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Have you ever been driving behind another vehicle and noticed two exhaust pipes? In addition, have you ever wondered why a car has two when others have one? Some vehicles come with more than one exhaust pipe, but do they serve a purpose? Here’s everything you need to know about why some cars have two exhaust pipes, or a dual exhaust system.

2 exhaust pipes vs. 1 exhaust pipe

The new Honda Civic Type R is a hot hatch that you could potentially daily drive.
2023 Honda Civic Type R | Honda

According to Meineke, the main reason for having two exhaust pipes is to remove excess air out of the cylinders faster. That way, the following exchange can begin more quickly. Exhaust being forced out is limited to the size of the vehicle’s camshaft and timing. As a result, getting more out of two pipes could be beneficial instead of one more quickly. The more that comes out, the more can get sucked back in by the engine, resulting in additional horsepower.

Next, a non-turbocharged or four-cylinder engine usually won’t have a dual exhaust system. This is because it isn’t likely to make a huge difference. However, some vehicles might still have a second pipe just for looks because it’s visually more “sporty” than a single exhaust. However, a turbocharged four-cylinder could benefit from a second pipe because the turbo forces a lot of air and fuel into the engine quickly. The same goes for a V6 or larger engine, which will need to push used air out fast to suck more up fast enough to provide plenty of horsepower.

Are 2 exhaust pipes for looks?

2023 Hyundai Palisade
2023 Hyundai Palisade rear | Hyundai

It isn’t making a difference if your vehicle has a single exhaust with two tips exiting the rear. In this case, it is just for looks. Many drivers and even automakers think the car looks more sporty or faster with the visual enhancement in the rear. Alternatively, a real dual exhaust system benefits significantly from the increased bad air output. Meineke describes it as allowing a more powerful vehicle to breathe better, resulting in better horsepower and overall performance.

For some vehicles without a factory dual exhaust system, it could be worth the cash to increase power. However, consider that the intake manifolds, piping, converters, and mufflers could also use upgrading. It isn’t as easy as swapping one or two parts out, though it rarely is.

Some cars 2 exhaust pipes improve efficiency

Although not usually the primary reason, some vehicles see improved fuel efficiency with a second exhaust pipe. Savings on fuel costs is always a welcomed addition to a car, especially in 2022 with record high prices.

“With a larger, more efficient exhaust system, you can increase the amount of air and fuel sucked into the engine, however, doing this may negate the savings you realize from the dual exhaust,” Meineke says.

In conclusion, the dual exhaust pipes you see on other vehicles are usually for more than just looks. However, some people like the sportiness it adds to a vehicle’s rear. Most of the time, dual exhausts will be on vehicles with more horsepower. This is because those models need to get more air out so that the engine can suck more in very quickly. As a result, the vehicle can perform its best and output plenty of horsepower. This is especially true for turbocharged, V6, or larger engines.


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