A Guide to Exhaust Drone and How to Fix It
Exhaust Drone — You Know It When You Hear It
There's probably nothing more satisfying to a car or truck enthusiast than the sweet, deep rumble of a perfectly tuned exhaust. The combination of sound and sensation as you accelerate through the gears cannot be truly explained without experiencing it firsthand. Conversely, the annoyance created by exhaust drone while cruising at highway speeds is just as difficult to put into words. But despite the difficulty in defining it, exhaust drone is all too real.
As with any annoying sound — a leaky faucet, a crying baby, Nickelback — exhaust drone grates on your very soul. It's possible that the casual passenger may not notice or be especially tweaked by a droning exhaust note. But, for a discerning driver, whose car or truck is more than simply a means of getting from here to there, the details matter. And, a car droning down the street is a trait a true auto enthusiast simply cannot abide.
What Is Exhaust Drone?
Exhaust drone is a tone and vibration created by the vehicle's exhaust and engine at a specific RPM. If you've spent much time with modified exhaust systems, you likely know this droning sound. The tone of exhaust drone, as opposed to the organic rumble from a well-tuned stock exhaust, has an almost unnatural resonance that sounds oddly (and annoyingly) out of place, almost like a singer who is slightly out of key. Once you hear exhaust drone, you won't be able to ignore it, and it will drive you insane.
What Causes Exhaust Drone?
Before we get into fixing it, we need to understand exactly what causes exhaust drone. The concept is simple enough to understand but not as easy to pin down, as each individual case can be quite different. A pressure wave creates the drone when the engine's sound matches the exhaust note. This wave leads to vibration throughout the vehicle that, in turn, creates the exhaust drone we despise. This vibration affects more than just the exhaust system itself. Interior components, cargo or even your spare tire in the trunk can contribute to the car droning.
Why You Won't Hear Exhaust Drone in a Stock Vehicle
You'll never need to know how to fix exhaust drone on a car you drive brand new off the showroom floor. Why? Because a team of highly educated engineering nerds spent an insane amount of time making sure that brand new car or truck will be in perfect tune with its exhaust system. The cost of never having to worry about dealing with exhaust drone is that you'll have to live forever with the stock exhaust system, and who the hell wants to do that? Better to learn how to rid your car of exhaust drone so you can enjoy the extra gains and improved sound of a quality aftermarket exhaust system.Shop 2021 Mustang GT exhaust!
How To Eliminate Exhaust Drone
So you know what it is. You know how annoying it can be. It's time to get rid of it. Let's figure out how to fix exhaust drone properly.
Adding insulation inside your car can help reduce the vibration and make drone less noticeable. It won't do anything to change the frequencies of the engine or exhaust, so this is more of an opportunity to lessen the effect of the drone rather than eliminate it entirely. Solutions include:
- Heavy carpet floor mats
- Engine compartment insulation
- Sound-blocking mats throughout the vehicle's interior
Mufflers have a massive effect on the sound and tone of your exhaust. If you want to know how to eliminate exhaust drone, the muffler is a great starting point. The size of the muffler and its number of chambers will significantly shape the exhaust note of your vehicle and reduce drone. Of course, the purpose of a muffler is to quiet the exhaust system, so if you're into a loud, rumbling vibe, your quest to kill the exhaust drone could also dampen the sound you enjoy.
A good quality aftermarket muffler like the Borla Xr1 Multicore is designed specifically for your vehicle to provide the roaring tone you crave without the mind-numbing exhaust drone.
Use Exhaust Tips
Adding resonator exhaust tips to your muffler is another way to battle exhaust drone. The change can be subtle, but sometimes even the smallest thing can alter the exhaust frequency enough to eliminate the annoying exhaust drone.
Modify the Current Exhaust
As we said before, the frequency of the exhaust note is what causes exhaust drone. Any change to the exhaust itself has the capability to alter that frequency. Lengthening the pipes or adding a J-pipe can make a definite difference in how your exhaust sounds. You can also change the diameter of your exhaust pipes or tips, but an exhaust that is too big or too small can affect your vehicle's performance. Be aware that changes meant to reduce exhaust drone can also affect other aspects of your driving experience.
Replace the Whole Exhaust System
So, here we go. Not happy with how your current exhaust sounds? Tear that mother out of there and replace it with one that will do what you want it to do. This is, of course, the most expensive option, but it also has the potential to be the most rewarding. The right exhaust system will not only let you wave goodbye to horrendous exhaust drone, but will add performance gains as well. And don't forget about that ever-pleasing growl we all love so much! Shop for 2020 Mustang GT exhaust systems, as well as those for whatever car or truck you drive.