Adding An Exhaust Upgrade To Your Car

Date Posted:3 October 2017 

One of the first things that a car enthusiast wants to upgrade is the exhaust system: more aggressive sound, more power, and a much better view from behind. Exhaust system upgrades enable all of this, improving almost every aspect of a stock exhaust setup.

The stock exhaust on your car is meant for two things: reducing sound and vibration as much as possible, and cleaning the emissions to make it legal for the street. While you don’t want to spew fumes any more than necessary, with the right exhaust upgrade you can increase your power, improve your car’s sound, and keep it street legal at the same time. Because the factory exhaust is meant to reduce sound, it also means it severely restricts the flow of gases from the engine. These restrictive systems not only reduce sound, unfortunately, but your power.

By adding an upgrade, you enlarge the bore and improve the engine’s efficiency. A less restrictive muffler can improve the efficiency by several percent, giving you that much more power from your engine at the same fuel consumption.

So which parts of the exhaust system can you upgrade, and what do each of them do?


The headers are the part of the exhaust system bolting directly to the engine, removing the spent gases from the combustion chamber. Stock headers are usually termed as exhaust manifolds. Aftermarket header upgrades provide a faster, less restrictive exhaust flow from the engine.

Downpipe/Catalytic Converter

The downpipe is the section of exhaust pipe that drops down from the headers back to the mufflers. In stock layout, the downpipe usually also includes the catalytic converter. A catalytic converter is the section that forces exhaust gases through a system that chemically converts the toxic fumes into inert gases like nitrogren, oxygen, and carbon dioxide.


The muffler is the part directly responsible for reducing the sound signature of your exhaust system. The muffler also robs the engine of significant power, since by directing the fumes through a series of baffles, sound deadening material, and vents, it also increases backpressure and reduces performance. An aftermarket muffler upgrade increases both the sound by creating an aggressive exhaust tone, and the performance by enabling exhaust to flow more freely through the system.


Exhaust pipes called crossovers do a unique job of balancing pressure and output from a dual exhaust system (exhaust headers on either side of an engine). These crossovers balance the pressure from either side of an engine’s output, letting exhaust gases cross between the two downpipes. This reduces backpressure, and creates a more even exhaust sound as well.

Exhaust Tail Pipe

The tailpipe is the very end of the exhaust system, an aesthetic cap to the pipe coming from the muffler. Often chrome or similarly finished, the tailpipe is the portion visible protruding from underneath the rear bumper. These can be upgraded, to both save on weight or improve the aesthetics of the system.

So where to go from here?

We recommend checking out our exhaust system product category here on Planet Parts, and see what sort of exhaust upgrade would work for your car. Whether it’s just upgrading one component, or entirely replacing your entire exhaust system, we’ve got a solution for your car.  Whether it’s as simple as a replacement Cruze tail pipe, or going all the way with a complete Holden AH Astra 2.2L turbo cat back system designed and built by Walkinshaw Performance, we’ve got the exhaust system products you’re looking for.

For the biggest performance gains for money, you might be interested in a cat back system. This replaces everything from the catalytic converters back...the downpipe, mufflers, tail pipe...and is available in a single package.

If you want something quick and simple, look into a muffler eliminator pipe. A quick way to take the muffler out of the equation and increase your sound just by replacing the muffler with a single clean pipe, we’ve got one for the Holden VE/VF Commodore that will do just the trick.

So whether you’re going for a performance boost or just improving the exhaust sound of your car, try upgrading your exhaust with any of these options!


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