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How To Straight Pipe A Car: Straight Piping Your Car for Enhanced Performance & Sound

A car muffler removed and replaced with pipe to make a straight pipe exhaust.

If you're one of many car enthusiasts who want a car that lets the engine roar, you may wonder about having a straight-pipe exhaust. There are a few ways to accomplish this.

A straight-pipe exhaust system is done by removing the muffler from your exhaust system and running an exhaust pipe without it. The catalytic converter can also be removed, leaving only the exhaust pipe running from the exhaust manifold.

Read on to learn more about straight-pipe exhausts and the pros and cons of this system.

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    A car muffler removed and replaced with pipe to make a straight pipe exhaust.
    A car muffler removed and replaced with pipe to make a straight pipe exhaust.

    Can You Straight Pipe Your Own Car?

    It is possible to run a straight pipe exhaust for your car.

    You can set up your straight pipe system if you know how to weld and have access to a welding machine and some basic mechanical knowledge.

    You can still accomplish a more basic straight pipe exhaust without the need for any welding, though.

    How To Straight Pipe A Car Without Welding?

    If you want to run a straight pipe exhaust system without welding, you can use band clamps instead.

    Band clamps are metal clamps that fit over each end of a pipe that has been cut or broken.

    Once you fit these band clamps in place, you tighten the bolts attached to the clamps to hold the exhaust pipes in place.

    These clamps work well for exhaust system repairs in place of welding, so they're a good substitute for welding straight pipes.

    Straight pipe exhaust on shop floor.
    Straight pipe exhaust on shop floor.

    How Much HP Does A Straight Pipe Add?

    The potential horsepower gained from straight piping depends on the type of engine your car has and what kind of exhaust system you decide to run.

    You could gain around five extra horsepower if you straight pipe from the catalytic converter to the exhaust tip, only removing your muffler from the exhaust system.

    If you remove the catalytic converter and run a complete straight-pipe exhaust system, you may gain as much as ten horsepower to your engine performance.

    This also requires you to adjust your engine timing and fuel injection. Without this additional engine tuning, you may not see these gains in extra horsepower.

    Is Straight Piping Good For Your Engine?

    Opinions are somewhat divided on whether or not using a straight pipe exhaust is good for your engine.

    Some people believe that removing the muffler and other components of the exhaust system will reduce back pressure caused by built-up exhaust gases in the engine.

    They say that this reduced pressure will cause the engine performance to be more efficient, which will help the engine run better.

    Others argue that while it may be true that straight pipes will lead to better flow of exhaust gas velocity, it's not necessarily better for your engine overall.

    Most engines are built to run with a certain amount of internal pressure during normal operation, so removing that pressure can throw off engine timing and can decrease engine performance.

    Straight pipe exhaust is often found on older muscle cars.
    Straight pipe exhaust is often found on older muscle cars.

    Does Straight Pipe Waste More Gas?

    Yes, it is almost always the case that running straight pipes will cause you to burn more gas.

    Your engine has sensors that monitor your exhaust system and uses them to adjust your fuel mixture, so any changes to the exhaust could affect how much gas your engine is sending to your intake.

    In another sense, having a straight-piped car may tempt you to rev your engine higher and more often, which will also lead to you burning more gas while driving or idling.

    What's Better: Straight Pipe Or Muffler?

    Since there's no clear answer on whether or not a straight pipe exhaust system is good for your engine, this comes down to personal preference.

    Are you a fan of loud exhaust systems, or do you prefer to keep your car quiet and peaceful?

    You will probably enjoy a straight pipe exhaust if you spend a lot of time out on the highway or around race tracks with other race cars.

    If you live in a quiet neighborhood or a sleepy small town, you may not make many new friends with an obnoxiously loud exhaust system.

    How Long Does It Take To Straight Pipe A Car?

    If you are attempting to run a straight pipe system by yourself, it could take a while.

    This is a very labor-intensive process that involves a lot of cutting and welding. In addition, you have to remove all of the old pipe sections and the other exhaust components if you are removing them.

    If you are reusing the old pipes, you will need to reinstall them and weld them back into place.

    If not, you can order a custom straight pipe kit or bend your own new sections of exhaust pipes.

    This requires a mandrel bender, which can be expensive, especially if it's only used for this one job.

    An exhaust shop has the equipment to do all the work involved much more quickly, but there are some straight pipe jobs that a shop won't do.

    A mechanic removing a muffler to straight pipe a car.
    A mechanic removing a muffler to straight pipe a car.

    Where Can I Get My Car Straight Piped?

    If you don't know anyone that does this kind of work, you could ask around a few shops or mechanics to see if you can get any recommendations.

    Even if a certain exhaust shop doesn't do this kind of work, they can probably point you in the direction of someone who can.

    Will A Muffler Shop Straight Pipe?

    Since it's against federal and state law to remove a catalytic converter and other air pollution controls from the exhaust system, most shops won't be willing to do this work.

    Removing a muffler is technically illegal in most states, so most reputable shops won't do this either.

    If you know someone personally who works at a muffler shop, or you are willing to use one that is a little shadier about their business, you may find a shop that's at least willing to do a muffler delete.

    How Much Does It Cost To Straight Pipe A Car?

    Straight-pipe exhaust systems can vary significantly in price depending on the exhaust setup (muffler delete vs. complete straight pipe) and the model of the car.

    You could expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $500 for the parts alone, and the cost could rise to over $1000, with labor costs included if you have someone do the work for you.

    Straight Pipe Kit

    Many models of cars have custom exhaust kits available to purchase online or from custom retailers.

    These kits have exhaust pipes already pre-bent and measured to fit your car's exhaust system.

    A custom exhaust kit will be more expensive than a standard pipe that has to be bent to fit your car model.

    Straight pipes coming out of the side of an aircraft.
    Straight pipes coming out of the side of an aircraft.

    Is It Worth Straight Piping A Car?

    The answer to this question comes down to personal preference.

    There are a lot of factors you have to consider, like price and legal questions.

    You're trading a loss in fuel economy for only a slight increase in horsepower and low-end torque over factory exhaust, so there isn't a clear advantage.

    Modifying your car's exhaust system can also hurt the resale value, so you may lose money in the long run.

    You will also have to deal with an exhaust drone, the vibrating or humming sound that resonates through your car as it gets up to higher speeds.

    This droning noise can be uncomfortable for extended periods, so long drives or road trips can get annoying quickly.

    Is Straight Pipe Legal?

    In short, no.

    It's against federal and state law to remove your muffler without a suitable replacement. It's also illegal to remove your catalytic converter and other air pollution controls from your exhaust system.

    You should check the state regulations for your particular state to see if there are exceptions for custom setups.

    Muffler Delete Vs. Straight Pipe?

    A muffler delete is just as it sounds: removing only the muffler from the exhaust system.

    A straight pipe exhaust removes the muffler and other components, like the resonator and catalytic converter.

    Which Is Louder Straight Pipe Or Muffler Delete?

    A straight pipe exhaust will always be louder than a muffler delete.

    Since you're removing any sound-deadening components of the stock exhaust system with a straight pipe exhaust, the exhaust gases don't have anything to quiet them as they leave the exhaust manifold.

    With a muffler delete, you still have the baffles of the resonator and the catalytic converters to at least provide a slight reduction in noise from the exhaust gases.

    Can I Remove My Catalytic Converter And Replace With A Straight Pipe?

    You can remove the catalytic converter from your vehicle, but you're on your own if you decide to do this.

    It's illegal to remove in all 50 states, and it's also prohibited by federal law.

    There's the environmental concern to take into account too.

    Catalytic converters are put in place to convert harmful emissions from your engine into things that are less harmful to the air.

    It's there for a reason, so take that into account before you decide to remove it.


    Straight pipe exhausts are worth considering if you have a passion for loud cars, but they also have downsides.

    Consider all this when deciding whether you want to straight-pipe your car!