Exhaust Install How-To

I’ve decided to take a slightly different route today and give some advice about changing an exhaust system on a car. Normal service will be resumed a little later in the week as the Monaco Grand Prix is coming up this next weekend.

One of the most vital parts of your car or truck is the exhaust system. Not only is the exhaust the way that your engine breathes, but an aftermarket one can be used to upgrade your vehicle in both looks and sound. This sort of upgrade is one that can be done by almost anyone with a couple of simple tools and I will go through the steps needed to remove and install an exhaust system.


  1. The first step, obviously, is to purchase a new exhaust that is going to fit your ride. Whether you are looking to go from a single exit pipe to a dual exhaust system, or if you are just looking to go with larger piping and a bigger muffler and tip, you should seriously have a new exhaust system at the ready, otherwise there is no reason to remove the old one.
  2. With your new custom fit exhaust handy, you can now lift the car or truck up into the air. You can either put the vehicle on jack stands or if you are lucky enough to have access to a lift, put your vehicle all the way up into the air. With the vehicle off the ground, you can get under the vehicle and see what needs to be removed.
  3. Depending on what sort of exhaust system you purchased will determine where you need to start removing bolts. A full exhaust system will usually start at the headers while a simple axle-back will be just the muffler and tip. For this install, I will detail a cat-back exhaust system. In your package, you should have a new intermediate pipe and a muffler.
  4. The first thing to do is test fit the system. This is the easiest way to find out where you need to start the removal. A cat-back system will start from one of the catalytic converters on your vehicle and go back from there. Once you have found that out, it is recommended that you spray all the bolts with some sort of bolt loosener like WD-40 or PB Breaker. This is because the bolts under the car will probably be very tight or full of rust and other stuff depending on the age of the vehicle. Let this soak for a couple of minutes.
  5. After a couple of minutes the bolts should be able to be removed with whichever size of wrench or ratchet fits. A lot of pressure may need to be applied to actually break the bolt loose. When you do finally get the bolts loose, you can remove the entire system from the back of your vehicle. There will be exhaust hangers holding up the muffler so take care with those as you will need to reuse those mounting points.
  6. Once off, you can now go ahead and attach the new exhaust system to your vehicle. One thing you will find is that the new exhaust should be much easier to handle as many aftermarket exhaust systems are much lighter than the stock system. Working in reverse, you should be able to put the new system in place and have it fit perfectly.
  7. After securing all of the bolts and tightening them securely, you should now be able to fire up your engine and hear the deep aggressive sound that it emits.


This type of install should be done with the help of another person as the stock exhaust will weigh a lot. Also, make sure that the entire vehicle has been turned off for awhile to give the exhaust time to cool down. You should never perform this installation if your car or truck has just been running as you could get burns. Also, it is advised that you wear proper eye protection as you will be looking directly up at the bottom of the vehicle and there could be parts that flake off. If you have taken all of these precautions and followed the steps accordingly, your new exhaust system should be a breeze to install and your vehicle will take on a whole new look and sound.


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