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Buyer's Guide: How To Choose The Best Exhaust System For Your Truck

November 26, 2022  -  Exhaust Systems

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There’s a wealth of information available for upgrading any automobile, specifically your truck. The sky is the limit, as you can boost looks, performance, handling, braking, in-car entertainment, lighting, and more, like your truck’s exhaust system. We’ll take you through the main types of exhausts for trucks and help you decide depending on your main goals. 

How much is a new exhaust for a truck? Depending on your aim, and whether you’re just upgrading the muffler, or the entire system, it can range from a few hundred dollars to well into the thousands for customized, total solutions. Have a browse through the JEGS exhaust systems category for some ideas.

Decide What Your Main Goal Is

Why do you want to upgrade your truck’s exhaust system? There are many reasons, and we will take you through the most common ones in this section. 

More Power

If you’re looking to extract more power from your engine, intake modifications are usually the first port of call. However, when you’re cramming more air into your motor, the spent exhaust gases need to be evacuated in an equally efficient fashion. That’s why you’ll find an exhaust muffler, manifold, or entire system upgrade often going hand-in-hand with an intake upgrade.

However, there’s a trade-off to be made, so don’t just slap on the biggest diameter pipe and largest muffler available. For an engine to make reliable power at all RPM ranges, there has to be some back pressure in the exhaust system, as you won’t be revving your engine into its upper reaches and bouncing off the rev limiter all the time. So you should ensure that your upgraded exhaust system’s parameters match your expected drivability, and this is where a good tuner can help you out.

Louder Sound

A very common goal is to simply make some noise. Yes, an upgraded exhaust system can greatly improve your truck’s sound, but there are a few things to consider, or you could be branded a noisemaker or a nuisance in your neighborhood. If noise is your goal, you should target enhancing your truck’s distinct sound, rather than sheer volume. And, without being a killjoy, bear in mind that there are local and state regulations about maximum sound output as well, so going for a louder volume may land you a ticket or even get your truck impounded.

Improved Fuel Economy

Can a custom exhaust improve fuel economy? Yes, it’s possible, with a less restricting exhaust system that’s customized for your vehicle. Automakers have to design their exhaust systems to comply with a variety of parameters, including being as quiet as possible, and if you’re willing to give up a little bit of volume (within legal limits, of course), you may be able to gain some fuel economy, albeit marginal. Typical gains range from 2% to 5% at best.

Appearance

A custom exhaust system can enhance your truck’s appearance, primarily through elements that are easily seen, such as the mufflers and tips. Adding a dual exit or dual muffler set-up to a truck that typically came with a single muffler and tiny stock tip. Stainless steel, polished aluminum, and burnished finishes are common for this kind of mod. However, if you’re upgrading your system for appearance, bear in mind that you need to consider the performance parameters that we’ve discussed to ensure that your upgraded system doesn’t affect your truck’s drivability.

Durability

Stock steel exhausts can be prone to rust and damage over time. This is why off-road enthusiasts may upgrade their exhaust systems to a tougher stainless steel or aluminum exhaust system, and protect critical bits with skid plates to avoid damage from activities such as rock crawling. Damage to a critical part of your exhaust may render your vehicle difficult to drive, as well as illegal if it causes excessive noise. That’s why you should ensure that it’s as protected as possible if your truck ventures into the rough on a regular basis.

Types Of Exhausts

Let’s look at the typical types of exhaust systems available for trucks and other types of automobiles. The three main ones are Axle-Back, Cat-Back, and Header-Back.

Axle-Back

An axle-back exhaust system refers to the parts of the exhaust system that exist after the rear axle of your vehicle. Typical components include tips, tailpipes, and mufflers. Axle back exhaust systems typically modify the appearance and sound quality (plus volume) and tend to be the cheapest and easiest to install.

Cat-Back

A cat-back exhaust system includes all components of the axle-back exhaust system, as well as the mid-pipe that transfers exhaust gases to these from the catalytic converter. It’s the entire system that commences from behind the cat, basically. This type of exhaust system will yield the benefits of an axle-back, plus mild to moderate performance improvements, as they include larger diameter tubing and better flow mufflers. They are also reasonably easy to install, and your stock cat remains.

Header-Back

Welcome to the big leagues. This is where you modify the entire exhaust system, right from the headers where exhaust gases exit the engine themselves. It’s the most expensive and toughest to install of all systems, as you’re basically replacing everything in the exhaust system. However, it offers the best performance gains. Remember that you might be de-catting your vehicle by doing this unless you install an upgraded cat that can support the larger diameter piping and increased flow of a header-back exhaust system.

JEGS For Everything You Need To Enhance Performance, Looks, And Reliability

Hot rod enthusiast Jeg Coughlin was frustrated by the lack of shops offering a broad range of aftermarket automotive enhancement parts. In 1960, he decided to take matters into his own hands, and JEGS was born. Today, JEGS has a physical store in Ohio, as well as nationwide coverage with online sales. Browse, compare, and purchase from thousands of SKUs made by hundreds of the world’s best brands, with competitive pricing, exceptional after-sales service, and all applicable warranties. What more could you ask for?

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