If you’re looking to replace your catalytic converter, or replace your exhaust system entirely, then you might want to consider getting a cat exhaust system. Why? Well, for a couple of reasons. There are numerous benefits of high-flow, performance cat back exhaust systems. First and foremost, they increase the fuel efficiency and the horsepower produced by your engine. Next, they offer an aggressive sound and styling improvement when compared to the stock exhaust. But in order to understand how these performance improvements happen, you need to understand the function that the exhaust plays in the engine’s combustion cycle.
Vehicles’ engines generate power through the process known as the internal combustion cycle. The cycle begins with the intake of air, which is then mixed with petrol and compressed by a piston. A spark then ignites the mixture which drives the crankshaft, thus generating power. Then, the piston expels the leftover gasses from the cycle out of the exhaust valves which then flow through the exhaust system and are forced out of the exhaust pipes into the atmosphere.
Stock exhaust systems are designed with practicality and comfort in mind. This means that they generate back pressure to reduce emissions and noise. In contrast, a performance back cat exhaust is designed to optimise engine efficiency. This is usually done by utilising larger pipes and high flow cats and mufflers to reduce the back pressure and improve horsepower. The engine expels the exhaust gasses through the larger pipes, thus allowing it to breathe more freely, which results in improved fuel efficiency.
In order to maximise efficiency and performance, cat back exhaust systems are volumentrically tuned to optimise exhaust flow in relation to the design of the engine. Both pipe diameter and design are chosen depending on the specifics of the engine’s combustion cycle. Generally, you want the exhaust to provide a clear passage to the exhaust gasses through the pipes, while providing the ideal amount of back pressure against the exhaust flow. This is so in order for the combustion cycle to be as efficient as possible for the engine.
Additionally, as aforementioned briefly, aftermarket performance cat back exhausts offer a customised look and sound. The reduction of muffling effects and back pressure makes the engine generate a more aggressive, louder sound compared to the stock exhaust. Moreover, you can find chrome polished exhaust tips as a decorative touch. This gives your vehicle a customised look. And last but not least, aftermarket exhaust systems are lighter, which slightly improves the vehicle’s acceleration as well as fuel economy.