Removing mufflers has become a popular way to give your vehicle a more aggressive sound. But while it’s one of the most popular ways, it’s not the only way to make your escapement louder. So if after reading this guide you find that this isn’t the path you want to follow, you’re not completely out of luck.
But while muffler removal is gaining popularity, there are some important caveats to be aware of. Read on and we’ll break down everything you need to know.
What is a muffler removal?
Mufflers are the last part of your vehicle’s exhaust system and act as resonators to minimize the amount of noise your engine makes.
Although mufflers and straight pipe exhaust systems are interchangeable, they are not the same. Mufflers only remove the muffler, while straight pipe exhaust systems remove both the muffler and the catalytic converter!
Exhaust Removal Benefits
Silencer removers are popular for a reason, and believe it or not, sometimes it’s about more than just the sound. Below we have discussed the two most common reasons people remove their mufflers from their vehicles.
#1: Increased Power in Older Vehicles
If you’re driving a vehicle that’s nearly 20 years old or more, there’s a good chance removing the exhaust will increase your peak horsepower.
This is because mufflers from older vehicles are extremely restrictive and increase engine back pressure, neither of which is good for your engine. You read that right: On older vehicles, mufflers are really good for your engine.
#2 – More Aggressive Exhaust Sound
While removing the muffler can be a good thing for older engines, the reason they are so popular has to do with one thing: they give your vehicle a much more aggressive (and louder) sound.
The whole purpose of your muffler is to reduce the amount of noise your vehicle makes. So if you’re looking for a louder vehicle with a more aggressive sound, it makes sense to remove the muffler to do the job.
Disadvantages of removing the muffler
While the removal of mufflers is loved by many car enthusiasts, there is no doubt that it comes with a host of drawbacks. Below we’ve highlighted four potential issues you’ll face as you complete the muffler removal.
#1 – Much louder exhaust
Vehicles without a muffler make a lot of noise. And while that’s the point, it’s still a little annoying when you’re on long road trips. This is especially true when your vehicle is running at higher RPMs and more air is flowing out of the exhaust.
Though you may not mind the noise when accelerating. Deafening drowning while driving on the highway can be more than a little annoying.
#2 – May Reduce Engine Performance
Expect. Don’t we see increased engine performance as pro? We did, and it’s because on older vehicles removing the muffler can increase peak horsepower, but can have the opposite effect on newer vehicles.
Newer mufflers are much less restrictive and the ECM is set up by the manufacturer to work with the muffler. Not only do you increase the loss of engine performance from removing the exhaust on a newer vehicle, but you also get a Check Engine Light.
This may not seem like a big deal, but if another problem arises, your vehicle won’t be able to tell you to have it checked before it gets worse.
#3 – Inspection/Emission Error
If you live in a state where your vehicle is required to pass a vehicle or emissions test, removing the muffler will not pass. Sometimes your vehicle will display an engine code that prevents an accurate emissions test, automatically leading to a failed test.
Other times the technician will see what you have done and abandon your vehicle. Either way, if your vehicle needs inspections, you’ll probably need to put all the original equipment back in or it won’t pass.
#4 – It’s illegal
Let’s make one thing clear: if you want to remove the muffler from a vehicle that is going to drive on the road, you are breaking the law.
While it is unlikely that you will be arrested for removing your muffler, it is very possible that you will be arrested for violating local noise ordinances.
Remove Muffler vs Remove Resonator
Another way to increase the sound of your vehicle while leaving the muffler intact is to remove the resonator. Not all vehicles have a resonator, but if yours does, it’s another way to increase the sound of your vehicle without touching the muffler.
But if you want to remove the resonator instead of the muffler so you can stay on the right side of the law, you’re out of luck. This is because, like removing the muffler, removing the resonator is illegal in most states.
How much does it cost to remove a muffler?
If you want to remove a muffler, you will be pleasantly surprised at the cost. The parts themselves are usually only $50-$250. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a mechanic to do the job, it’s only $100-$200.
However, it can be a little more difficult to find a mechanic willing to do the job, as removing the muffler is illegal on cars that will be driven on public roads.
Will a muffler remove pass emissions?
Absolutely not! Removing a muffler does not pass a regular vehicle inspection, much less one that focuses on the exhaust system. However, if you’re curious as to whether removing a muffler will increase emissions, it’s a resounding no.
All the muffler does is reduce noise and has no smog emission or reduction equipment. But that won’t stop the inspector or even your vehicle’s ECM from failing your test.
Is it legal to remove a muffler?
No matter what state you live in, removing the muffler is illegal on vehicles on public roads. There’s a common misconception that as long as your vehicle’s noise stays under state or local noise ordinance, you’re good to go; that’s just not the case.
While it is possible to get a ticket for the muffler removal, you are more likely to get a ticket for the excessive noise from the vehicle, not the muffler removal itself.
However, if you’re stopped by a police officer who knows what he’s doing, there’s definitely a chance you’ll get more than one ticket.