Did you know that on average, a factory exhaust system lasts about 5-7 years? Even so, plenty of factory exhaust systems fail sooner than that. You can’t always count on a factory exhaust system to serve your car well for a long time. Why is that? We can think of 4 reasons:

1. Rust


Image Credit: cababah

The exhaust system is no stranger to moisture. If you live in an area where it rains or snows a lot, the exhaust system often gets wet. When there's salt on the road, the salt will contaminate the exhaust system, too. Even dirt creates moisture when it gets on the exhaust system.

The heating and cooling of the exhaust also causes condensation to form inside the exhaust system. But, the exhaust system's design makes it hard for moisture to escape. That leads to corrosion. Most materials used in factory exhaust systems are prone to rust. The most common materials used in OE exhaust systems include:

  • Mild steel
  • Aluminized steel
  • T409 stainless steel
  • T304 stainless steel

Of these materials, only T304 won't rust. T304 is also the most expensive material on this list. When most OE's advertise a stainless steel exhaust, they're talking about T409. T409 is less expensive than T304, and it does last longer than steel or aluminized steel. But T409 will rust over time. If you want to avoid rust, install a stainless steel aftermarket exhaust system made with T304 or better stainless steel.

2. Holes And Leaks

Exhaust rust

Image Credit: SOG RA

Rust and rough road conditions lead to holes and leaks in the exhaust system. If you drive on rough roads on a regular basis, your factory exhaust system is more likely to fail. The following things could happen:

  • The exhaust system takes a hit from a large bump, rock, or another obstacle on the road, creating a crack or hole.
  • The bumpy ride makes the exhaust system shake a lot. This can cause the weak points like joints to crack and leak.

When your exhaust system has a hole or leak, it's pretty difficult to repair it. Often times, you would need to replace the broken part or the whole system. If you're going to spend money replacing the part or system, why not splurge a little on a durable system or part that:

  • Has no weak points
  • Is thick and sturdy enough to withstand heavy abuse

3. Clogged Muffler


Debris found in a clogged exhaust system. Image Credit: hanyh2

There are a few reasons why factory mufflers rarely last more than 5 years:

  • When you drive on bumpy roads, internal baffles can come loose and then clog the muffler.
  • OE mufflers are made from the thinnest metal possible, so they are easy to crush. A crushed muffler will restrict airflow and limit the power your engine can make.
  • The baffles can rust over time from condensation. When that happens, the rust will clog up the muffler.

Many aftermarket mufflers give your car a throatier sound. They also last longer than factory mufflers because:

  • The internal parts are more secure.
  • Some aftermarket mufflers (like AWE Tuning mufflers) are made of thicker stainless steel, which is difficult to bend or crush.
  • The baffles in some aftermarket mufflers are made of stainless steel, which means they won't be so quick to rust.

4. Weak Hangers


Image Credit: Nathaluc

Hangers hold the exhaust system in place. They keep the pipes from moving around when you hit a bump. For some reason, a lot of automakers install cheap hangers that may break and fall off over time. When that happens, your exhaust pipes will move around and may get:

  • Dented
  • Cracked
  • Broken off

You Won’t Have These Problems With The Right Aftermarket Exhaust System

Aftermarket exhaust systems are popular for a reason. A lot of them solve the problems factory exhaust systems have. You don't have to look very far for a high quality aftermarket exhaust system. We carry AWE Tuning exhaust systems.

We're very particular about the brands we carry. We want to be the go-to source for premium performance parts. So we thoroughly vet every brand before deciding to add their products to our inventory. AWE Tuning exhaust systems made the cut because:

  • AWE Tuning uses T-304 and T-321 stainless steel alloys to build their exhaust systems and components. T-304 and T-321 stainless steel alloys are the best you can use because:
    • They will not rust
    • They are very durable
  • AWE Tuning's tubes are one piece and mandrel bent. That means fewer weak points like joints.
  • All AWE Tuning exhaust systems and components come with a lifetime exhaust warranty.

In a nutshell, you can't go wrong with an AWE Tuning exhaust system. Get yours today!