5 Proven Methods to Achieve the Perfect Subaru Exhaust Sound

Subaru cars are known for their performance, reliability, and unique sound. However, many Subaru enthusiasts seek more out of their exhaust system to achieve their desired exhaust sound. In this article, we will explore various exhaust modifications and techniques to enhance the sound of your Subaru.

Understanding Subaru Exhaust Systems

Before diving into the different modifications to enhance the Subaru exhaust sound, it’s essential to understand the different parts of an exhaust system. The exhaust system comprises the headers, the catalytic converter, the resonator, the muffler, and the exhaust tips.

Each part of the exhaust system has a specific function. Headers and catalytic converters are responsible for reducing emissions, while the resonator and muffler are responsible for reducing exhaust noise. Lastly, the exhaust tips are for aesthetic purposes and determine the sound’s direction.

Methods to Improve Subaru Exhaust Sound

  1. Muffler Swap: One of the easiest and most common modifications people make to improve their Subaru’s exhaust sound is swapping out the muffler. The muffler is responsible for muffling the sound as the exhaust gases pass through it. Replacing the OEM muffler with an aftermarket muffler can help to achieve a more aggressive exhaust note. Some popular mufflers for Subarus include the Magnaflow and Borla.

  2. Resonator Delete: A resonator is another component of the exhaust system with a specific function – to cancel out specific frequencies of the exhaust sound. A resonator delete involves removing the resonator and replacing it with a straight pipe. This modification allows the exhaust gases to flow freely, resulting in a louder exhaust sound.

  3. Cat-Back Exhaust System: A cat-back exhaust system is a common, more advanced modification that replaces the OEM exhaust system from the catalytic converter to the back of the car. Cat-back systems generally include an aftermarket muffler, resonator, and larger diameter pipes. This modification improves the overall exhaust flow and, therefore, the overall performance of the car while producing a much louder and aggressive exhaust note.

  4. Performance Upgrades: Certain performance upgrades can affect the sound of the exhaust differently. Upgrading the intake or installing a catless downpipe can result in a much more aggressive exhaust sound. However, these modifications might not be legal in your state, and they can trigger CEL (Check Engine Light).

  5. Exhaust Tip Upgrades: The exhaust tips solely affect the appearance of the car and the direction of the sound. Upgrading to a larger or different design exhaust tip can make the exhaust sound more pronounced and give your Subaru a more aggressive appearance.

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Disadvantages of Exhaust Modifications

While these modifications might enhance the Subaru’s exhaust sound, they could negatively affect the overall performance of the car if not installed correctly. For instance, removing the resonator or muffler might cause excessive noise pollution, trigger CEL, and compromise your ride’s performance. Therefore, it’s always recommended to seek professional help when making these modifications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are exhaust modifications legal?

A: It’s always essential to check the laws in your state before making any exhaust modifications. Certain modifications, such as a catless downpipe, might not be legal in all states.

Q: Will these modifications affect my car’s warranty?

A: Yes, these modifications can void your car’s warranty. Always consult with a professional or research the specific product’s warranty regulations before making these modifications.

Q: How much do these modifications cost?

A: The cost of these modifications varies depending on several factors such as the aftermarket brands used, the vehicle model, and the shop’s price rates. A muffler swap can cost anywhere between $300 to $700, whereas a cat-back exhaust system might cost $1,000+.


In conclusion, modifying your Subaru’s exhaust can bring out the car’s true performance and enhance your driving experience. Upgrading your exhaust system with a muffler swap, resonator delete, or installing a cat-back exhaust system can make a significant difference in the exhaust sound and the overall performance. However, every modification comes with risks and must be done correctly by a professional.

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Peter Banks

With years of experience as a professional mechanic and Subaru specialist, Peter is one of the most respected members of our team. He's written several articles on Subaru maintenance and repair, and his advice and tips are always practical and helpful. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys cooking and trying out new recipes.

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