How to Upgrade Your Exhaust System with Aftermarket Parts

8th Apr 2021

The underside of a car’s exhaust system

If you love the muscle, speed, and style of a tuned-up or performance racing car, there’s a good chance that you also love the sound of the exhaust system. And not just your average exhaust system but an upgraded aftermarket exhaust that produces an amazing rumble or growl that you fall in love with instantly. Now, maybe you’re thinking of installing one on your customized ride.

Whether you want to unleash the full power of your engine, get a better sound every time you floor the accelerator, or just admire the stylish look of a custom exhaust system, an upgrade is well deserved. With the right tools, parts, and a bit of patience, you can install the best exhaust system yourself. What matters most is installing exact-fit parts.

Here are some basic steps to follow when installing your new exhaust upgrade:

Tools You’ll Need

  • Floor jack
  • 6 pointed sockets (10mm to 19mm)
  • Ratchet
  • New gaskets (however many your vehicle requires)
  • New nuts and bolts (for reassembling the exhaust)
  • Gloves and safety glasses
  • Penetrating oil (PB Blaster works perfectly)
  • Replacement bolt-on exhaust system
  • New rubber exhaust hangers
  • 4 safety jack stands

Familiarize Yourself With Exhaust System Parts

Before you get started, look up diagrams and photos of your car’s make and model to help you familiarize yourself with the exhaust system. Whether it’s a NissanFord, or Mitsubishi, the main parts include the catalytic converter, oxygen sensors, resonator, muffler, and tailpipe.

Prepping Your Car for the Exhaust Upgrade

  1. Let your car exhaust system cool off if you have used your car recently.
  2. Park your car on a flat surface and raise it with a jack so you can work underneath it.
  3. Use the four jack stands to keep the vehicle from moving around.

Removing the Old Exhaust

  1. Use a wrench to disconnect the oxygen sensors (maybe one or two) from underneath your car. Check for small metal pieces attached to wires connected to the sides of the exhaust pipe.
  2. Use a penetrating fluid to spray all the nuts, bolts, and threadings along the exhaust system.
  3. Use a ratchet to unscrew the nuts holding the exhaust system to the car.
  4. Unhook the exhaust pipes from the rubber hangers.
  5. Slowly and carefully remove the exhaust system from the body of the car. You can also remove the different parts of the exhaust separately — it’s easier that way, and it will help you learn more as part of the exhaust upgrade installation process

Installing the New Exhaust System

Close up of two exhaust tailpipes

  1. Get the best exhaust system that matches the make and model of your car. Go for a quality aftermarket exhaust that’s within your budget and from a reputable aftermarket brand.
  2. Check the exhaust system layout to make sure it fits your car.
  3. Use a wire brush to clean rust off the bolt threads of the bolts you just removed. If they’re too rusty, you can replace them with new ones.
  4. Apply a quality antifreeze fluid on the bold threadings.
  5. Lift the new exhaust system into place for fitting using a jack.
  6. If your exhaust upgrade comes in multiple parts, start with the section that attaches to the downpipe.
  7. Continue installing each part as you work towards your car’s rear.
  8. Place a gasket over the exhaust downpipe with one of the bolts.
  9. Attach the front part of the exhaust system loosely to the downpipe using the bolts.
  10. Connect the individual sections of your exhaust system using clamps.
  11. Working from the engine towards the car’s rear, first connect the exhaust pipe, then the catalytic converters, then the resonator, the muffler, and finally the tailpipe. In some cases, welding may be needed to connect the pieces together.
  12. Plug the oxygen sensors back into the car’s ports.
  13. Slide the metal pins through the rubber exhaust hangers, then tighten the bolts starting with those are the front and along the entire length of the exhaust.
  14. Confirm that your exhaust upgrade is installed correctly, then turn on your car to see whether engine fumes are coming out of the tailpipes. Spray the connections with soapy water. If you see bubbles, that means your exhaust is leaking and you may need additional assistance.
  15. Once everything is good to go, remove the jack stands and lower your car with the jack. Now you have a new exhaust system installed — have fun!

Get Your Aftermarket Exhaust System Online

Of course, learning these steps is not always easy, but with the right tools, know-how, and a bit of motivation, you can get it done yourself and save money. Wondering where to find a huge selection of aftermarket exhaust systems for different car makes and models? Enjuku Racing is your one-stop online shop for all your aftermarket parts, including the best exhaust systems for tune-ups and performance racing. Get your exhaust upgrade today!