How Do Exhaust Tips Work?

A few people have asked us how exhaust tips work and what they do, and while the answer to this question is really simple – exhaust tips usually have no impact on an exhaust system and are mostly for show – the question itself suggests that a basic run-down of an exhaust system could be helpful.

So, if you’re wondering about exhaust tips, it might be a good idea to read our article that explains how exhaust systems work .

Next, let’s talk about some exhaust tip design facts:

  1. Most of the time, an exhaust tip has no impact on your engine’s performance
  2. Some rear-engine vehicles have very short exhaust systems, and on these vehicles an over-sized exhaust tip could impact performance…but not by much
  3. Turn-down exhaust tips (see image below) are intended to point sound and hot exhaust gas downwards…and these tips may have an impact on performance (but the impact is slight).

Turn-down exhaust tips are often used by truck owners to keep hot exhaust away from tow-behind trailers

Turn-down exhaust tips can be used to quiet a noisy exhaust and/or deflect exhaust gas away from the vehicle. Truck owners, for example, will use a turn-down exhaust tip to keep hot exhaust gases from damaging whatever they’re towing behind.

How To Choose an Exhaust Tip

Exhaust tips should be chosen based on material and design…here’s a list of different materials and their benefits, as well as a list of the most common design options.

  • Do you need to protect your trailer from hot exhaust gases?

    If so, a turn-down exhaust tip might be a solution. However, they’re not 100% effective. It might be better to ‘move’ your exhaust system exits to the side of your truck.

  • Do you need to protect your exhaust tip finish from being tarnished? Metal exhaust tips (chrome, stainless steel, and titanium) can change color when exposed to the high temperature exhaust gas. Some tips have spacing between the “show” finish and the actual pipe exit, which helps prevent tarnishing.

What material do you want?

  • Chrome exhaust tips are the best option if you’re looking for shine. While it’s true that you can polish a 304 stainless steel tip, they don’t shine quite as brightly and often develop pitting over time.
  • Both stainless steel and chrome exhaust tips are weather and rust resistant.
  • Titanium exhaust tips are expensive, but they’re incredibly light weight and they often develop a very pleasing blue tarnish over time.
  • Carbon fiber exhaust tips are also very expensive, but they’re never going to tarnish.

Keep in mind that really expensive exhaust tips (like titanium or carbon fiber) are more likely to be stolen than a more ‘normal’ stainless or chrome exhaust tip.

Exhaust Tip Installation

Some exhaust tips must be welded onto your vehicle, but many use a simple pipe-clamp or screw-tight attachment system. The pipe clamp or screw tight install can be completed by anyone with a screwdriver or simple socket set, which makes these very easy to install.

If your exhaust tips require welding, your local muffler shop will be able to attach them for a nominal fee.


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