Chambered Muffler
If you are looking for that deep and growling engine noise, you may want to consider a chambered muffler. The resonating chambers inside this muffler are designed to amplify and tune the exhaust sound into something more guttural and aggressive. Chambered mufflers also provide low restriction and more engine “breathability”.
Typically, factory standard mufflers are made of aluminized steel. This is merely a cost efficient option that involves hot-dipping standard-grade steel to coat is with a tough, corrosion-resistant alloy. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is made from a denser steel and provides stronger corrosion-resistance, more durability and a longer life span. It also costs quite a bit more.
Neither aluminized steel or stainless steel necessarily lend to performance. When choosing between the two, consider where you live and the weather conditions there. Climates that experience wetter weather and salted roads in the winter may accelerate the development of rust in aluminized steel. For these areas, stainless steel may be more appropriate and cost efficient.