Car Exhaust System Parts Names, Performance & Sound

Dual Rear Exhaust: Enhances performance and sound

Car exhaust systems are an essential part and component of every modern automobile. Although few people have an understanding of the exhaust system parts which make up a system. Or exactly what their purpose is.

Exhaust systems are crucial for a vehicle to operate correctly. Beyond that, they can also be customised. You can upgrade the stock car exhaust system which came with your vehicle. What are the benefits of customising an exhaust? You can achieve greater performance, as well as specific exhaust sounds.

By the end of this guide, you will be confident with the components of car exhaust systems. As well as how to find the right parts for your needs, even if you know nothing about car exhaust systems.

Let’s take a look at the car exhaust system parts names, as well as how to improve performance and sound.

Car Exhaust System Parts

The car exhaust system is one of the most important parts of any vehicle on the road today. The exhaust system guides waste gases which come from the engine, away from passengers and interior of the vehicle.

The exhaust system has another important purpose. To control any pollutants from the vehicle from reaching the air.

The main car exhaust system parts names of most exhaust systems include:

Exhaust Manifold


Exhaust manifolds are situated on the vehicle’s engine. Their purpose is to collect any exhaust gases from the cylinders of the engine. Next, they direct these gases through the rest of the exhaust system. An exhaust manifold is crucial for making sure that no toxic gases can reach passengers inside the vehicle.

Car mechanics in a workshop using tools to diagnose or repair a vehicle with the engine compartment open

Oxygen Sensor


Oxygen sensors can be found on both sides of a catalytic converter. They are used to measure how much oxygen is in the exhaust system. Once an oxygen sensor has the measurement, it then will increase or decrease the amount of fuel in the combustion process. By doing this, it allows for the best mixture of fuel to air.

Catalytic Converter


A catalytic converter is located between the exhaust manifold and muffler. Its purpose is to turn harmful pollutants (such as nitrogen, unburned hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide) into less harmful pollutants (like carbon dioxide and water).

For any modern vehicles which had a catalytic converter factory fitted to their vehicle, it is required by law to have one at all times. A car will fail a roadworthy inspection without one.

Many vehicle owners had never heard of a catalytic converter. That is until there was a problem with a check engine light on the dashboard. Or their vehicle failed emissions or smog test.
So what exactly is a catalytic converter, and what does it do?

What is a Catalytic Converter?

A catalytic converter works in the background of your exhaust system, without making a sound. Its purpose is eliminating any toxic gases or unburned fuel in the exhaust. It also prevents them from being sent out into the environment.

A catalytic converter is vital for reducing greenhouse gases and vehicle emissions.

Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)

A DPF functions to remove any soot or particulate matter from the exhaust gas of a Diesel engine. All diesel vehicles need a DPF to be installed to be able to meet modern emission requirements.

Car Exhaust Muffler

A muffler is also widely known as a silencer. It is situated near the end of an exhaust system. The function of a muffler is to reduce any noise which is caused by the fuel combustion process. It also guides the fumes outside of the exhaust system. This can be done by using perforated tubes. The tubes create different sound waves which cancel each other out.

Mechanics inspecting a car engine inside a garage, focused on resolving a mechanical problem

Exhaust Pipes

Each component listed above has one thing in common. They are all linked together by exhaust pipes.

What is the purpose of exhaust pipes? It is to direct all the gas through the various parts of the car exhaust system. Then to finally guide it to exit from the tailpipes at the end.

Car Exhaust System Parts Names

It can often be confusing to know what they are, what they look like, and what they do.

Let’s take a look in detail at a comprehensive list of all the other exhaust system parts names which you may hear.


There are different headers available. To know which one is right for you:

  • Short headers with a small diameter produce more torque at low to mid-range engine speeds
  • Long tube headers with a set of large diameters will give you more power at higher RPMs (Revolutions per minute).

EGR Valve

An Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve is found in internal combustion engines. It is a nitrogen oxide emissions reduction technique. It is used for both petrol and Diesel engines.

The way an EGR valve works is to recirculate part of an engine’s exhaust gas and send it back into the engine cylinders.

Exhaust Resonator

An exhaust resonator is another part of the car exhaust system. Its purpose is to ‘resonate’. What that means is that it acts as an echo chamber for the exhaust system of your vehicle. It prepares the loud noise which comes from the engine and allows the muffler to silence it.

But, an exhaust resonator doesn’t only reduce sound. It changes it.

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Difference Between an Exhaust Resonator and a Muffler

While an exhaust resonator may look just like a smaller muffler, it has an entirely different purpose. Resonators are designed to be added to an exhaust system as an extra to tune the exhaust sound further. They are not intended to replace a muffler in your exhaust system. Adding a resonator helps to dampen the exhaust sound further. It also reduces the ’exhaust drone’.

An exhaust drone usually occurs when driving at high speeds. Some car exhaust systems have a background buzzing noise, which you can hear even inside the passenger compartment.

Being exposed to this buzzing sound can cause headaches for drivers. There are also other effects such as nausea.

Adding an exhaust resonator eliminates this dreadful buzzing noise. It also lets the driver focus on driving undistracted.

Exhaust Tips

At the end of the exhaust system, there is usually an exhaust pipe connected to the outlet of the silencer. But, you can also add exhaust tips separately. Not only do they improve your vehicle’s look and sound, but they may also increase performance.

Different Types Of Exhaust Systems

Technology continues to advance. With new kinds of vehicles being designed and developed each year. Exhaust systems also are improved and enhanced with each new vehicle.

There are now several different kinds of exhaust systems available.

Let’s take a look at each and the difference between them.

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An uppipe is a pipe between the header and the turbo.

What does an uppipe do? It takes the exhaust gases from the engine to the turbo.


A downpipe is part of the exhaust system. It connects the catalytic converter to the turbo exit. Adding a downpipe can add between 10 to 20 horsepower. It may not seem like much, but it makes a noticeable difference in increasing performance.

A downpipe takes any unneeded exhaust gases through the rest of your exhaust system.

Uppipe Vs. Downpipe

In the above image, the red flow shows the flow from the engine cylinder exhaust manifold.

A downpipe would then be connected where the red arrow is at “Exhaust gas discharge”.

Test Pipe

A test pipe is a straight pipe with welded flanges. It is used to replace a catalytic converter directly. But, it doesn’t correctly filter emissions, and it won’t allow your vehicle to pass a roadworthy.

Using a test pipe instead of a catalytic converter may cause certain vehicles to run poorly also.

Exhaust Wrap

Exhaust wrap is used for your headers. It’s designed to do more than make them look good! It will also provide a reduction in exhaust temperature. Which results in more horsepower.

The wrap keeps the exhaust heat in the headers. Instead of letting it dissipate to other parts of the engine. This leads to improved engine efficiency and more horsepower.

Busy car mechanic working on multiple vehicles in a workshop

Single Exit Exhaust

Features a single exhaust pipe. The pipe exits from the passenger side rear.

Purpose: For smaller vehicle engines which produce less gas and pressure.

Use: It’s inexpensive cost makes it best suited for small passenger vehicles.

Dual Side Exhaust

Two exhaust pipes side by side. They exit at the vehicle rear.

Purpose: Like a single exit exhaust system, except it has two pipes.

Use: Passenger vehicles who want to achieve a ‘sports car’ sound.

Dual Rear Exhaust

Two exhaust pipes which are separate. They exit one on either side of the vehicle rear.

Purpose: Two straight pipes which improve the amount of gases which are removed.

Use: Cars with a powerful engine. Also, people who want their engine to sound like it is powerful.

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Opposite Dual Exhaust System

Two separate exhaust pipes. They exit out the back by bending around the rear tyres.

Purpose: By having a bent exhaust pipe, it allows for better filtering. The exit point also reduces the amount of build up.

Use: Primarily large vehicles, as well as trucks which are required to tow.

High-Performance Exhaust

Customised high-end aftermarket exhaust system.

Purpose: The system is custom designed and built. There are many factors such as the time, installer, and cost.

Use: Anyone who wants their vehicle to achieve maximum performance

With so many exhaust system styles to choose from, it’s important to understand the purpose and use of each one. You can then select the right exhaust system to suit your needs.

Car mechanic servicing a vehicle engine in a workshop.

Best Car Exhaust System Brands

Right now there are more car exhaust systems available than ever before. It can be difficult to know where to start, or to find the right system for your needs.

Finding a great car exhaust system begins with looking for high-quality exhaust brands.

When it comes to performance parts for your exhaust, it’s the one area you don’t want to skimp on. You can’t cut corners when it comes to quality exhaust systems.

But how can you find the right brand for your vehicle? It depends on the type of performance you need, as well as your budget.

The brand you choose will likely make the biggest difference. Each brand has a distinct sound, quality, performance, and customer service experience.

Let’s take a look at the most popular and high-quality brand name car exhaust systems.

Mechanic working on a car engine under the hood in a garage


MagnaFlow is one of the most popular and leading brands of exhausts and mufflers. They’ve been around for longer than most other companies. Magnaflow performance parts have a solid reputation for delivering more horsepower.

With the slogan “Quality. Power. Sound.”, MagnaFlow sure lives up to expectations. They stand behind their stainless steel exhaust systems and offer a lifetime warranty.

Each MagnaFlow system is Dyno tested and proven. This means you will get the most horsepower possible.


Flowmaster is another leading brand of performance exhaust systems. They also offer exhaust kits and mufflers. As well as stainless steel mufflers, racing mufflers, tips, exhaust accessories and more.

Flowmaster exhaust systems and mufflers all feature a distinctive and classic ‘Flowmaster sound’. They are available in aggressive, moderate and mild tones depending on your taste.


Borla are pioneers and industry leaders. Their design and manufacturing of stainless steel performance exhaust systems help set them apart.

It’s been over three decades since they began manufacturing exhaust systems, with high-end clients such as Ferrari and Rolls-Royce. Borla has now brought their high quality to the performance vehicles of today. They now make exhaust systems for off-road, street, and racing.

Close-up view of a mechanic using tools to diagnose a car engine issue in a garage


Corsa Performance uses advanced engineering and innovation. Which keeps them at the forefront of superior exhaust design. By utilising RSC technology, Corsa enhances the driving experience. They also deliver noticeable performance gains as well as powerful sound. All this without having to sacrifice a smooth cruising experience.

Corsa’s systems are the most advanced engineered car exhaust systems in the entire world. Every exhaust system has been carefully tailored. This means that it can deliver the specific needs for both vehicle and owner.

Cherry Bomb

Cherry Bomb first starting making mufflers over 45 years ago. After releasing the classic glasspack muffler, not even they realised how popular it would become. It’s still one of the most popular sound reduction products today. As well as a household name amongst any gear head.

The Glasspack range has now expanded to a few different products. But the classic sound remains the same.


Walker exhaust systems are the perfect system for the best emission control available. Walker has designed their systems to be as environmentally friendly as possible. They have a range of catalytic converters and mufflers available.

Their mufflers have sophisticated pipe routing. Utilising tuning technology they provide favourable OE-style sound and a better flow.

The all-aluminised construction offers a high-quality look, which lasts for a long time.

Change The Sound of Your Vehicle

One of the biggest benefits of adding an aftermarket exhaust is how it changes the sound of your vehicle.

A performance exhaust system can transform your vehicle into a booming, snarling machine.

Best of all, you no longer need to crank up the volume of your engine. By using a Flowmaster muffler, you can tame the resonance of your exhaust. The result is a more subtle, and controlled sound.

Even the more mild mufflers and exhaust systems have been well tuned. This lets them provide serious performance gains. You can now feel the power of your vehicle’s boosted horsepower – all without having to wake up your neighbours.

Car mechanic troubleshooting a car problem inside the vehicle with the aid of tools in a professional repair shop.

Sound Change Results

A performance exhaust system has many benefits besides a better sound. It also eliminates any restrictions. As well as provides better engine rummaging, and gives more space for the flow of waste gas.

That sounds great, but what does it mean for the performance of your vehicle? Let’s take a look.

  • A huge increase in power gains of up to 25 horsepower.
  • Aggressive and rumbling sounding exhaust.
  • A gain of up to 60 ft pounds of extra torque.
  • An improvement in fuel efficiency – usually a gain between 1-2%.

Adding performance headers offers even further benefits to your car exhaust system.

Getting That Sweet Exhaust Sound On A Budget

The quickest and easiest way to change the sound of your exhaust is by adding a new muffler. Adding a new custom exhaust system will help you to increase your vehicle’s performance. As well as give a great sound to your vehicle. But, if you’re on a budget, it’s also quite a bit more expensive.

Are you looking to achieve that deep roar sound you’ve been after? Well, the most cost-effective way to achieve it is by adding a new muffler.

You deserve a superb sounding car, without breaking the bank. It’s time to kick that stock muffler to the curb and upgrade today!

Car Exhaust Muffler: How To Get The Sound You Want

Trying to get the right sound out of your exhaust may seem like solving a great mystery. But, it’s not as difficult as it may seem. Ask yourself, what is your exhaust sound preference? Do you like a mild sound?  How about a moderate sound? Or do you want the most aggressive sounding exhaust you can get? Maybe you prefer a quiet exhaust with no sound?

Perhaps the sound comes down to what model vehicle you are driving and where. Wanting an aggressive tone is much more likely for that 1971 Ford XY Falcon you’ve lovingly restored. For your Toyota Corolla, you most likely want a more subtle tone while running errands with the kids.

Whatever harmonic tone you are seeking, or car you are driving, there is a muffler for your perfect sound.

Mufflers and sound enhancements are growing in popularity each year. Helping you to personalise your ride to suit your personality and lifestyle.

Best Performance Mufflers

Let’s take a look at some of the best performance mufflers currently on the market.

Flowmaster Super 44 Muffler

The Flowmaster Super 44 muffler brings a rich and powerful tone. It is a high performing, deep and most aggressive sounding muffler. It’s two chamber design enhances power and torque.

It is available in both 409S Stainless Steel and 16-gauge aluminised steel.

Using the advanced Delta Flow Technology design, the Super 44 muffler is fully MIG-welded. This allows it to provide the highest durability possible.

For a deep, aggressive, and high-performance exhaust note, the Super 44 can’t be beaten.

Busy car mechanic working on multiple vehicles in a workshop

Flowmaster Super 10 Muffler

The Super 10 Muffler is the most aggressive muffler Flowmaster has ever built. It has an extremely aggressive interior and exterior. This means the sound is more suited to racing vehicles over street driven vehicles. The Super 10 series utilises the same Delta Flow performance technology used in the Super 40 series muffler.

Its compact size means it will easily fit anywhere. The Super 10 series is available in 409S Stainless Steel.

Thrush Turbo Muffler

The Thrush Turbo muffler is another widely popular performance boosting muffler. Its Tri-Flow technology gives it that classic Thrush sound.

Thrush use 100% aluminised coated shell and aluminised construction. Which means it is long lasting, and for the ultimate flexibility, it is reversible.

Cherry Bomb Glasspack Muffler

The Cherry Bomb Glasspack muffler is the original high-performance straight-through design muffler. Its design maximises horsepower. It also provides the classic and iconic bark and rumble sounds which are sweet music to the ear.

Cherry Bomb uses distinctive red paint for their mufflers. Which makes it instantly recognisable amongst motorhead enthusiasts.

The Glasspack offers flexibility with installation. It has a reversible design and a compact round body size.

History of Mufflers

Mufflers aren’t some new great invention. The engine muffler was registered as a patent way back in the US in 1897.

The first mufflers in the early 1900s featured a ‘straight through’ design. This design is still widely used and popular today, over a hundred years later.

The first mufflers were effectively made of a pipe with holes. This was then wrapped in a substance like steel wool. Then the pipe passed through an outer shell.

The biggest change came to the design when companies stopped using steel wool. Instead, they switched to using fibreglass packing material.

While the name may imply so, a muffler doesn’t just focus on ‘muffling’ the exhaust sound. Let’s find out more.

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What Does a Muffler Do?

There are three main types of mufflers to select from. A chambered muffler, a straight through muffler, also called a ‘Glasspack’. As well as the less common turbo muffler. Let’s look at the differences between them.

Chambered Muffler

With a chambered muffler, the engine generates sound waves. At the end of the exhaust stroke, they then enter the muffler. The sound waves bounce around the chambers of the muffler.

While this happens, they experience   which disrupts some of the sound waves. But, the sound waves which aren’t disrupted by friction than bounce off a chamber wall. This forms an exact opposite sound wave.

The two opposite sound waves then cancel each other out. This cancellation results in reducing vehicle noise even further.

Straight-Through Muffler

The sound waves in a straight-through muffler pass through a straight pipe. This way the material surrounding the tubes absorbs some of the waves. These mufflers work very similarly to the first mufflers of the 1900s.

Turbo Style Muffler

A turbo style muffler is less common than a chambered or straight-through muffler. It works by forcing exhaust gases into an S-shaped pattern. The gases are then stripped away and deadened by the material of the muffler.

Each type of muffler has a different sound. Depending on the best one for you comes down to the kind of vehicle you drive. As well as your personal preference for sound.

As an example, glass packs are more commonly used with vintage muscle cars. Rather than on a Holden Commodore.

Chambered mufflers also have a distinct sound. This depends on how many chambers they have, as well as the chamber configuration. Both of these factors determine which sound waves are muted and which ones escape that  you can hear.

How Backpressure Affects Sound

Another factor you should consider when finding the right muffler and exhaust system is backpressure.

Each hole, twist and turn which the exhaust gases need to travel through in the muffler slows it down. It also restricts the migration of gas towards the tailpipe.

From this restriction, increased pressure occurs. The pressure then forces the engine to work harder to be able to get rid of the gas. This causes a reduction in power.

But, having less pressure means there will be more power. This means more sound too.

The best way to research is to listen to the different sounds from as many mufflers as possible. This will give you an idea of what you like.

A great place to start is with this sound testing video. It demonstrates 8 of the best Flowmaster mufflers. They range from mild to window shaking aggressive.


After you’ve chosen your favourite, you can always change the sound later if your tastes change. Or for peace of mind if you get too many noise complaints from the neighbours.

For more information about backpressure, this YouTube video explains it in more detail.


How To Get The Sound You Want

As muffler design continues to improve, you can now pick out exactly what sound you like, as well as how loud it is.

After the catalytic converters, there is a bolt-on exhaust system for modern vehicles. This makes installing a new exhaust system to match your particular car easier than ever.

A lot of manufacturers have started offering custom outlets. Meaning you can pick one which matches the exterior of your vehicle

Mufflers are one of the most popular options to tweak. But besides the muffler what else can you change? You can also upgrade headers, catalytic converters and tailpipes. Letting you achieve that exhaust sound which is music to your ears.

How To Buy The Best Exhaust System For Your Ride

With so many car exhaust system parts names to pick from, trying to find the right setup for your ride can be hard.

We understand! When making a decision, it’s important to consider the following factors.

Your Vehicle

Each make and model of vehicle and engine has different requirements. Just like every car exhaust system is tailored for specific applications. Be sure that the exhaust system you are set on, is best suited for your particular vehicle.

An approved and reliable auto electrician will be able to help you find the right setup for your vehicle.

Exhaust Sound

Each muffler and exhaust system has its own distinctive and unique sound. Whether you want to add a mild and pleasing rumble just a bit louder than the stock sound of your vehicle. Or go all the way to an aggressive growl, anything is possible.

No matter what sound you are after, there is an exhaust system or muffler to make that sound a reality!

Exhaust Style

Your exhaust system also lets you express yourself with a unique style. If you fancy a hot-rod inspired finish, then add a chrome exhaust tip. Or would you rather have double exhaust tips or a dual-exit Catback exhaust?

Your Budget

The most important thing, like with any auto accessory, is your budget. By defining your budget you can find a system to suit your needs. Whether you are looking for the best bang for your buck. Or a performance first exhaust system at any cost.

Are you looking to upgrade your vehicle with a performance exhaust system? Do you have any further questions? Sandgate Auto Electrics is an approved auto electrician & auto mechanic. We specialise in car exhaust systems. Our friendly team are standing by to help answer any questions or provide a free quote. Call (07) 3269 3158 or contact us online.