Is High-Performance Exhaust Necessary?
“High-performance exhaust” certainly sounds like one of the must-have muscle car accessories, but is it necessary? That depends on what you’re using your car for. Let’s take a look at what exactly these Mustang parts do. An exhaust system provides a path for exhaust gases to escape (basically the lungs of the machine). The quality of an exhaust system controls how well your car “breathes” so when it’s subpar, vehicles might be using a lot of power simply to expel gases, power that might be better used elsewhere.
It’s true that a high-performance exhaust system can free up some engine power to increase performance. How much higher performance? Well, simply adding a high-performance system won’t turn a 200 horsepower car into a 600 horsepower speed machine. However, it can be advantageous to racers.
The Superficial Effect
The word “superficial” gets a bad rap, but everyone wants their vehicle not only to perform superbly but look good while doing it. Adding an upgraded or modified exhaust system can create that deep rumble that is reminiscent of pro race cars. However, don’t go solely by sound. The higher-end exhaust systems only slightly increase the aggressive note of the exhaust, but that’s actually a sign of a better system. Many high-performance systems also add to the looks of a car by using shined mufflers.
The Way it Bends
There are two ways an exhaust pipe might bend, and it’s critical to know the difference. The traditional “crush-bend” is what’s used in the factory and might also be found in some after-market exhaust systems. These pipes have an accordion-like look which unfortunately decreases the amount of gas flow. Anything that takes up space in the pipe, including a seemingly meaningless crinkle, slows gas and negatively impacts performance.
The more highly desired mandrel bend is completely smooth and allows for the best gas flow. The diameter of the pipe is consistent throughout, which means higher performance. When considering upgrading to a higher performance system, making sure a pipe is mandrel is the first thing to check.
What’s It Made Of?
The type of pipe is just the first consideration. Chances are your pony’s factory pipe is made of steel – which can deteriorate after a few years. A high-quality system uses aluminized steel that is stronger, less prone to deteriorate, and can provide years of high performance. Another option is stainless steel which is more expensive but lasts much longer than even aluminized steel.
Do I Need It?
Whether or not you “need” a high-performance system depends wholly on what you use your Mustang for and how often. Racers and car show regulars can definitely benefit from increased performance. However, for the average driver whose Pony has never seen a race track, it’s probably not worth it.