Straight piping is one of the most popular aftermarket vehicle modifications that can improve the sound and performance of your car.
Changing your car’s exhaust comes at a price, though.
The average cost to straight pipe a car ranges from $620 to $2,450 for parts and labor. Straight pipe kits cost between $200 and $1,000 on average. Labor can cost a further $270 to $750, depending on the type of car and complexity of work. Miscellaneous parts such as fasteners and eventual repairs also add up to the price.
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How Much Does It Cost To Straight Pipe A Car?
The table below is a list of average costs to straight pipe a truck or car*:
|Factor||Average Cost Range|
|Straight pipe kit||$200 - $1,000|
|Miscellaneous parts||$50 - $200|
|Labor||$270 - $750|
|Miscellaneous repairs||$100 - $500|
|Total cost||$620 - $2,450|
*The costs in the table are industry averages correct as of October 2022 and are intended to use as reference only. Actual costs can vary based on factors such as your location, car make and model, straight pipe quality, pipe material, vehicle exhaust system (single or dual), etc. Skilled enthusiasts can also save on labor costs by replacing the exhaust pipe themselves.
The cost to straight pipe a vehicle can vary from a few hundred bucks to a few grand.
Aftermarket straight pipe kits are the cheapest option. They cost between $50 and $200 on average, depending on pipe size and the quality of materials.
Stock straight pipes from automotive brands are made of higher quality materials and designed for seamless compatibility with specific makes and models (e.g. BMW, Chevrolet Camaro, Honda Civic, etc.).
However, these options are a lot more expensive.
Prices range from around $400 to over $8,000 depending on the material. Most of these pipes are made of stainless steel, titanium, Inconel, or other high-performance materials.
The type of kit you buy can also impact the final cost.
Straight exhaust pipes are available in kits comprising all mounting parts, or you can purchase the pipe only. Kits are more expensive than a single pipe, but often cheaper than buying all parts separately.
The pipe size (length and thickness) also has an impact on the final price. Longer and thicker pipes are more expensive.
Labor costs typically vary from $270 to $750, but they can go up to $1,250 or more if the original exhaust pipe is rusted and difficult to remove or if the car needs additional repairs.
7 Factors That Influence Straight Piping Prices
The cost to replace an exhaust pipe is influenced by a number of factors.
The type of pipe you need or want and labor costs represent the two major variables. However, your car’s make and model also has an impact on the costs.
1. Pipe Material
One of the main factors that affect the cost to straight pipe a car is the type of material the new exhaust pipe is made of. There are four common options: mild steel, stainless steel, titanium, and Inconel.
The table below shows the average price ranges for the various straight pipe types*:
|Pipe Material||Average Price Range|
|Mild steel||$20 - $140|
|Stainless steel||$50 - $800|
|Titanium||$350 - $4,000|
|Inconel||$3,500 - $8,000+|
*Straight pipe prices in the table are industry averages intended to use as reference only. Actual costs can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The higher end of each range typically includes complete kits, but there can be exceptions.
Mild steel is the most common and cheapest form of steel. It consists of iron mixed with a small percentage of carbon, resulting in a malleable material that is easy to mold into the desired shape.
Inexpensive exhaust pipes are typically made of mild steel, but not only straight exhaust. Factory exhaust systems on low-end cars are also made of this stuff.
As far as straight pipes are concerned, a mild steel kit rarely costs over $150. You can expect to spend a lot less in most cases.
However, affordable costs come at another price. This material is vulnerable to elements, rust, and corrosion.
To increase the lifespan of their pipes, most manufacturers coat the steel in zinc. This coating can counteract corrosion to an extent, but the pipe is still more vulnerable than other materials. Mild steel pipes are also thicker and heavier than most other types.
An exception is the aluminized steel obtained from mild steel dipped in hot aluminum.
This treatment produces pipes of exceptional strength and resistance. The appearance is also superior to regular mild steel.
Straight pipes made of aluminized steel are often more expensive, with prices varying in the same range as stainless steel.
Exhausts in this category are typically made of 409 stainless steel. This alloy is made from iron with around 11 percent chromium or titanium.
These metals add excellent resistance to corrosion and rust compared to carbon, enhancing stainless steel’s properties compared to mild steel.
The material maintains its malleability and strength, making it ideal for use in the automotive industry.
Exhaust systems made of stainless steel have a much longer lifespan and are generally lighter than those made of mild steel.
The only downside is money-related. Chromium and titanium have higher costs compared to carbon, and this is reflected in the price of the exhaust pipes or kits.
Some manufacturers (typically high-end automotive brands like BMW or Mercedes) may use 304 stainless steel instead of 409. This alloy contains up to 20 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel, and is much more resistant than 409 stainless steel.
However, 304 stainless steel is more difficult to bend or cut, so production costs are higher.
Stainless steel straight pipes cost between $50 and $800, depending on the type of alloy used, kit size, and manufacturer.
Replacing the factory exhaust with a titanium part is one of the most loved upgrades among car enthusiasts, albeit a costly one.
Titanium is over 40 percent lighter than steel and has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of all metals.
As the strongest metal in the world, titanium can easily match the strength of comparable steel parts at a reduced weight. Basically, this means a lower overall weight of the vehicle and increased performance.
Titanium exhausts don’t normally come as standard, but some manufacturers offer them as upgrades or customization options.
For instance, Volkswagen can equip its Golf R and GTI vehicles with a titanium exhaust manufactured by Akrapovic. The part weighs under 15 lbs, but such an exhaust can set you back $3,650.
Similarly, straight pipe exhausts made of titanium are available either in universal kits or custom parts from automotive brands.
Depending on your car make and model and type of kit, you can expect to spend between $350 and $4,500 on average for a titanium exhaust.
Inconel is a nickel-chromium-based superalloy and a registered trademark of the Special Metals Corporation.
Primarily used in the aerospace industry and nuclear reactor cores, this material is known for its superior resistance to oxidation, corrosion, and heat. It is also a lot lighter than most other metals and alloys and a lot stronger.
Due to these properties, exhaust pipes made of Inconel are very thin and light, yet as strong as titanium.
This makes the material a go-to choice for F1 cars. Luxury sports car brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini also equip their vehicles with Inconel exhausts.
It’s the F1 and luxury sports car use that should be a clue to the material’s main downside. Inconel is very expensive to produce and difficult to work with, making fabricating an exhaust from it labor-intensive and costly.
Straight pipes made of Inconel do exist, though. They are primarily manufactured by or for Ferrari and Lamborghini and come with staggering price tags.
Basic pipes cost around $3,500 on average, but straight pipe kits or specialty pipes can cost over $8,000.
2. Pipe Length
The main reason for swapping a vehicle’s factory exhaust pipe for a straight one is to improve performance.
A short pipe is generally believed to boost performance. However, it is not ideal to have the exhaust fumes pump directly beneath your car and fill the cabin.
Either you opt for rear or side exhaust, a factor that impacts the cost of straight piping your car is the pipe length. Regardless of the material they are made of, longer pipes are more expensive than short ones.
3. Kit Type
Another thing to decide when upgrading a car’s exhaust is the type of kit you want to buy.
Straight pipes can be bought alone, in individual packs, or as part of kits that also contain elbows and bends that allow you to direct the system to the side of the car rather than the rear. These kits are more expensive than individual pipes.
Full kits that also comprise the hardware needed for mounting, such as bolts, screws, and fasteners, are the most expensive upfront but they could be the best solution.
These kits include everything needed for a seamless upgrade, and you won’t have to buy any additional parts.
4. Exhaust Type
The number of exhaust pipes your car has is another factor to consider. Straight pipes typically come in kits comprising one or two exhausts. Double exhaust kits are more expensive, but some cars are factory-fitted with three exhausts.
This rare feature is mostly seen in luxury sports cars like Ferrari 458 or Lexus LFA. However, some affordable sports cars, such as the Honda Civic Type R, also have three exhausts.
Finding out how many pipes your car has is easy. Just take a look at the rear of the car and make sure none of them is a fake exhaust intended to make your vehicle seem more expensive.
5. Car Performance
The engine’s cubic-inch displacement (CID), the vehicle’s horsepower, and the exhaust type (single or dual) determine the diameter of the exhaust pipe. Like the length, a larger diameter means more metal and a higher cost.
The table below shows what exhaust pipe diameter to choose based on your car’s specs*:
|Engine CID||Horsepower||Pipe Diameter|
|150 - 200||100|
|200 - 250||150|
|250 - 300||200|
|300 - 350||250|
|350 - 400||300|
|400 - 450||400|
|450 - 500||500|
*Choosing a smaller diameter pipe within your vehicle’s CID range will provide low- to mid-range RPM torque. A larger diameter will provide mid- to high-range RPM torque.
Unless you plan to straight pipe the car yourself, your location is going to have a direct impact on the costs.
Average automotive mechanic rates vary from $90 to $150 per hour. Straight piping a car takes around three to five hours on average. This means that you should set aside between $270 and $750 for the mechanic alone.
However, knowing the rates in your area can help you calculate a more accurate estimate.
For instance, mechanics in Detroit charge between $80 and $100 on average. If you live in the area, chances are you’ll spend less than the national average for labor.
At the opposite end are states like California and Wyoming. The average hourly rate in The Golden State is $145.16 per hour, whereas Wyoming is even more expensive with average rates of 149.03 per hour.
7. Repairs Required
Replacing the exhaust pipe on a car is one of the simplest tasks for a skilled mechanic. However, if the original pipe was made of poor-quality mild steel and it is rusted, removing it could become challenging.
When looking beneath the car, the mechanic might also spot other parts that have to be repaired. All this stuff will impact the final cost.
Is It Legal To Straight Pipe A Car?
Straight piping a car might or might not be legal, depending on your local jurisdiction.
While US federal law requires exhaust systems to meet applicable noise and emission regulations, it doesn’t specifically require mufflers or catalytic converters.
As far as noise emissions are concerned, regulations in some states prohibit modifications that would cause the muffler to emit more noise than the original, factory-installed muffler. This is the case in Florida and New York, among others.
In these states, straight piping a car would be illegal, since a straight pipe is louder than a factory-installed muffler.
The federal law also requires all vehicles to be tested for exhaust emissions.
Removing the catalytic converter would increase your car’s emissions, and the vehicle might not pass these inspections. In this case, too, your vehicle would become road-illegal.
To legally straight pipe your car, you must know the noise and fume emission standards in your state and find a reputable mechanic or muffler shop to install the new exhaust system correctly.
Is It Worth It To Straight Pipe A Car?
Straight piping a vehicle comes with advantages and drawbacks.
Check them out below to decide whether it’s worth it or not.
Straight Piping Advantages
When straight piping a car, you’re replacing the factory exhaust system – which contains numerous components such as muffler, catalytic converter, resonator, etc. – with a straight pipe (it might have some bends, but it doesn’t contain any additional components).
The straight pipe is lighter than a standard exhaust system, improving the vehicle’s power-to-weight ratio.
The absence of a catalytic converter, back pipe, and oxygen sensor also allows the engine to operate at full power.
This swap earns you around 10 to 12 extra horsepower, which isn’t all that drastic but can make a difference when driving.
A muffler’s role is to dampen the sounds produced by your car. If you love the roaring sound of racing engines, straight piping your car can make it louder and more aggressive.
As explained, however, you should make sure that removing the muffler is legal in your area. If removing it isn’t legal where you live, but you still want the boost in performance, you could opt for a straight pipe with a muffler.
Factory exhaust pipes are not exactly pleasing from an aesthetic standpoint. Manufacturers may use covers to improve their visual appeal, but they are just plain underneath.
High-end aftermarket straight pipes can improve your car’s looks without a cover. Not only can you customize the ride with a sought-after material, but you may even be able to choose from different colors.
Another thing that happens when removing a car’s factory exhaust system is a reduction of gas pressure on the exhaust’s manifold.
Without the build-up pressure, the engine operates under less strain, which in turn reduces the amount of fuel consumed.
However, this usually only happens if you tune the car after installing the straight pipe. Tuning could set you back $250 to $1,500 on top of the exhaust replacement cost, depending on your vehicle’s setup.
As mentioned, straight piping a car will trim down some of the vehicle’s weight. This alone will reduce fuel consumption and it will also make your car faster.
Modern vehicles have complicated exhaust systems. Sure, they are designed to reduce exhaust and noise emissions, but they require more maintenance than a straight pipe with fewer or no other components.
Straight piping your car will not only cut off maintenance, but it will also reduce the number of parts that can break as well as the wear on the engine’s components.
Straight Piping Drawbacks
May Not Pass Inspections
The Environmental Protection Agency sets up regulations regarding the amount of gas emissions and pollutants vehicles can emit.
Car manufacturers engineer their vehicles to comply with these regulations.
When replacing the factory exhaust system with a straight pipe, you remove all of these emission-reduction components. As a result, your car’s emissions will increase.
Depending on the actual amount of emissions and laws in your state, a car with a straight pipe may or may not pass the annual inspection. If it doesn’t, you won’t be able to drive it legally on public roads.
Decreased Resale Value
Due to noise and gas emissions, a straight pipe configuration is not legal in all states. Selling a car that is potentially illegal to drive in some jurisdictions has a negative impact on the vehicle’s resale value.
Potential buyers may also find the vehicle too loud to begin with, whether it complies with the noise emission laws or not. Buyers may also have concerns regarding the insurance or maintaining a modified vehicle.
It Can Get Expensive
No matter what car you drive, replacing its exhaust system can cut a hole in your budget.
The table below shows the average costs to straight pipe different car brands*:
|Car Make & Model||Average Cost to Straight Pipe|
|BMW 328i||$860 - $3,750|
|Chevrolet Camaro||$675 - $1,750|
|Honda Civic||$650 - $1,590|
|Ford Mustang||$470 - $3,250|
|Toyota Supra||$450 - $1,600|
*The prices above include parts and labor and were calculated based on average prices for brand-specific aftermarket parts to which we applied the average labor rates mentioned in this article. Actual costs can vary depending on the kit type and labor costs in your area. All prices are correct as of October 2022 and are intended to use as reference only.
How much power does straight piping add?
Straight piping can add about 10 to 12 extra horsepower.
How long does it take to straight pipe a car?
A skilled mechanic typically employs between three and five hours to straight pipe a car whose original exhaust system is in good condition.
It could take more if the parts are rusted or if the vehicle needs additional repairs.
Can straight piping ruin the engine?
No, straight piping cannot ruin the engine. If anything, it can actually improve the engine’s performance.
However, you will have to adjust the fuel injection and otherwise tune your car to see the performance boost and enjoy most straight piping benefits.
Straight piping a car can make it louder and more aggressive on the road. Replacing the factory exhaust system with a straight pipe can cost you between $620 to $2,450 for parts and labor, on average. However, these are the costs for aluminized mild steel or 409 stainless steel pipes.
Straight pipes made of sought-after materials, such as 304 stainless steel, titanium, or Inconel can double or even triple the costs.
Additional repairs may also have an impact on the final price. To stay on the safe side, calculate around 15 to 20 percent more than the original quote when setting the budget aside.
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