Axle-Back Exhaust vs Cat-Back: Which is Best?

02/12/2024

Axle-Back Exhaust vs Cat-Back: Which is Best?

02/12/2024

When upgrading your vehicle’s factory stock exhaust to a performance exhaust system, there are a wide range of choices available. But one of the biggest questions is whether to choose an axle-back exhaust vs. cat back. Although both kinds of systems offer significant advantages over stock exhaust systems, they each have their own pros and cons.


A typical factory exhaust system has exhaust manifolds, catalytic converters, resonators, a crossover, (sometimes called a mid-pipe, H-pipe, or X-pipe), mufflers, tailpipes, and tips. An axle-back system is a simpler, more basic upgrade than a cat-back setup. With an axle-back kit, you replace only the exhaust components from the axle to the back of the vehicle. This typically includes the mufflers, tailpipes, and tips. Even though most of the stock exhaust system is retained with an axle-back system, you’ll nonetheless still usually see a performance increase with it. This is because axle-back systems typically increase the tubing size for the attachment point into the muffler, and these systems generally have a larger tailpipe or even a dual tailpipe. Axle-back systems are also tuned for maximum performance and optimum sound for each specific vehicle application.


And so, with relatively few parts that you have to concern yourself with, an axle-back exhaust system is a simple and cost-effective way to increase the performance of your vehicle and change its exhaust tone to a more pleasing performance note.


See the full line of Flowmaster exhaust systems now

The next step up from an axle-back exhaust system is a cat-back system. This type of exhaust system does typically cost a bit more than an axle-back system but offers greater bang for your buck; a cat-back system will give you maximum gains in horsepower and torque along with a richer, deeper sound compared to an axle-back system.


Cat-back exhaust systems get their name from the fact that they replace all the components from the catalytic converter to the back of the vehicle. These systems usually include a mid-pipe, mufflers, tail pipe, and tips. Since exhaust flow is often increased with an enhanced mid-pipe that's more effective than that of the stock system, a cat-back exhaust generally provides better performance than an axle-back kit. That said, cat-back systems cost a bit more than axle-back systems, and they can take a little more work to install.

Depending on the vehicle application, Flowmaster cat-back exhaust systems have larger tubing sizes than factory systems, and they include an X-pipe designed for increased torque over a broad RPM range. Flowmaster also offer systems in multiple muffler designs depending on the sound you're looking for, along with larger tail-pipe tubing, different X-pipe locations, and the option to finish things off with polished tips or black ceramic tips.


So whether you choose an axle-back or a cat-back exhaust system, you can be assured you’re getting the best quality, highest performance, and greatest ease of installation with Flowmaster exhaust kits – in most cases they can be installed right at home. Together, these features give you the ideal exhaust system to bring out more power and give you the sound you want for your vehicle.


See the full line of Flowmaster exhaust systems now

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