Last Updated on May 6, 2021
Muffler deletes have become a popular way to give your vehicle a more aggressive sound. But while it’s one of the most popular ways, it’s not the only way to make your exhaust louder. So, if you find after reading this guide it’s not the road you want to go down, you’re not entirely out of luck.
But while muffler deletes are growing in popularity, there are some big red flags that you need to be aware of. Keep reading, and we’ll break down everything you need to know.
What is a Muffler Delete?
Mufflers are the last component in your vehicle’s exhaust system and act as resonators to minimize the amount of noise that your engine makes.
While muffler deletes and straight pipe exhaust systems get thrown around interchangeably, they’re not the same thing. Muffler deletes only remove the muffler, while straight pipe exhaust systems remove both the muffler and the catalytic converter!
Muffler Delete Pros
Muffler deletes are popular for a reason, and believe it or not, it’s sometimes about more than just the sound. Below we’ve highlighted the two most common reasons people perform muffler deletes on their vehicle.
#1 – Increased Horsepower on Older Vehicle
If you drive a vehicle that’s close to 20-years old or older, there’s a good chance that a muffler delete will increase your top-end horsepower.
This is because mufflers on older vehicles are extremely restrictive and increase engine backpressure – neither of which is good for your engine. You read that right – on older vehicles, muffler deletes are actually good for your engine.
#2 – More Aggressive Exhaust Sound
While muffler deletes might be good for older engines, the reason they’re so popular has to do with one thing and one thing alone – they give your vehicle a much more aggressive (and loud) sound.
The entire purpose of your muffler is to reduce the amount of noise that your vehicle makes. So, if you’re looking for a louder vehicle with a more aggressive sound, it makes sense that muffler delete will get the job done.
Muffler Delete Cons
While many vehicle enthusiasts love muffler deletes, there’s no questioning that it has more than its fair share of cons. Below we’ve highlighted four potential issues you’ll have to deal with if you complete a muffler delete.
#1 – Much Louder Exhaust
Vehicles without a muffler are loud. And while that’s kind of the point, it’s still a bit of a nuisance when you’re out on long road trips. It’s especially true when your vehicle is traveling at higher RPMs with more air flowing through the exhaust.
While you might not mind the noise while you’re accelerating. The deafening drown as you’re traveling down the highway can be more than a little annoying.
Related: Symptoms of a Hole in Your Muffler
#2 – Can Reduce Engine Performance
Wait. Didn’t we list increased engine performance as a pro? We did, and that’s because while on older vehicles, a muffler delete can increase top-end horsepower, on newer ones, it can have the opposite effect.
Newer mufflers are far less restrictive, and the manufacturer tunes the ECM to work with the muffler. Not only will you likely increase some loss in engine performance with a muffler delete on a newer vehicle, but you’ll likely get a check engine light too.
This might not seem like a big deal, but if another issue does crop up, your vehicle won’t have a way to tell you that you need to check it out before it gets worse.
#3 – Inspection/Emissions Failure
If you live in a state where your vehicle needs to pass a vehicle or emissions test, it’s not going to pass with a muffler delete. Sometimes your vehicle will pop an engine code that will prevent an accurate emissions test which will automatically lead to a failed test.
Other times the technician will see what you did and fail your vehicle. Either way, if your vehicle needs inspections, you’ll likely need to put all the stock equipment back on, or you won’t pass.
#4 – It’s Illegal
Let’s get one thing straight – if you’re looking to complete a muffler delete on a vehicle you’ll be driving down the road – you’re breaking the law. While it’s unlikely that you’ll get pulled over for removing your muffler, you very well might get pulled over for violating local noise ordinances.
Is a Muffler Delete Legal?
It doesn’t matter what state you live in, a muffler delete is illegal on vehicles driving on public roads. There’s a common misconception that as long as your vehicle noise stays under your state or local noise ordinance, you’re good to go – that’s simply not the case.
However, while it is possible to get a ticket for a muffler delete – it’s more likely that you’ll get a ticket for excessive vehicle noise – not the muffler delete itself.
However, if a cop that knows his stuff pulls you over, there’s definitely a chance you could get more than one ticket.
Will a Muffler Delete Pass Emissions?
Absolutely not! A muffler delete won’t pass a regular vehicle inspection – let alone one that focuses on the exhaust system. However, if you’re curious if deleting a muffler will increase emissions – this is a stark no.
All the muffler does is limit noise, and it doesn’t have any smog reduction or emission equipment. But that won’t stop the inspector or even your vehicle’s ECM from failing you on the test.
See Also: 5 Signs of an Exhaust Leak
Muffler Delete vs. Resonator Delete
Another way to increase your vehicle noise while leaving your muffler intact is a resonator delete. Not every vehicle has a resonator, but if yours does, it’s another way to increase your vehicle’s noise without touching the muffler.
But if you’re looking to remove the resonator instead of the muffler so you can stay on the right side of the law, you’re out of luck. That’s because just like a muffler delete, resonator deletes are illegal in most states.
How Much Does a Muffler Delete Cost?
If you’re looking at a muffler delete, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised with the costs. The parts themselves usually only cost between $50 and $250. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a mechanic to complete the job it only costs between $100 and $200.
However, you might find it a little more challenging to find a mechanic that’s willing to complete the job considering that muffler deletes are illegal on cars that will be traveling on public roads.