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Everything You Need to Know About Exhaust

August 5, 2021

If you hear talk of people wanting to upgrade their exhaust systems on their trucks, you might catch yourself wondering why they’re choosing to do that. Maybe you find yourself wondering if that’s a performance mod you want to make to your build too. We want to make sure you have all the information you need before deciding. So, we’re going to jump into everything you need to know about exhausts including what they do, why people upgrade, the best exhaust brands, and other mods to make when adding an aftermarket exhaust. 




What Does an Exhaust Do?

First, we want to explain what an exhaust actually does for your truck. An exhaust system includes the exhaust manifold, oxygen sensors, a catalytic converter, resonator, exhaust pipes, muffler, and tailpipe. When working together, these components complete four, important functions:

  • Control noise 

  • Divert harmful hydrocarbons away from truck passengers

  • Improve engine performance

  • Improve fuel consumption


Your exhaust emissions system is the only way to keep yourself safe from toxic emissions like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and nitrogen monoxide. Those gases are collected with the exhaust manifold, which serves as a funnel, diverting the gas through pipes to a catalytic converter. The catalytic converter changes the harmful compounds in the gases into “safe” gas. 

arkon off-road wheels

From there, it passes through the muffler, which is used to “muffle” the loud sounds created by the pistons and valves of the engine. The resonator will manipulate the sound, lessening it, but also changing the frequency as well. Finally, the exhaust fumes leave through the tailpipe, safely and at a respectable noise level.


An efficient exhaust system will allow gases to leave your truck quicker, letting your engine take in oxygen and generate power faster. So, you’ll experience more power and better performance with a good exhaust system. Oxygen sensors measure how much oxygen is present in the exhaust. So, if you see your engine is taking in more oxygen, you’ll notice better fuel economy too. 

Why Do People Upgrade Their Exhaust?

So, the question is, if your truck already has a perfectly capable exhaust system that’s doing what it needs to, why make the change? Well, most truck manufacturers need to install the most inexpensive exhaust systems in trucks initially, due to the fact they’re producing mass amounts of trucks. They need to be efficient in time and cost.


aftermarket exhaust system

Performance aside, new exhaust systems have gained popularity due to the unique, aggressive sound options that you can tailor to match your truck’s personality. Besides just adding intensity in the sounds, it also enhances the visual appeal of your build with a big tailpipe. 


aftermarket exhaust system

What are the Best Exhaust Brands?

Borla has been manufacturing top-tier exhaust systems since 1978. Borla is owned by Alex and Alyse Borla, who have put their heart and soul into their popular, American-made products. Their elite status in the aftermarket world has been proved through numerous “Best New Product” industry awards. Also, to surpass customer expectations, Borla dedicates resources toward a state-of-the-art testing center for all of its products.

borla exhausts

Borla prides itself on being better than the other guys. This is how they do it. Borla uses high-quality stainless steel that prevents hardening from heat, proving strength and durability. They provide amazing designs that are focused on flow, sound, and fit while offering the option to find what suits your taste.  They go through substantial shake simulations, heat trials, and leak tests to ensure their products are the best they can be. Borla has made a name for itself by being the choice of factory-installed aftermarket exhaust systems for top vehicle makers like GM, Ford, and Toyota.


borla exhausts

The second exhaust brand we want to mention in our top three is Banks Power. They’ve been in business for over 60 years, and are owned by Gale Banks, who began his engineering career at age 14 when he did an engine teardown of his mother’s ‘31 Ford Model A. 

bank power exhausts

Banks Powers exhaust systems address a critical importance when it comes to exhaust system features: tailpipe exit temperatures. Their designs are made to lower dangerous temperatures better than stock and other aftermarket exhaust brands. On top of expert engineering, Banks Power doesn’t cut corners on other features including rich sounds, reduction in backpressure, perfect fitment, and enhanced performance. 


banks power exhaust

Last but not least, we want to feature aFe Power as the third exhaust brand on our list of favorites. Advanced FLOW Engineering (aFe) Power is a designer and manufacturer of automotive performance upgrade systems and components. Since their founding in 1999, they’ve developed a variety of product lines at their headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Corona, California.

afe exhausts

aFe Power designs, builds, and tests its products in the USA, allowing them to provide a product line that includes over 2,500 applications that are designed to deliver the highest quality possible at an affordable price. Like many other companies, they have every exhaust system designed with the mandrel bend to guarantee a smooth, unrestricted airflow. They design systems for diesel trucks, gas trucks, and jeeps, so you’ll be sure to find an application for your vehicle. Plus, they’ve got an endless amount of exhaust tip options. 


afe power exhausts

Other brands we want to mention that produce high-quality exhaust systems include:

aftermarket exhaust system

What Other Mods Should I Make to My Truck?

So, the reality of performance mods is that there is no all-in-one, quick-fix mod that will unlock your engine’s full potential. It’s more like a puzzle that you have to complete before you can reap the full benefits. With that being said, if improving performance is important to you, an exhaust system isn’t the complete solution.


s&b cold air intake

Pairing that new exhaust system with a cold air intake will put you on the right track to what you’re trying to achieve. A cold air intake is designed to allow your engine to take in as much cold air as possible, which in turn brings in the most amount of oxygen possible to flow through your engine. That’s when you’ll see an increase in power. Pairing these two performance mods will maximize the efficiency of your engine systems. 


s&b cold air intake

Don’t forget about a new intake filter. An intake filter is important to your truck’s intake system because it allows the engine to breathe after filtering dirt and particles. The filter prevents them from entering the intake system, which could cause harm to your engine. Besides blocking debris, the upgraded filter will allow more air to enter the engine, resulting in increased horsepower. 

aFe cold air intake

Final Thoughts

Now, when you hear your buddies talking about upgrading their exhausts, you’ll know why they’re considering it. Hey, you might even be able to give them a good recommendation for best brands to look at. In the end, your exhaust system plays a pretty important role in your truck’s functionality, so it’s almost a necessity to upgrade, right? Come on, you know you want eyes on you when you’re ripping out of a parking lot…

aftermarket exhaust system



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