straight exhaust pipe

Straight Pipe Exhaust – Advantages vs Disadvantages

In General by Magnus Sellén8 Comments

straight exhaust pipeWe love loud cars that make strange noises even though they are harmful to our ears.

There is just something about them that excites our senses as motorheads. The flutter of a turbo, the whine of a supercharger or the grumbling of a straight pie exhaust can always turn heads. Since these sounds are so desirable, car enthusiasts spend loads of money on acquiring turbos and superchargers.

However, the majority of us do not have that kind of money so we look for a quick fix. In comes the straight pipe exhaust system, which is the easiest way to make your car sound louder.

In essence, a straight pipe exhaust is an exhaust system that involves joining a pipe directly from the exhaust headers and taking it straight to the end tip without the involvement of a catalytic converter or a muffler at any point. Straight pipe exhausts are loud. Really loud. Which is why they are usually found in racing engines and performance vehicles.

These exhaust systems let exhaust gases flow freely from the engine allowing them to go in the atmosphere directly through the exhaust tip. What’s not to like? Let’s take a look at what makes straight pipes wonderful.


There are many advantages that come with a straight pipe exhaust system:

Increased Performance

exhaust pipeThe biggest reason that many people opt for a straight pipe exhaust is that these systems enhance your car’s horsepower. These systems reduce back pressure from the engine which allows exhaust gases to flow freely and help the engine perform without hindrances. You get better fuel economy and slightly better horsepower. However, the size of the pipe is important. You can’t just go and get a thick pipe for your car. You need to get a proper analysis by a certified mechanic to get the best output for your car.

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Straight pipes also make your car stand out in the crowd. You can apply a chrome finish to the exhaust tip to make it look appealing. Various types of welding methods are used to give beautiful colors to the tip. You can find green, blue and red colored patterns on the tip that make it look highly appealing. Furthermore, you can go for a twin pipe setup for an even better aesthetic. In the racing world the more exhaust pipes you have the sportier your car is. That is why many modern sports cars come with quad exhausts instead of twin exhausts.

Engine’s True Sound

The straight pipe exhaust system lets out the true sound of an engine. Since there are no restrictions in the way like a muffler, the car sounds raw and pure. However, you might have to rethink starting your car early in the morning as that would definitely wake your neighbors.

If you really love the sound of straight pipes – We can recommend the Kooks exhaust pipes on Amazon. Click here to check it out, don’t forget to search for your car model.


Just like everything else in the world, a straight pipe exhaust system has its advantages and disadvantages. It is up to us to decide what to sacrifice and what to gain.

Not Cost-Effective

Straight piping is expensive. First off, you need to change the entire exhaust structure to make way for the new pipes. New pipes are not cheap and are hard to come by which is why there is a trend for custom built exhaust pipes.

Furthermore, after you opt for a straight pipe exhaust system, you have to tune your vehicle according to certain standards. Tuning is not cheap either, so make sure you have deep pockets before you decide to make the conversion.

Rampant Emissions

Yes, straight pipes make the best sound but they are not great for the environment. In the late 20th century, catalytic converters were introduced to vehicles to counter the effects of pollution caused by cars. However, initial catalytic converters were not very viable for performance vehicles. They restricted the flow of gas and did not allow the engine to breathe freely. The catalytic technology advanced over the years and now modern cars have high-flow catalytic converters that allow a large percentage of the gas to run freely. But still, they are not as good as a straight pipe system. That can’t be helped as cat-converters are required by law. If you still go for a straight pipe system, keep in mind that you won’t pass the emissions test and your car won’t be allowed on the road. To get the best of both worlds, you could go for a cat-back exhaust system, which is essentially a system that has a cat-converter and a straight pipe setup.

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Often Extremely Loud

Sometimes the only reason motorheads go for a straight pipe setup is that they want their car to sound loud. What they don’t realize is that straight pipes can make their car extremely loud to the extent that starting and driving one in a suburban neighborhood could warrant police attention. Enthusiasts that go for such systems usually only drive their cars on race tracks. So, if you are lucky enough to have a race-track in your city, a straight pipe setup would be a great inclusion for your vehicle as you will be able to test it to its limits.


After weighing-up the pros and cons of a straight pipe exhaust system, it should be clear that if you are going for one in your car, you should be ready to face some consequences. It is hard for you to get a performance car that runs fast, sounds good and is street legal.

The term street legal has become increasingly relevant nowadays as more restrictions have come in place against streetcars and their role in polluting the roads and the environment with noise and air pollution.

However, modern problems have modern solutions. Manufacturers have created a by-pass solution for car enthusiasts. The by-pass system allows you to switch between two exhaust setups. With the push of a button, you can open up a valve that takes the exhaust gas to a straight pipe exhaust tip.

When you are in the city, you can press the button again and channel the exhaust gases to a muffler, saving you from judgmental stares.

Hello I'm Magnus, the owner and the writer of this website. I have been working with cars since I was 16 and I'm specialized with in-depth Automotive diagnostics. Also been driving drifting for the last 6 years. I'm here to give you answers to all your automotive questions and I hope that you enjoy our content.

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8 thoughts on “ Straight Pipe Exhaust – Advantages vs Disadvantages ”

    1. It is actually legal to have a car with no catalytic converter if you tip your mot centre generously

      1. its actually not illegal if your vehicle is old enough that it did not come from the factory with cats

  1. Hi Magnus Sellen I appreciate your post in the link and i am really glad about the information you shear with people I am a Mechanic engineer I work for Mercedes dealer then Toyota Dealer for more then 6year and now i work for oil and gas company as Maintenance PSL supervisor on HDV and LDV equipment
    So My question is ,I have my Mercedes W123 chassis E230 class I have several issue with exhaust system and the parts is not really available i am looking for restore the exhaust system and make strait pipe exhaust system duel with the original with gate Valve ?please mail me in my address I need some advice from you thanks .

  2. Dual Resonators and Cats to just pipes out back on a 03 crown vic . What is recommended to quiet it up muffler tips and what kind? Really don’t wanna cut in middle unless I really have to

  3. What should I do to my Dodge Charger v6 exhaust system to make it better ?

  4. What is a good price for a tune? How much do custom exhausts usually go for?

  5. Due to a very high demand and high ammount of comments, you have to wait for some time for your car questions to get answered. If you want to get fast answers from a certified master technician you can ask your questions here:
    Ask A Mechanic

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