Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

What Metal Is the Exhaust System Made From?

exhaust system metal

Exhaust systems must be made from metal to provide the required durability and resistance to heating, cooling and exposure to the elements. However, there are many different types of metals (and grades of individual metals). There are also differences between stock exhaust systems and aftermarket systems.

Stock exhaust

If you’re still using the stock exhaust system that came on your car, chances are good that it’s made from 400-series steel (generally 409, but other grades are used as well). This is a type of carbon steel that offers good all around performance. It’s relatively light, relatively durable, and relatively long-lived. Note that use of “relatively.” Like all other stock vehicle components, exhaust systems are designed with compromises in an attempt to meet as many possible needs as possible.

Aftermarket exhaust

If you’ve had to replace your stock exhaust due to damage or wear, you may have an aftermarket system in place now. It may use 400-series steel, or it may use something else depending on the type of system in question.

  • Aluminized steel: Aluminized steel is an attempt to make the metal more corrosion resistant. The aluminized coating oxidizes to protect the underlying metal (like galvanized metal). However, any abrasion that removes this coating compromises the underlying steel and can allow rust to set in.

  • Stainless steel: Several grades of stainless steel are used on aftermarket exhaust systems, particularly the muffler and tips. Stainless steel offers some protection against weathering and damage, but it will also eventually rust.

  • Cast iron: Cast iron is used mostly in stock exhaust systems, and is used to manufacture the exhaust manifold that connects the engine to the piping. Cast iron is very strong, but very heavy. It will also eventually rust and can become brittle over time.

  • Other metals: There are many other metals used in automotive exhaust systems, but they’re generally used as alloy materials with steer or iron in order to promote better corrosion resistance. These include chromium, nickel, manganese, copper and titanium.

A wide range of metals can be used in your exhaust, depending on the type of system you have. However, they are all subject to damage and wear, and will need regular inspections and eventual replacement.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

How to Renew Your Car Registration in Oklahoma(DELETED)
Having your car registered with the Oklahoma Tax Commission is an important part of driving legally in this state. You will need to do this within 30 days of moving to Oklahoma...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
P0608 OBD-II Trouble Code: Control Module VSS Output "A" Malfunction
P0608 means there is an malfunction in the vehicle speed sensor A control module often due too faulty speed sensor or shorted electrical wiring.

Related questions

Q: Rubbing noise from driver's front wheel while turning right

Look at the inner fender or track arm for signs of the tire rubbing on the parts. Your tires may be a little too wide for your vehicle. The fix may be to swap for a narrower tire. Also be...

Q: I have an exhaust leak

The exhaust manifolds are known to warp on these engines, causing an exhaust leak. This is typically most noticeable when the engine is cold, before the metal heats up and expands. The only solution is to replace the manifold(s). However,...

Q: Keep blowing a tail light fuse.

Assuming that no wiring was damaged during the install of the aftermarket lights, (i.e., cut insulation causing a short to ground), if the fuse started blowing right after the install that means the LED assembly is drawing more current than...