Your car came from the automaker with a stock muffler. Eventually, it will rust and deteriorate, and you’ll need to replace it. You have options when this happens. You can most certainly purchase another stock muffler from a dealer, or you can purchase an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) specific aftermarket muffler from another provider. However, you’ll also find a dizzying range of other aftermarket mufflers out there. Why are there so many?
First and foremost, understand that changing just the muffler has a minimum effect on performance, but it does do a lot for the way your car looks. Many of the mufflers (and muffler tips) aren’t designed to give you any more performance, but they change the way your ride appears. Square, oval, coffee can, even octagonal-shaped mufflers and tips can be found on the market.
Quite a few drivers choose to go with an aftermarket muffler to change the way their cars sound. Different mufflers do different things – a coffee can muffler makes a small, four-cylinder engine sound bigger and more powerful. It doesn’t do much for your engine’s performance, but it can make your car stand out.
While you’ll see more performance enhancement if you go with a cat-back or header-back aftermarket exhaust system, you can see some improvement from the use of a different aftermarket muffler. It will be minimal, but it will be present. However, understand that if you’re replacing your stock muffler with a larger diameter muffler but not changing any of the pipes, you’re actually doing your engine a disservice. You’ll see decreased performance because this mucks up the back-pressure. Larger diameter muffler outlets should be matched with larger diameter pipes in general.
Some drivers choose aftermarket mufflers more for the weight reduction than any other reason. Aftermarket options can include fewer interior baffles, or they might be made from exotic metals that weigh less. Reduced weight equates to more available power and better fuel economy. These are four reasons why there are so many different aftermarket mufflers on the market. Really, it’s all about choice, and there are definitely plenty of options.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Why Are There so Many Aftermarket Options for Mufflers? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.