Technology and Gadgets

A Basic Understanding- How An Exhaust System Works

Many auto enthusiasts talk about improving their exhaust system with a cat-back kit or upgraded muffler, but not all of the people talking about these improvements really know how they work. The reason? 

Exhaust systems are deceptively simple. While it seems like a car’s tailpipe is the automotive equivalent of a downspout on a rain gutter, there’s actually quite a bit more to understand. You can even shop Black OPS high-Performance exhaust system online.

An Engine Is A Pump

Think of a car engine as a pump that takes air and fuel and turns it into motion, exhaust gases, and heat. At low RPMs (i.e. when a vehicle is idling), the pump isn’t producing much in the way of heat or exhaust. 

At wide-open throttle (WOT), the engine is producing copious amounts of both…which brings us to a key concept in understanding exhaust systems. An exhaust system doesn’t just discharge the waste from the combustion process, it discharges the heated waste of the combustion process.

The other thing to understand about a vehicle exhaust system is that it gets rid of a very toxic mix of gases. While modern vehicles produce far less exhaust than ever before, given enough time they can still churn out a lethal amount of carbon monoxide. This means that your vehicle’s exhaust system must also transit the exhaust gases away from the passengers.

Heat Changes The Game

Without diving into the intricacies of thermodynamic theory, it’s safe to say that:

  1. Cold air is denser than hot air

  2. As hot air travels down your exhaust pipe, it cools off

As a result, designing the perfect exhaust system is surprisingly difficult. You need a system that will carry the toxic gasses away from the passengers, but you also want to ensure that the exhaust gases don’t cool too quickly and become dense, as they’ll be harder to “push” out of the pipe and reduce the flow of the exhaust system.