For any car enthusiast, one of the first modifications you can count on is an exhaust system. Regardless if it’s American muscle, JDM legend, Euro missile, whatever, a solid exhaust can wake up a car’s engine and give an entirely new sound profile. However, since some exhaust systems can cost a small fortune and might be on the quiet side for the hardcore among us, there’s another option: performance muffler deletes.
While putting “muffler” and “delete” in the same sentence might conjure bad visuals of Civics and hacksaws, performance deletes are something else entirely. True, for some cars, removing the mufflers delivers a far-too-loud, obnoxious exhaust note. But for others, particularly performance cars with refined, well developed engines, it’s an ideal combination of increased exhaust flow and sound. As the name suggests, most high-quality deletes are pretty straight forward. They typically pick up just before where the stock muffler attaches and provide a straight shot for the exhaust to exit.
Here’s the best part: it’s completely legal (depending on your local noise ordinances) and likely won’t void your warranty. While it changes depending on manufacturer, the general rule of thumb is anything past the catalytic converter is safe harbor for modifications. Since muffler deletes are way past that point, you’re in no danger of denied claims (definitely check with your dealer before proceeding to make sure it’s no issue with your vehicle).
So deletes make your ride substantially more aggressive sound-wise and provide a more free-flowing exhaust. All for much, much less than full exhaust systems. Any downside? It really comes down to you. We strongly recommend heading to YouTube to see what your car sounds like sans mufflers. For some (like the 2016 WRX STi example below), the change is very noticeable on-throttle, but like stock at idle (probably an ideal combination). For more extreme engines, it might make things a little too loud, in which case a more traditional catback will work better.