The faster exhaust can get out of your engine, and out of the pipes, the more power you can have in your car. The nature of the internal combustion engine is such that the exhaust system itself inhibits performance to some degree. Race cars often have no mufflers and have a free-flowing exhaust system so they can get the most out of their engines.
What is the best exhaust system is debatable, as it depends on your needs? If you do not need a performance car, you may not need to change anything that comes from the factory. If you do want performance, a performance exhaust system might be necessary.
Today’s cars can also normally get at least some additional power from a free-flowing. Catalytic converters also inhibit power, and newer cars are designed for optimum performance. As a result of that, in some cases, there is very little difference when a free-flowing system is installed. But in performance-oriented cars, and older vehicles, there is usually a substantial increase in power with a replacement exhaust system, resulting in the free-flowing exhaust, is used. Another advantage is the sound, which is louder but also produces a sound some people prefer.
The problem with the internal combustion engine is that mufflers and the rest of the catback exhaust system create back pressure, which is what limits performance. The decreased efficiency can be overcome, but you have to use more power and more gas to make that happen. With a free-flowing system, a lot of the back pressure is eliminated.
A high-performance exhaust system would eliminate as much back pressure as possible. This is done by making the path from the engine as straight as possible and having a consistent diameter of the pipes involved. A free-flowing system could also bypass obstacles like a catalytic converter, which would also boost performance. That would make it not street legal, so that is something to keep in mind. Even so, a replacement exhaust system can leave the catalytic converter intact while still increasing power and improving the sound with a free-flowing exhaust system. It is just that you would have to bypass it to get the absolute most power out of your engine.
There are several advantages to the free-flowing exhaust system, and the main one is an increase in power. Gas mileage is also increased, so you get the bonus of more power and better gas efficiency. Free-flowing exhaust systems are aftermarket products, and they can cost less than original equipment. Aftermarket products are also made of steel that lasts longer.
The disadvantage is that your vehicle will no longer be street legal. If you are racing at a track or going off-road, that may not be an issue. This system does produce more bad fumes, and your engine will get louder. Even so, there is no denying that a free-flowing exhaust system will improve the speed and power of your engine.
Another option is to install larger pipes while keeping the catalytic converter and sound muffling qualities. This will also greatly decrease the back pressure that is holding your engine back. In some cases, it will work just as well, and you don’t have to remove the things that protect the environment as you go.