When you’re constantly towing a trailer with a heavy load, you might find yourself starting to think about some tweaks that will increase your vehicle’s power. Here’s a rundown of the pros and cons of exhaust modifications.
Vehicle modifications can be a good thing
Quite apart from the sound and looks, switching your vehicle’s existing exhaust for a more powerful one can increase horsepower, which will make a big difference when you’re towing heavy loads.
- If the current exhaust is narrow, kinked or tapered, it can restrict the flow of exhaust gases and even cause back pressure, making the engine slower on the uptake. By removing those restrictions, you allow the air to flow more freely and efficiently.
- Upgrading your vehicle with a performance exhaust might mean you keep the car instead of having to trade up for a bigger one.
- Having a more efficient exhaust system can greatly increase fuel economy.
- Increased power when towing a caravan or boat gives you the confidence to more easily pass other vehicles safely, without having to take a risk.
A note of caution
Before you race out and spend up on a performance exhaust system, there are a few things to consider.
- Simply replacing your existing narrow exhaust with a wider pipe can work against you, as it may decrease the velocity at which the gases escape. There’s a fine line between too little and too much.
- Noise output must be kept in mind when modifying the engine or exhaust system.
- If you’re not sure whether your modifications will be compliant, check with the supplier and the appropriate government agencies.
- Not all performance devices are legal in every state, so check your local laws first to be sure.
- If your vehicle is subject to emissions inspection and testing, performance devices can cause it to fail the test. Again, check local laws.
- Finally, it’s worth making a phone call to your insurance company to ensure you don’t void coverage if you modify the vehicle.
Modifications to exhaust systems are permitted in most states as long as they comply with Australian design rules and the state’s standards for registration.
The following requirements apply in most circumstances:
- Vehicles may be fitted with extractors provided that any emission-control devices originally fitted to the manufacturer’s exhaust system, including catalytic converters, are re-connected and operational.
- Extractors must not foul any part of the steering, suspension, braking or fuel systems.
- Catalytic converters and exhaust sensors that have been replaced are to be positioned in the same exhaust flow location as in the original system.
- The exhaust outlet must be as close as possible to the outer edge of the vehicle, but not outside or underneath the vehicle.
- The vehicle must have 100mm ground clearance.
If you’re looking for more power and economy when towing your trailer, exhaust modifications might be just what you need, but to avoid compliance issues, make sure your new performance exhaust doesn’t also blow the noise budget.
If your vehicle’s losing power because it’s sagging under the weight of the trailer, try installing a weight distribution hitch.