I’m a member of one of the largest automotive online community. One of the most common question members ask is how to quiet exhaust without losing performance?
Nothing is irritating than driving a car that leaves everyone around cursing.
Not only does a loud exhaust affect pedestrians, but it can also be a nuisance to those traveling without you in your car.
Additionally, if you’re relocating to a new state, like Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, etc. that restrict the use of mufflers that emit “unusual” noise, you’ll have to find a way to quiet your car. (Source)
In this article, I’m going to share ideas on how you can quiet down the exhaust without affecting the performance of your vehicle.
What Makes an Exhaust Loud/Noisy?
Before you get started on the different methods to quiet a noisy exhaust, it’s important to get a clear picture of what’s making the exhaust loud.
In most cases, you’re using an old exhaust, and in rare cases, your exhaust may be too powerful.
Another common cause of exhaust noise is leaking. To see whether this could be the problem with your car, park it, and inspect for any smoke or puddles underneath.
Make sure you inspect this on a flat surface with the handbrake firmly applied. Safety first.
Now that you know the main culprits, let’s have a look at different ways you can quiet a noisy exhaust without losing performance.
How to Quiet Exhaust Without Losing Performance
There are five different ways on making an exhaust quieter. Let’s have a look at them in detail.
1. Fix the leak
If you’re discovered a leak, the best way to deal with the noise problem is through fixing it. You will need a heat resistant epoxy to fix small holes. Luckily the instruction on the packaging will make the installation process much easier for you.
If the hole is too big, you will need muffler cement, a good example is Dynomax Muffler Cement. Invest in a tube that will effectively seal the hole and prevent more leaks.
Before applying any of the products mentioned here, make sure you clean the rust off on the surface you want to treat.
If the exhaust is covered in holes, you’d be better off buying a new one than trying to fix the holes.
2. Invest in a Quiet Muffler
If you want to deal with this problem once and for good, your best bet will be investing in a new quiet muffler.
This is the part that encases the final portion of the exhaust pipe before the opening. Its primary purpose is to make the exhaust quieter.
Even if you had invested in a quiet performance muffler previously, you might need to get a new one more so if the old one is torn out. Here are some of our most recommended mufflers you can get on the market today.
There are different types of mufflers designed for different vehicles and so take your time when choosing one that’s right for your car.
If you plan on installing the muffler yourself, make sure that watch different YouTube tutorials and red guides to be sure of what you’re doing. (Source)
If you’re not confident, you should hire a professional to get the job done.
3. DIY Quiet Mufflers
The next option you can choose from involves the use of soundproof mufflers or DIY quiet mufflers. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford a new muffler, you’d better stick with a DIY quiet muffler.
You will need a sound deadening material to dampen the exhaust noise as it travels through the exhaust system.
Some of the popular sound-deadening materials include steel scrubs, metal wool, and fiber glass. Whatever material you use, make sure it’s heat-resistant.
There are many videos online that provide step by step guide on how to design a quiet muffler. However, if you’re not experienced enough, it’s always important to seek help from a qualified mechanic who has worked on silencers in the past.
4. DIY Silencer
If you can’t afford to invest in a premade silencer, you may need to invest in a DIY silencer. You should note that this is a method that you should undertake at your own risk.
There are plenty of DIY tutorials online on how to design a silencer. One of the most popular methods is using a ball of steel wool, soda can, or jar lid.
While some of these will be highly effective, you should understand that this approach is riskier if you are not 100% sure of what you’re doing.
5. Buy a Silencer
If a DIY silencer is not your thing, you can purchase a new silencer online. A silencer works by narrowing the hole that the exhaust noise has to travel through and, in so doing, reduces noise.
Installing a ready-made silencer doesn’t require professional help. All you have to do is to slip the muffler inside the exhaust pipe, and you are good to go.
However, make sure you invest in one that’s specific to your vehicle’s exhaust. While this option won’t wholly deaden the sound as the other methods mentioned above, it’s a cheap and easy fix.
Other Hacks for Quieting a Car
If you’re traveling with kids and worried that the exhaust noise would be more of a nuisance to the passengers, there are some fixed that you can do.
You can soundproof car interior.
However, you should note that this method will only prevent engine. In addition, the exhaust noise from disturbing those inside the car and won’t do anything for pedestrians.
Sound deadening sprays, soundproofing mats such as Lizard Skin, SoundSkins, Dynamat will help you achieve a quieter car cabin.
On How to Quiet Exhaust Without Losing Performance
A sound deadened car will make your riding experience a whole much better.
It’ll only be best for you but also for those around you and will also help you avoid problems with the cops, especially when you visit states that restrict the use of loud mufflers.
Above are some of the different methods you can implement right now to achieve a quieter ride.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.
2 thoughts on “How to Quiet Exhaust Without Losing Performance”
I got pulled over today for my straight pipe on my focus. I know it’s illegal in Colorado, so I want to fix it. But it’s tuned perfectly right now and I don’t want to loose that. Do you have any muffler suggestions that I could use that will quiet it down but not screw up my tune?
@Harper, hey man same thing happened to me a few days ago in California I drive a 135i Single turbo with 4″ straight piped! That thing is super loud he was going to tow it but luckily when I got stopped it was literally 3 houses away from home he cut me a break but I do have a solution for you that you might like to hear.