Muffler Delete VS Straight Pipe: Which is Better? (2023)

Like most car enthusiasts, you may be thinking of changing your vehicle’s exhaust system and making it louder. Currently, the two most popular options to choose from are the muffler delete and straight pipe.

So what’s the difference between these two? Furthermore, which is better for your car?

The good news is I have all the answers to your questions below so you can decide. Let’s begin!

Muffler Delete

Muffler Delete VS Straight Pipe: Which is Better? (1)

The term speaks for itself. It is the process of muffler removal (granted your car has one) and using a steel pipe instead.

See, the muffler works by causing backpressure and limiting the expulsion of gases. Therefore, you can ‘enhance’ the exhaust sound by deleting the muffler since nothing prevents the free flow of gases.

Since the muffler only works to limit exhaust noise, your car will still function even if you remove it from your system. Furthermore, a muffler delete won’t affect/damage your engine.

More than just improving sound, a muffler delete may boost car performance too. Since a colossal component will be removed, the vehicle’s weight will be reduced. As a result, the car’s torque will be improved.

Although most cars with mufflers can have this modification, it is often done in modern muscle and sports cars.

Straight Pipe Exhaust System

Muffler Delete VS Straight Pipe: Which is Better? (2)

This type of exhaust pipe starts at the headers, thus allowing the exhaust fumes to exit right at the tip.

A straight pipe works to replace the muffler, resonator, and catalytic converter so all the noises that the vehicle produces will be heard.


Like a muffler delete, a straight pipe can improve performance by making your vehicle lighter. That’s why apart from removing the components mentioned above, race car drivers remove everything else (seats, fixtures, etc.) that will make the car heavier.

Despite the pervasive beliefs, ‘longer is not always better with straight pipes. In fact, the lengthier the tube is, the likelier it’ll produce annoying crackling and popping sounds.

Similar to muffler deletion, most cars can be straight-piped. However, this modification is best performed in trucks and SUVs.

Muffler Delete vs. Straight Pipe: a Comparison

It’s challenging to determine which one is better if you don’t see how they differ from each other. So before we pinpoint the best modification for your car, let’s compare the two options first.

1. Vehicle Noise Enhancement

Whether you want to make a newer vehicle or an older one sound louder, know that both options can do so.

That’s where the difference ends, though.

Both will only make your car sound louder, but not necessarily better. You will still need to install an aftermarket muffler or exhaust device in your car to achieve this result.

2. Back Pressure

This term refers to the air pressure produced in the exhaust chambers. Needless to say, the lesser the exhaust backpressure, the better the vehicle’s performance.

Again, both can significantly reduce the back pressure in your engine system.

A muffler delete does this by allowing the free flow of gases. Straight pipes, on the other hand, make this possible due to the removal of constraints on the muffler, catalytic converter, and resonator.

Granted that the latter eliminates more parts, it can reduce back pressure better than a muffler delete.

3. Exhaust Velocity

On the other hand, this term refers to the speed at which exhaust gases flow. It’s technically the opposite of back pressure, for the mantra ‘the higher, the better’ applies to exhaust velocity.

(Video) Muffler Delete VS Straight Pipes! Nissan 350z 3.5L V6

However, the only way to increase exhaust velocity is to narrow the exhaust pipes. Since neither a straight pipe nor a muffler delete won’t achieve this outcome, both these modifications won’t improve your car’s exhaust velocity.

Muffler Delete VS Straight Pipe: Which is Better? (3)

4. Horsepower

Both exhaust systems can give your vehicle a hefty horsepower gain.

That said, a straight pipe can provide more torque (about ten hp) because of the removal of the catalytic converter.

Speed notwithstanding, one of the disadvantages of straight pipes is you’ll need meticulous work (car tuning and fuel injection modification) to attain this increased horsepower. Consequently, the car will require more care and monitoring because of all the enhancements.

So while a muffler deletion will only add half the power gain – five hp – it doesn’t require many changes. The additional torque won’t feel much in a newer car, but it can especially strike a difference for older vehicles aged 20 years and above.

5. Tuning

As mentioned, fitting a car with straight pipes entails more work.

First and foremost, they require Electronic Control Unit (ECU) changes, which isn’t necessary for a muffler delete. In fact, it’s pointless to have a muffler-deleted car tuned.

Tuning the ECU for straight-piped cars, however, is a necessary process. This allows you to disable the check engine light (CEL) and adjust the air/fuel ratio. These modifications, after all, are essential to give your vehicle the additional ten-hp torque.

In case you want to make more modifications to your straight pipe car, it’s possible. You can always pay a pro to adjust your rev limiter/top speed – even your engine torque map.

Take note: driving your straight-piped car without tuning it up is possible. The downside to this is it will make your car run lean. In the long run, this can damage your vehicle.

6. Weight Reduction

The ‘lighter’ the vehicle is, the better its efficiency. Again, both options significantly reduce weight by 25-50 pounds.


For one, a muffler delete involves the removal of the catalytic converter, a component that makes the car heavier.

Furthermore, a straight pipe can make your car even lighter because of the catalytic converter and resonator delete. This is one of the reasons why this is popular among car enthusiasts, for this change means the car will perform better.

7. Cost

The muffler delete cost is cheaper than having a straight pipe installed. You will only need to pay $50 to $250 for components.

As for the labor, you can easily do it on your own. For example, you must remove the part and weld the replacement pipe to delete your muffle.

Although a DIY muffler delete is doable, it’s risky if you do not know what you’re doing. If your welding work is faulty, your car may suffer from damaging corrosion and exhaust leaks.

So if you want to prevent this from happening, it’s best to pay a professional mechanic. This may cost you an additional $100 to $200, but you don’t have to worry about further damages.

Given that having your muffler deleted will cost you some money, it is a far cry from the fees that go with installing straight pipes. It can range anywhere from $1000 to $1500, though you may have to pay higher.

The higher cost of installing a straight pipe is mainly due to the labor involved. That’s because the muffler, resonator, and catalytic converter need to be removed before the straight pipe can be installed.

On top of that, you will need to pay more if you want your car fitted with titanium alloy exhausts.

Muffler Delete VS Straight Pipe: Which is Better? (4)

8. Legal Ramifications

While it’s great to have your muffler deleted or a straight pipe installed in your car, these modifications do come with legal ramifications.

Ordinary cars, for example, are prohibited from undergoing these improvements. For instance, your vehicle must meet a certain decibel level in California to be considered roadworthy. Here, a cop may give you a ticket if they see you driving a modified car on a public road.

(Video) Is a Cat Delete Worth It?

Despite this, several street car owners opt to have their mufflers deleted. This modification still leaves the resonator intact, which means it meets the state regulation on ‘having at least one sound suppressor in the car.’

That said, your muffler-deleted car still needs to meet the allowable decibel level.

Since putting a straight pipe can make your car very noisy, it’s only recommended for race cars. In addition, the absence of the catalytic converter allows the production of heavy fumes harmful to both the driver and the onlookers.

In a nutshell, straight pipe cars are illegal on the streets because they don’t meet sound regulations. Moreso, they surely won’t pass the emissions tests.

9. Gas Mileage

Sadly, both modifications won’t help improve gas mileage. If any, your car may use more gas along the way.

Why? You’ll probably be more tempted to rev your automobile due to its enhanced sound.

Who could blame you?

Conclusion: Which is Better – Muffler Delete or Straight Pipe?

Based on the abovementioned factors, the better option will depend on your needs/wants.

If you’re using a street car, you’re probably better off with a muffler delete. It will make your vehicle sound better. It will also add some torque, especially for older cars.

The cost of a muffler delete is cheaper too. And, depending on where you live – and the sound your car makes – you may use it on a public road.

On the other hand, having a straight pipe is perfect if you’re a race car driver or a dedicated car enthusiast. It will add more torque at ten hp – and make your vehicle sound amazing.

(Video) Why Not to Have a Muffler in Your Car

In a nutshell, only you can decide the best modification that suits your car.

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Is it better to straight pipe or muffler delete? ›

If you're using a street car, you're probably better off with a muffler delete. It will make your vehicle sound better. It will also add some torque, especially for older cars.

Is a muffler delete enough? ›

Generally, a muffler delete is not major enough to break these laws– but always consult with your local regulations before undertaking any vehicle modification. As far as exhaust emissions are concerned, a muffler delete does not increase emissions at all.

Does straight pipe give more power? ›

Benefits of Straight Pipe Systems

Also, with less back pressure, the engine produces more horsepower and torque. Many drivers who race their cars see this as the primary reason to install straight pipes. Your vehicle will accelerate faster and reach higher speeds with a straight pipe system.

Does muffler delete damage engine? ›

A muffler delete could potentially do more harm than good. You won't damage your engine without a muffler, but if you don't know what you're cutting or removing you could damage internals or other important components.

What are the benefits of muffler delete? ›

Improved performance – a muffler delete can significantly improve the car's exhaust flow, thus increasing the horsepower delivered by the car's engine; A great, roaring sound – if you like the loud roar of a powerful engine, you can get it with a muffler delete.

Do you need a straight pipe for a muffler delete? ›

A muffler delete is exactly what it sounds like- it's removing your stock muffler and putting an exhaust pipe in its place. Straight pipes can refer to muffler deletes, but they can also refer to removing everything in the exhaust system that isn't pipe. This includes resonators and catalytic converters.

Does a muffler delete waste more gas? ›

Economy vs.

By driving conscientiously and using cruise control strategically, you can get better mileage out of your vehicle. While mufflers do not change the amount of fuel your vehicle consumes, mufflers affect gas mileage because they can improve the vehicle's fuel economy.

Whats better than a muffler delete? ›

If reducing the weight of a car is your primary objective, then a resonator delete is likely a better option because it does not require the installation of a replacement part.

Can straight pipes ruin an engine? ›

A straight pipe, for example, can cause exhaust gas velocity to increase. This will likely reduce engine performance below 2,000 or 2,500 RPM, making your vehicle a little slower to launch from a stoplight.

What are the cons of straight pipe exhaust? ›

Drawbacks of a Straight Pipe Exhaust

First, straight-pipe exhausts can be illegal in some areas. That's because they can be too loud for comfort or local ordinances. Be sure to check the laws in your area before you install a straight pipe exhaust. Second, straight-pipe exhausts can be difficult to install.

Are straight pipes too loud? ›

While you can see vehicles with these exhaust systems on the road, they are extremely loud. For this reason, depending on your state or country, the removal of a muffler or catalytic converter can result in a fine.

How much does a full straight pipe cost? ›

For example, you may pay anywhere from $75 to $500 in all for a straight pipe exhaust kit and tools for the modification, but letting a shop handle the project bumps it up to an average of $1,500. You can do most of the project yourself and take it to a shop for finishing touches such as welding.

Does a muffler delete add noise? ›

This is why muffler deletes have grown within auto circles. Roaring sound. As expected, if the muffler is removed from your car's exhaust, then your car will be much louder, almost sounding like a racecar. It unleashes the uninhibited, powerful noise of the engine.

Can you drive with a muffler delete? ›

Doing a muffler delete to your vehicle is illegal in all 50 states. Most states have muffler laws simply because cars without mufflers are loud and disruptive. All states have some form of noise regulation.

Do you lose HP with muffler delete? ›

Muffler delete won't add any HP or power. It simply makes your car louder. Keep in mind your car will also drone which is very annoying imo. Let alone get a ticket due to loud exhaust or exhaust less in this case.

How much should a muffler delete cost? ›

The parts only cost $50 to $200, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. You'll need to add on the additional labor costs if you're taking your car to a shop to do the modification. Shop averages are around $100 an hour so the job can be anywhere from $150 to $250.

Do you lose HP with straight pipes? ›

Do straight pipes lose horsepower? No. The opposite in fact. The LEAST back pressure to the engine exhaust occurs with a straight pipe from each cylinder, no muffler, no catalytic converter, no manifold.

What is the best muffler for gas mileage? ›

The Borla 40349 muffler is the best for improved fuel economy. It is perfect for those looking for a muffler that gives good performance with less fuel, thus helping in reducing the extra spending on fuels. It is made of stainless steel for high-quality and durable performance.

Does an engine need back pressure? ›

Most road vehicle engines require a degree of back pressure in the exhaust system, including the manifold and exhaust pipe components, in order to run efficiently.

Do you get worse gas mileage with straight pipe? ›

Yes straight pipes will be less efficient except, possibly, at one sweet spot. So you will detrimentally effect fuel consumption.

Does straight pipe burn more gas? ›

By removing the muffler, your exhaust noise will significantly be louder. However, the fuel consumption will not be affected at all! In fact – you might even experience a better fuel consumption after installing a straight exhaust pipe.

Does straight pipe remove catalytic converter? ›

Yes, it will remove the catalytic converters. If you have to pass emissions, it will no longe pass. If you want to increase your performance/noise/joy, you can replace the factory catalytic converters with high-flow catalytic converters which comply with all oppressive emissions requirements.

Why are straight piped cars loud? ›

Straight pipe systems, however, do not include resonators, mufflers, or catalytic converters. This means that the roaring of your engine is uninhibited, resulting in a much louder sounding vehicle.

How much horsepower does a straight pipe add to your car? ›

You'll likely gain about ten hp with a straight pipe as compared with five hp or less by just taking off your muffler. Keep in mind that putting on a straight pipe also involves adjusting your fuel injection and otherwise tuning up the car. Be sure you hire or consult a professional.

Is straight pipe and muffler delete the same thing? ›

Essentially a straight pipe exhaust and a muffler delete are almost the same thing. A straight pipe exhaust has no muffler but it's only a muffler delete if there was a muffler to delete in the first place. Some cars, very few of them actually, ship without a muffler.

Do mufflers affect gas mileage? ›

Mufflers Improve Gas Mileage

Mufflers and exhaust systems do improve gas mileage. Depending on the muffler, it can improve the overall efficiency of your vehicle, as well as the gas mileage. The reasoning behind this improvement is because high-quality aftermarket mufflers allow for better airflow.

How do you reduce noise in a straight pipe? ›

Quick and easy ways to reduce exhaust system noise
  1. Check the exhaust tubing – over time, exhaust tubing can start to degrade. ...
  2. Reposition your stack and tailpipe – the position of your exhaust system has a big impact on the noise it makes. ...
  3. Support your exhaust system properly – this will prevent vibration noise.
May 9, 2017

Does straight pipe ruin performance? ›

A straight pipe, for example, can cause exhaust gas velocity to increase. This will likely reduce engine performance below 2,000 or 2,500 RPM, making your vehicle a little slower to launch from a stoplight.

How much HP do you get with a muffler delete? ›

Muffler delete won't add any HP or power. It simply makes your car louder. Keep in mind your car will also drone which is very annoying imo.

Do you lose hp with straight pipes? ›

Do straight pipes lose horsepower? No. The opposite in fact. The LEAST back pressure to the engine exhaust occurs with a straight pipe from each cylinder, no muffler, no catalytic converter, no manifold.

What kind of exhaust gives the most HP? ›

A cat-back exhaust system improves horsepower because it improves the car's performance. Your vehicle doesn't have to work as hard, and the flow of air is increased.

Do you lose torque with straight pipes? ›

Usually not but sometimes you loose the exaust scavenging effect and shift your torque curve into the higher RPMs so your car feels like it has less power when your not flooring it.

Does muffler delete make pops? ›

Catless dp and muffler delete gives best sound and pops. I have the n26 and I have just a muffler delete, I want more pops and what not but I don't want a tune or a catless downpipe, what should I do? Yeah, those are your only options.


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