What is Muffler Delete and Is it Right for You?

In this article we are looking toward the fans of a loud natural sounding engine. In modern cars the intent is usually to keep them quieter but some people just want to hear their engine noise. We will be looking at one aspect of sound increase, muffler delete. What exactly is this and is it the right choice for your car engine sound desires?

What Does Muffler Delete Mean?

Muffler delete is an unnecessarily cool way of saying that you are removing the muffler from your car's exhaust. Essentially the muffler serves as a resonance chamber which bounces around the sound coming from the car's engine as it passes through the vehicle's exhaust.

There is often more than one muffler attached to the exhausts of modern cars and these can be removed from the exhaust system if you choose to do so. This is not to be confused with a straight pipe exhaust modification however as that also includes taking away the catalytic converter.

What Are the Benefits of Muffler Delete?

In the interest of fairness we are going to take a quick walk through the pros and cons of a muffler delete modification to help you decide on the best course of action for your car. We will start then with what is good about this type of modification.

It May Improve Your Horsepower

The mufflers slow the progress of the exhaust gases through the system as part of their job to stifle the engine noise. This delay in the system creates what is known as back pressure in the engine. This pressure limits the power of your engine somewhat but it has already been factored into the operation of your vehicle.

If you remove the mufflers and replace them with unrestricted pipe then this alleviates the backpressure which in turn allows the engine to work more efficiently. In low power vehicles this will not make a huge difference in horsepower but in performance vehicles or ones with larger engines you may get a significant boost in your top horsepower.

Slight Improvement in Fuel Economy

Removing the mufflers as we have already mentioned decreases engine back pressure which improves engine performance overall. With a better performing engine you will actually use slightly less fuel. This is obviously an attractive concept but in full disclosure the difference isn’t massive.

Natural and Loud Exhaust

The main reason of course for this modification is to get that natural and loud exhaust sound. This is that roaring sound you hear from race cars which generally do not have mufflers or catalytic converters because they need the performance for racing.

Removing the muffler allows the natural noises from the engine to travel down the exhaust pipe and you will get that aggressive note that is so prized by many motoring fans.

The Cons of Muffler Delete

Loud Exhaust

Yes I know this was in the pro section as well but you know just because you love the roar of an engine doesn't mean it can't become irritating after a while even to the driver. If for example you are taking a road trip that is going to take a while, constant loud engine noise may get annoying and there is nothing you can do to shut it off.

You may also irritate your neighbors especially if you have to use your car late at night or early in the morning. There is no choosing when the noise occurs so unless you are fine potentially angering the people who live around you this should be a consideration.

It Might Be Illegal

Before you even look at pricing out this modification do a little homework and make sure that you can legally do this in your state. Certain states do not allow this kind of modification on street legal cars. It’s not like you can hide the fact that the muffler isn’t attached; it's blaringly obvious.

If it is not legal to remove your muffler in your state you better believe that the highway patrol will pull you over and give you a ticket the second they hear your exhaust. You might think they are too busy doing other cop stuff but they often have ticketing quotas to hit and you would be an easy target.

Reduces Performance in Some Cars

Yes as we mentioned older cars and ones with big engines may see a boost in performance from removing the mufflers. This is not always the case with newer lower powered cars because their onboard computers rely on the muffler being part of the system.

In a new car that is expecting data from the muffler removing the part might trigger a check engine light. It also may potentially drop performance because the computer is not getting communications that are vital to create the best engine performance conditions.

Emissions Test Failure

There are over 30 US states that require you to take a regular emissions test before you can register your vehicle is roadworthy. Although the muffler does not play a part in the actual emissions quality you may be failed by the technicians because the mufflers were removed.

This may seem unfair but if you fail the emissions test for this reason you will need to replace the mufflers before you are clear to register the vehicle for use on the public roads. If you can not register the car and you choose to drive around, be aware you will be noticed and there is every likelihood you may face fines and legal consequences for driving an unregistered vehicle.

How Much Does a Muffler Delete Modification Cost?

The cost of this type of modification can vary depending on the type of vehicle you have and how many mufflers you are removing. Parts alone can range between $50 - $200 because although you are removing the mufflers something has to fill the space in your exhaust.

In terms of labor costs these will likely be high because frankly not many reputable mechanics will make these modifications especially if they are not legal in your state. You can easily spend $100 - $250 in labor costs bringing you to $150 - $450 including parts as well.

Is This Modification Easy to Do Yourself?

As with all things automotive the likelihood of it being something you can do yourself will depend on your mechanical skill level. You will need the right tools and may even need welding equipment if the mufflers are welded to the exhaust.

You would save money doing this yourself but unless you know how you can make mistakes and end up with issues. If for example your modification allows exhaust fumes to escape near the intake for the cabin's fresh air you may be sucking in exhaust while you're driving which is not good at all.


The muffler delete modification sounds like a lot of fun for those who love a loud exhaust sound and it certainly is what you want. It does have a few major drawbacks as well so you should be sure that you are prepared for those.

You may encounter trouble with the authorities, issues passing emissions tests and possibly becoming the neighborhood nuisance that everyone hates. Realistically you take the risks in life that you want to take so if the muffler delete sounds like your thing then best of luck and enjoy.

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