What Is a Straight Pipe Exhaust System? (Explained)

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The stock exhaust system on every car is carefully designed and laid out in a way that emissions from the pipe would meet national regulations.

However, most of us go ahead to modify our car’s exhaust system further to achieve quite different purposes; it could be to get deeper, throaty, or grumbling sounds when we fire on or to reduce the exhaust noise.

One of the most sort-after exhaust modifications done by car enthusiasts is getting a straight pipe exhaust system. But what is a straight pipe exhaust system, and what does it exactly do?

A straight pipe exhaust produces grumbling sounds when you drive, and many people love such uncommon exhaust sounds. Read on as we discuss more about straight pipe exhaust system!

What Is a Straight Pipe Exhaust System?

Which auto enthusiast doesn’t love it? The hard whining of a supercharger, the fluttering of a turbo, the grumbling of a straight pipe? Some people would spend anything to get these uncommon exhaust sounds; yes, they are that desirable. However, of these sounds, the sound of a straight pipe is the loudest.

A straight pipe exhaust system is an exhaust system made up of no component at all; it is an exhaust system that sacrifices components for performance and sound.

What does this mean? It means that a straight pipe exhaust has no typical exhaust system component such as a catalytic converter (CAT), muffler, resomer, and every other thing in-between – it’s just a “Straight Pipe!

In other words, this type of system runs from the manifold straight to the end without having any exhaust component in-between.

Typically, stock exhaust systems have mufflers and catalytic converters to control the emissions and sound output; some people who want a more quieter exhaust system may install a resomer. Now, these just-mentioned parts are unavailable in straight pipe systems.

So, basically, the straight pipe exhaust system has just a “straight pipe” running from the exhaust heads (manifold) down to the outside.

But why would people go for such an exhaust? Deleting the muffler, resomer, and CAT can increase the harmfulness of the emissions from an ICE vehicle and, of course, make the car very noisy. So why do people install straight pipe exhausts?

How Does A Straight Pipe Exhaust System Work

Straight pipe exhausts provide a free passageway for emissions coming out from the engine, eliminating any chamber where the emissions may be processed before being sent out of the tailpipe.

This implies that straight pipe systems funnel exhaust gases from the engine to the atmosphere without filtration or processing. Is this even safe? No, it’s not eco-friendly, but people still use them.

Why Do People Consider Straight Pipe Exhaust Systems?

There are reasons why people pay a reasonably high sum to install straight pipe systems. Majorly, such exhaust systems are used in racing and performance cars because of the horsepower gain potential. Hereunder are some of the reasons people install straight pipe exhausts.

1. Grumbling Noise/Sound

You may call it noise, but auto enthusiasts would rather call it a “Unique sound.” Straight pipe exhausts produce uncommon sounds that standard stock options can’t produce. This unique sound interests a lot of people.

2. Horsepower Increase

Straight pipe exhaust systems are liable to increase the amount of horsepower your engine produces. Since there’s no back pressure in straight pipe systems, the horsepower and torque production from your engine can increase a bit.

3. Lighter Weight

Apparently, an exhaust without a muffler, resonator, and cat converter would be lighter than an exhaust with all those components. That said, straight pipe exhausts are lighter to have on your car – coupled with other benefits, most car enthusiasts see this as a worthwhile investment.

 4. Fuel Economy

Most drivers who got straight pipe exhausts allege they experienced much better fuel economy afterward. The increased fuel economy is practically due to the absence of “back pressure” since the exhaust’s components are all deleted.

Why You May Not Want Straight Pipe Exhaust Systems

You may be an auto enthusiast that loves having custom installations on your vehicle and still not like a straight pipe exhaust. Why?

Hereunder are the reasons.

1. Annoying Loud Noise

The absence of the muffler, resomer/resonator, and CAT makes cars with straight pipe exhausts very loud. The loudness can wake your neighbors from sleep every morning when you want to start the car. Also, while on the roads, you could get fined for driving such a loud car.

2. Not Eco-Friendly

The essence of the CAT converter in an exhaust system is to convert the harmful emission gases from the combustion chamber into less harmful steams or exhaust gases. With the absence of a catalytic converter, engine emissions would escape from the exhaust’s tailpipe unprocessed, which is not good for the environment.

3. It’s Illegal!

Yes, using a straight pipe exhaust on a street car is illegal. It’s an offense to delete the cat converter and muffler from your exhaust in some states. So, before you think of using a straight pipe exhaust, confirm the legality in your state.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Resell A Car With a Straight Pipe Exhaust System?

Yes, you can resell the car. But, because you used a straight pipe exhaust, the resell value would be worth less than another similar car with a standard exhaust system. One of the disadvantages of straight pipe exhausts is that they decrease your car’s resale value.

Is a Straight Pipe Exhaust Better?

If you’re looking for better performance and fuel economy, you may just have to install a straight pipe exhaust. Also, this exhaust type is common among auto enthusiasts the engage in racing and similar activities.

Is Straight Pipe Exhaust Good For Your Engine?

Well, a straight pipe exhaust may increase the amount of horsepower you get from your engine, as well as improve the engine’s performance due to lack of “Back Pressure.” Nothing will happen to your engine when you install a straight pipe exhaust.


What is a straight pipe exhaust system? It is simply an exhaust system with zero components – just a single pipe running from the manifold/exhaust heads down to the outside of your vehicle. It costs around $100 – $400 to have this type of exhaust system installed for you.

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