Out of all the different ways to make your car sound better, muffler deletes are by far the easiest, cheapest, and least intrusive option. But does that make them the best option?
Ideally, installing a catback or axle back exhaust would be the best way forward if you want to make your exhaust sound better.
But if you’re looking for something safe and easy, which in many cases won’t void your warranty, removing your muffler by installing a muffler delete kit is a great place to start.
In this guide, we’ll explain what a muffler delete is, what it does, and whether or not you should do it.
Purpose of a Muffler
Mufflers are designed to muffle your exhaust noise, producing a quieter and more pleasant note. They work alongside resonators to achieve this.
On the outside, mufflers look extremely simple but there’s actually a lot of complex sound engineering involved. Read our guide on the differences between mufflers and resonators for more information on the subject.
Automakers are required to install mufflers in order to meet noise regulations. Even though all mufflers serve the purpose of lowering exhaust volume, they don’t work in the exact same way on every car and can vary in design significantly.
Manufacturers design mufflers with plenty of consideration for the car’s use case, and who it is marketed towards.
For example, the BMW M3 gets a much louder and more aggressive muffler design than a standard 3 series. Both have mufflers, but on an M3, the noise reduction is balanced with extra concern for maintaining a good exhaust tone. Of course, the engine heavily influences the exhaust note too, but you get the gist.
Some luxury GT cars have enormous engines that are muffled to a point where they’re as quiet as any normal economy car. That is, at low revs anyway.
Many enthusiasts, however, feel that even sports-tuned factory exhausts are too quiet and not aggressive enough. They remedy this by getting rid of the muffler altogether.
What Is a Muffler Delete?
So what exactly is a muffler delete kit, and what does it do? As the name suggests, it involves deleting your muffler.
There is a bit more to it than just getting rid of the factory muffler, though. You need to buy a muffler delete kit, which will include a pipe to replace the stock muffler with.
Or you could do the same with just about any replacement exhaust pipe so long as it matches the diameter of the rest of your exhaust system.
Doing this will remove the sound deadening baffles, perforated tubes, and resonator chambers, which will make your car much louder.
The main benefit of a muffler delete is that your exhaust note will be louder and more aggressive. This can also be a downside depending on your personal tastes. It might sound cool at first, but it can get really old, really fast if it’s not executed properly.
Does It Increase Performance?
One question many enthusiasts want to know is whether muffler deletes add more horsepower.
In short, no they do not; unless you’ve also deleted your catalytic converter and resonator, and have a catback or axle back exhaust system installed. Top it off by getting your ECU remapped and you’ll definitely see an improvement in performance.
But a muffler delete by itself will only increase the volume of your exhaust. In fact, modern cars are tuned from the factory to work best with the muffler installed, so removing it might actually hurt performance.
It is true that removing the muffler helps to reduce back pressure and possibly improve the exhaust scavenging characteristics of your system. This does improve airflow, but you won’t feel any noticeable increase in performance.
How Much Is a Muffler Delete?
As mentioned above, removing your muffler involves replacing your stock muffler with an aftermarket pipe. Luckily, this is a fairly affordable project. Prices for muffler delete kits range from as low as $50 to about $250.
You need to find a muffler delete kit that will work for your car’s make, model year, and trim level. Some kits are made for specific models only, and others are universal, meaning they’ll fit most cars.
If you plan on removing your muffler yourself, it will hardly cost you anything, so long as you have a mechanic’s tool set on hand. If you take your car to the shop, expect to pay another $100 at least for the labor involved.
Concluding Thoughts: Should You Remove Your Muffler?
Now that you know how much a muffler delete costs and what it is going to do to your car, you can decide if it is the right choice for you.
If you only want to make your exhaust louder and don’t care about increasing performance, then a muffler delete will suffice. You can quickly and affordably get a much louder car without having to do anything too extensive or invasive with your car.
On the other hand, if you want a unique exhaust note and also increase performance, then there are better options available.
Consider installing a catback exhaust made by a reputable manufacturer. These are typically louder than stock, though some are quieter quieter, but they all provide a tone that is far better than what you get from the factory.
With fewer restrictions on your exhaust, this can add a bit of horsepower. Do not expect a single catback to add 30 hp though — you will only get a small bump in power depending on what else you have done to your car.
However, this advice is from the perspective of owning a performance car. If you drive a family sedan or an economy car, then a muffler delete is going to feel out of place, as you would only be making your quiet commuter a lot louder.
This will likely disturb passengers and maybe even yourself, as often a muffler delete can cause more drone, especially at highway speeds. This is especially annoying for those sitting in the back of the car.
A final consideration prior to deleting a stock muffler is that of legality. Laws vary depending on where you live, so check your local rules and regulations before taking your muffler off. In many places, it is illegal to do this.
Unless of course, you have a dedicated track car. In this case, the rules for street cars do not apply and you can make modifications and remove other parts of the car’s stock systems without much concern.
Would you rather remove your muffler or install a catback exhaust? Let us know by leaving a comment below!