The problem is that most people have no clue where to start. Rather than getting on some forums and researching their options, most 17 year olds throw a tin can muffler on their 92 Civic and give performance parts a bad name.
You’ve probably seen the Fast and Furious and thought, “Dang, those cars are sweet!” But not all parts are created equal. Start by identifying your goals and expectations. Also, think about the long run. You might save a few bucks now by going with a new muffler, but if you pay a little more you can add a full exhaust and really see results.
I suggest you start by making a list of a few parts you are considering. Then research which ones work best for your vehicle and which order you would like to add them. Lastly, it is worth it to shop around online. Spending half an hour online comparing a few shops can save you a few hundred bucks.
This article will bring you up to speed on exhaust headers.
1. How much power can you get from exhaust headers?
No two vehicles are exactly alike, so it is impossible to assign specific numbers of horsepower or torque. In general, a set of performance exhaust headers will unlock around an extra 5-25 horsepower along with a noticeable boost in rear-wheel torque.
2. Will performance exhaust headers discolor?
Performance exhaust headers absorb some of the most punishing abuse of any part on your vehicle. They are constantly being cooked at temperatures of around 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and time will eventually take its toll on any finish. Performance exhaust headers with ceramic coating are the most resilient and will retain their finish the longest. Stainless steel is also incredibly durable, but it will start to tinge slightly after a while. Nickel-chrome will also change color, especially if used for racing or towing. High-temperature paint usually stays the same, but it can be chipped.
However, discoloration does not affect the performance of your exhaust headers. They still work just the same on the inside no matter how they look on the outside. It just depends on your level of OCD.
3. Are performance exhaust headers street legal?
It depends on which performance exhaust headers you get and which state you live in. Most of the headers are 50-state street legal, which means that they don’t interfere with pollution-controls on your vehicle. Some headers are designed for off-road or racing vehicles that are exempt from smog certification, so they are not street-legal. Then again, some states have more relaxed pollution controls than others, so a set of off-road headers in California might be street-legal in Montana. If your state requires that you pass a smog test, get a set of headers that are 50-state street legal. If not, then they sky’s the limit. Either way, check with your local DMV.
4. Will performance exhaust headers void my vehicle’s warranty?
It depends. Vehicle manufacturers cannot refuse to perform repairs just because you have installed performance parts. However, if they can prove that the part itself contributed to the problem, or if your warranty expressly prohibits performance upgrades, then they can refuse to honor the warranty. Always take the time to read your warranty before installing any aftermarket parts.
5. Which performance exhaust headers have the most thermal protection?
Hands down, ceramic coatings have the greatest resistance to heat damage. Besides protecting the headers from burning out and discoloring, the ceramic coating insulates the header’s piping. This keeps the temperatures in your engine compartment down, which improves your overall efficiency.
6. Are performance exhaust headers difficult to install?
Bolting on a set of performance exhaust headers may seem like a daunting task, but it is a fairly straightforward installation. As long as you have the right tools, a sturdy floor jack, and some experience under the hood, you should have no problems. Of course, having a buddy around to lend a hand always helps. If you are concerned about installing your performance exhaust headers on your own, most garages and muffler shops can do the work for you.
7. Which performance exhaust headers are right for my vehicle?
Most online automotive stores have a vehicle selector, where they will display parts that specifically fit your vehicle. All you have to do is enter your vehicle information. Still have questions? Don’t be lazy! Pick up the phone and ask a professional about performance exhaust headers, cat back exhaust systems or any other parts for your vehicle.