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Straight Pipe Exhaust and Muffler Deletes: Pros and Cons

Muffler shop mechanic doing a muffler delete

If you’re thinking about changing the exhaust on your vehicle, you may have considered straight pipe exhaust or a muffler delete. In this article, we weigh the pros and cons of muffler deletes and straight pipes against aftermarket performance mufflers.

Before we dive into it, let’s define exactly what straight pipes and muffler deletes are.

A muffler delete is exactly what it sounds like- it’s removing your stock muffler and putting an exhaust pipe in its place.

Straight pipes can refer to muffler deletes, but they can also refer to removing everything in the exhaust system that isn’t pipe. This includes resonators and catalytic converters.

Keep in mind: it’s illegal to operate a vehicle on the street that does not have a muffler. Same goes for catalytic converters.

Common vehicles that are given muffler deletes or “straight pipes”

Dodge Ram with straight pipe exhaust

Any vehicle can be straight piped. Any vehicle can have its muffler deleted- if it has one.

But here are the most common vehicles that we see with straight pipe exhaust or muffler deletes.

Modern muscle and sports cars

Modern muscle cars like Ford Mustangs, Chevy Camaros and Dodge Challengers and Chargers have sets of middle and rear resonators/mufflers. This arrangement is also common in sports cars both foreign and domestic.

For these cars, it’s common to delete one or more sets of resonators and replace them with straight pipe.

Even though this practice is common, the result is often subpar sound quality. More on that later.

Trucks and SUVs

Trucks are probably the most common vehicles to be fully straight piped from front to back.

This can result in very loud sound. But long lengths of straight pipe often results in “cackling”, “popping” and other undesirable sound.

Deleting catalytic converters is also not uncommon, but is not something we recommend as it can negatively affect sound and performance. Not to mention it’s very much illegal.

Now let’s get into the pros and cons…

Advantages of straight pipe exhaust and muffler deletes

Ford Bronco with a straight pipe

High flow, low back pressure

One advantage of straight pipes is that they have very little backpressure. Straight pipes offer better flow than many popular performance mufflers. This can be helpful if you’re trying to maximize performance and fuel mileage.

However, high quality performance mufflers such as Paradox Performance Mufflers offer flow just as good -and sometimes better- than straight pipes.

It’s LOUD

Straight pipes are usually loud, and often obnoxious.

Loudness can be a pro or a con depending on your taste and application. Sometimes you just need or want exhaust that is loud. Straight pipes can usually deliver loudness, but at the price of good sound quality.

It’s Cheap

We’ll just cut to the chase: the biggest advantage of straight pipes and muffler deletes are that it’s the cheapest option.

Whereas quality performance mufflers cost at least $80, straight pipes can cost as little as $20 plus installation.

But here’s the problem (and you’ve probably guessed this already): you get what you pay for.

Disadvantages of straight pipes and muffler deletes

Poor Sound quality

The sound quality from straight pipes and muffler deletes is often very low, and simply cannot match the sound quality of performance mufflers.

What does this mean specifically? Here are some examples:

  • “Popping” and “crackling” sounds.
  • “Raspiness” and other farty sounds.
  • Lacking in “deepness” and quality bass tone.
  • Unrefined, unbalanced sound overall.

It’s LOUD

As we said before, loudness can be a pro or a con depending on your taste and application.

The problem is, straight pipes are usually obnoxious in their loudness.

If you are purposely trying to annoy your neighbors and everyone around you, then straight pipes could be for you.

(yes, we’ve actually talked with people whose main goal is to annoy other people!)

If you want the loudness of straight pipes without the poor sound quality, you will almost certainly be better off with a loud performance muffler like the Paradox Hot Tamale.

Legality

Make no mistake: it’s illegal to operate a vehicle on the street that does not have a muffler or catalytic converters.

Not only that, but virtually all places have excessive noise laws. And as we’ve already said, straight pipes are loud.

If you drive a vehicle with no muffler, be prepared to get a ticket. Maybe even more than one!

Alternatives to straight pipes and muffler deletes

Paradox Performance Muffler

If you don’t want to deal with the negatives that come with straight pipes and muffler deletes, you’ll need an alternative. Thankfully, there are many.

Aftermarket exhaust systems and mufflers can give you the sound and flow you want without the negatives that come with straight pipe exhaust.

Common aftermarket exhaust companies include Flowmaster, Magnaflow, Borla, Cherry Bomb, Paradox Performance Mufflers, and more.

Paradox Performance Mufflers

Paradox Performance Mufflers offer industry leading sound and flow, and are made in the USA.

Paradox goes above and beyond other performance mufflers because of their Patented Tuning Fork Technology. This tech really makes Paradox special. It’s why they have such high quality sound and highly effective “drone” control.

Another big positive about Paradox Performance Mufflers is that you don’t need a whole new exhaust system with them. Simply replacing your stock mufflers with Paradox mufflers is often enough to get a big boost of quality sound.

Paradox Performance Mufflers come in two main versions: “Signature Series”, and the louder “Hot Tamale”

Conclusion

Toyota with a muffler delete

Muffler deletes and straight pipe exhaust can provide a lot of loudness, but honestly not much else. Rough sound and potential legal issues easily outweigh the fact that straight pipes are by default the cheapest exhaust option.

The verdict is clear: performance mufflers are a far superior alternative to straight pipes and muffler deletes.

Click here to learn more about Paradox Performance Mufflers.


 

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