Are you thinking of doing a muffler delete but worry about its consequences? If yes, then you are at the right place! I will discuss muffler delete and its risks in detail and then wrap it up with my recommendation.
Quick answer – muffler delete will not ruin your car and will not cause any engine damage. Although exhaust leak or rusting may happen if a poor welding job is done. Contrary to popular belief, muffler delete will not gain you any horsepower – all it does is make your exhaust extremely loud.
If you don’t already know, muffler delete means removing the muffler from your exhaust. Removing as in cutting the muffler off and then replacing it with a metal pipe.
Muffler is a sound suppressing device – which means it silences the engine sound that’s produced by your car engine. Removing the muffler will only make your car sound much louder than stock.
And when I say much louder, I really do mean much much louder. With muffler delete, you can hear the sound of your engine from inside the car. Certain people like this loud noise but majority don’t – your passengers and neighbors will hate it.
Here’s a YouTube video showing you a before and after muffler delete. If it sounds cool to you, think again. It generally gets boring and annoying after some time – considering that you will be hearing the noise all the time.
Another common thing that’s discussed among car enthusiasts is the impact of muffler on backpressure. Some people say that muffler delete decreases backpressure and results in loss of torque in lower rev ranges. This is not true. I will cover more about this topic down below.
For now, let’s list down all the risks and consequences from a muffler delete. It will not cause any engine damage, but there are other negative things about muffler delete you should know about!
Risks Of Muffler Delete
- Car sounds too loud. Without a muffler, your car will become extremely loud – even louder when you perform a cold start in the morning. From my experience, the sound is cool at first. But after driving it as a daily and hearing the same loud noise everyday, it gets old and annoying quickly. Don’t do muffler delete on your daily driver! I will talk about my recommendations later.
- No apparent horsepower gain. Muffler delete is often advertised to boost horsepower because your exhaust becomes less restrictive. This is true in theory but in practice the horsepower gain is insignificant (maybe 1-5 horsepower gain). I will talk about my recommendations later.
- Muffler delete is illegal. Due to the sound, you will likely get stopped a lot on the street. You may be able to escape traffic tickets on other states but definitely not in California where the law is super strict. Again, don’t do muffler delete for your daily driver. These kinds of problems will take a toll on you.
- Leak and rust from poor welding. Exhaust leak and rust could happen if the welding job is extremely poor. Exhaust leak is dangerous because it could seep into the car internals and reach the driver. Whereas rust could corrode your exhaust and cause it to snap in two if left long enough. If you really want to do a muffler delete, leave it to a workshop. It should cost no more than $100.
- Fail inspection. If you have to bring your car for a regular inspection, then a missing muffler will raise many questions. Plus, you cannot reverse a muffler delete for a day just for the inspection either!
Should You Perform Muffler Delete?
You should never perform muffler delete on your daily driver – especially if you are regularly driving on the street. Muffler delete brings too many risks for little benefits.
Generally when people look for muffler delete, they want a louder exhaust and there are better alternatives for these – let’s list some of them down in detail.
Each alternative below is a much better solution than a muffler delete. Yes they cost money, but the results will make them worth it.
Muffler Delete Alternatives For Louder Sound
1. Performance Muffler ($80)
The most obvious alternative is to replace your stock muffler with a performance muffler. The good ones are not that expensive at about $80 (without installation fee).
When you get a new muffler, you can get the exact sound that you want. Some mufflers could be very aggressive and loud while others are quieter. Research for different mufflers and pick the one that suits you most.
Personally, I would go for the Flowmaster Super 40. They sound aggressive and deep but not that loud to the point it’s deafening. Flowmaster is also a reputable brand in the muffler and exhaust area.
Here’s an article where I talk about what you should see when getting a muffler. Best Mufflers: Which To Get And What To Look For?
2. Cold Air Intake ($200)
Cold air intake changes the way your car sucks in air for combustion. Cold air intake reroutes the intake location and makes sure cold air is used instead of warm air from the engine bay. This way the engine gets more oxygen and can generate more power.
Cold air intake is always marketed for performance but the true beauty is the sound. With a cold air intake, you will hear the sound of air rushing into your engine when you accelerate. This is a unique and very satisfying sound – one that you will never get bored of.
A good cold air intake from K&I costs about $200 without installation. Here’s my other article discussing the things you should look for when getting a cold air intake. Best Cold Air Intake: Which To Get And What To Look For?
Here’s a YouTube video showing you the sound I am talking about. Listen at 3:59
3. Drill Holes On Exhaust (Free)
Drilling holes on exhaust to make it louder works surprisingly well. This is the cheapest thing you can do to improve sound. It’s free if you already have the drill and the drill bit.
What you do is drill some holes on the exhaust pipe before the muffler. The location is very important to make sure you are not damaging the CAT or the oxygen sensor. Check out this article where I discuss it in more detail. Can I Drill Holes In My Exhaust To Make It Louder?
If you need a more comprehensive comparison, then I have that for you. Check it out here 5 Ways To Make Your Car Louder For Cheap.
How To Undo Muffler Delete?
If you have done a muffler delete and are regretting, you can still reverse it! In simple words the steps are below:
- Measure the diameter of your exhaust pipe. This needs to match your muffler to fit.
- Note down the length and diameter of your muffler. The shop should have these numbers.
- Cut the exhaust pipe where you want the muffler to be. Make sure you cut it by following the length of your new muffler.
- Install the new muffler on your exhaust pipe. I recommend using clamps to tighten the muffler. It’s easier and faster than welding. Less room for errors too.
Here’s an article I wrote about this topic – it has much more details. Reversing Muffler Delete – A Quick Guide.
Muffler Delete And Backpressure Myth
There’s a common misconception that muffler delete makes you lose torque on the lower rev ranges because backpressure is reduced. This is not true at all.
If you don’t already know, backpressure is the air pressure from the back of the car (exhaust pipe). If a car has high back pressure, exhaust gases cannot flow out from the combustion chamber into the exhaust system and out of the car.
Back pressure is not needed and it is never good. By doing a muffler delete, you allow exhaust gases to flow out from the exhaust pipe quickly – which is why back pressure is reduced. This is a good thing and will help in increasing performance (although quite insignificant).
I cover more about back pressure in this article. Is Back Pressure Good For Turbo? (No It’s Not)