How to improve exhaust sound

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether you want a louder sound, a quieter sound or a less whining sound, there are cost-effective methods of improving the type of noise coming from your car's exhaust system. Before you buy a brand new, expensive exhaust system, try improving the one you already have by, for example, putting in a drop muffler, with washers on the muffler bolts, swapping the resonator for a stainless steel pipe, or removing the muffler entirely for a really vibrant rumble.

Install a drop muffler in a few minutes to enhance the loudness and clarity of the exhaust. Wear protective clothing. Slide under the car and unbolt the 2 bolts that connect the mid pipe to the muffler. Put washers on the muffler bolts by either removing the bolts or pulling them free enough to push the washers on. Reattach the muffler to the car using the bolts.

Swap the resonator in the middle of the exhaust for a stainless steel pipe with a slight S bend along its length. Create the S bend yourself using a rubber mallet. Apply a small amount of pressure first, then work it more fully to create the desired shape. The S bend reduces booming sounds, if you are looking for a less noisy exhaust. The resonator itself is designed to silence the exhaust and reduce boom, according to Cannington Performance, so take it out and replace it with a pipe similar to the mid-pipe to release the rumble.

Weld your new components together using a welder. Wear specialist goggles, a face mask and heat-resistant gloves. Install the welding wire. Set the wire speed and power. Create a butt weld, where two adjoining edges of metal are joined.

Remove the muffler completely to create a rasping, loud sound, if that is what you are looking for.

Replace the back axle section, which includes the muffler and tailpipe. Add in a new muffler, either of your own design, or a manufactured muffler and new tailpipe.

For a high-performance, high-clarity option, purchase and install a Borla cat-back stainless steel exhaust to improve the sound of your exhaust. Low frequencies create booming, droning sounds inside the vehicle. Borla exhaust systems are designed to be less restrictive, keeping the velocity and frequency high and therefore limiting the sound to behind the tailpipe. They can also enhance the performance of your car. According to Borla, their mufflers maintain a race engine's power and, in some cases, actually add to it. Installation should take between two and six hours. Work from the back of the vehicle to the front.


Switch your car's engine off for any repairs to avoid injury. Ensure your handbrake is firmly in place and wear suitable clothing. Wear safety goggles and non-restrictive gloves during welding. Welders reach high temperatures, so be careful and sensible to avoid serious injury. Read the manual before you use the welding equipment. Loud exhaust systems can detrimentally affect the environment in terms of noise pollution if driven excessively and at night. Have fun, but consider the effects of your chosen exhaust system on others.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench
  • Rubber washers
  • Stainless steel piping
  • Rubber mallet
  • Welder
  • Protective clothing
  • Face mask and goggles
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About the Author

Natasha Parks has been a professional writer since 2001 with work published online and in book format for "Thomson Reuters," the "World Patents Index" and Her areas of expertise are varied and include physics, biology, genetics and computing, mental health, relationships, family crises and career development. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biophysics from King's College, London.