Nissan Frontier Exhaust Upgrades: Types, Features, and Performance Gains Complete Guide

Are you looking for better performance out of your Nissan Frontier? If you’re seeking upgrades for your pickup, then this guide to exhaust upgrades is just what you need!

Learn the different types of exhausts and their features, as well as how they can boost power and torque.

The Nissan Frontier is a dependable and capable pickup truck that has enjoyed popularity with consumers for many years. With its sturdy frame and comfortable interior, it’s no surprise that the Frontier remains one of the most sought-after vehicles on the market today.

Nonetheless, those who own a Nissan Frontier and feel the need for more power may consider upgrading their vehicle’s exhaust system. Even stock exhausts can experience wear and tear over time, resulting in decreased performance. For those looking to kick their Frontier into high gear and improve their vehicle’s overall performance, aftermarket exhausts are essential.

Unfortunately for most car owners, only a few basics like how an aftermarket exhaust works or what kind of features it may have are widely known. Fortunately, this article aims to change that by providing readers with vital information about all types of Nissan Frontier Exhaust Upgrades. This includes types of mufflers and tips on how to choose them based on your needs, as well as exploring various features they come with such as catalytic converters and resonators. In conclusion, this complete guide will also cover potential performance gains you may get from these modifications along with answers to some frequently asked questions about aftermarket exhaust systems.

Features to Consider Before Upgrading

When considering upgrades to the Nissan Frontier’s exhaust system, there are a few features to consider before making a purchase. One of these features is the type of material used for the construction of the exhaust components. Most aggressive performance exhaust systems are made with stainless steel, which can help improve the longevity and performance of the system by protecting against rust and corrosion caused by exposure to extreme weather conditions and moisture. Additionally, stainless steel is engineered to provide superior durability while still delivering excellent exhaust flow, resulting in improved engine efficiency and power.

Other features include catalytic converter efficiency or aftermarket options such as deleting them entirely. Upgrading or changing out a catalytic converter can affect emissions levels as well as overall performance. Lastly, tuning capabilities should be taken into consideration when making an upgrade decision; some exhaust systems are designed to be tuned for maximum performance gains while others may require additional tuning down the road for maximum gains. Taking these features into consideration before investing in an upgrade helps ensure that you get what you want from your upgraded Nissan Frontier exhaust system.


The materials used to upgrade the exhaust system of a Nissan Frontier can have a significant impact on its performance and life expectancy. Generally, the most durable materials are stainless and aluminized steel, which offer excellent corrosion resistance and durability. Stainless steel offers better overall strength and corrosion resistance, but aluminized steel is less expensive and still provides good performance characteristics.

There are also various grades of each material—usually determined by their content of carbon or chromium—so it is important to research which grade is best for your purposes. Additionally, some systems may utilize ceramic catalyst components, fiberglass matting or perforated tubing to improve flow or reduce pressure in certain areas.

Mandrel Bending

Mandrel bending is a method of exhaust pipe fabrication that offers improved exhaust flow due to the increased internal diameter and smoother bends compared to the simple crush bending method. In essence, a solid steel rod is inserted inside the pipe as it is being bent in order to retain its strength and shape regardless of how many times it has been bent. This technique optimizes exhaust flow by preventing any sharp curves or kinks from being created which would otherwise impede airflow.

Mandrel-bent exhaust pipes typically feature more radius bends compared to crush-bent pipes, with both 360 degree bends (full-circle) as well as 180 degree bends (half circle). Radiused bends are advantageous because instead of an abrupt change in direction, air flows smoothly around the bend without making contact with the wall of the tube. This allows for a larger overall bore size while still offering tight radii which will not become choking points in an otherwise unrestricted exhaust system.

When selecting an upgraded Nissan Frontier exhaust system that features mandrel bends, it’s important to ensure that the exact type and number of bends you need will be provided for your specific application. Additionally, verify that all other pipe dimensions are appropriate for your vehicle’s engine configuration before beginning installation. When installed correctly, mandrel benders offer significant improvements in horsepower and torque at all RPMs without adding excessive backpressure which can adversely affect engine performance and fuel economy.

Diameter of the Pipe

The diameter of a pipe affects the overall performance of a vehicle’s exhaust system. The larger the diameter, the more air or pressure it will allow to pass through, resulting in increased horsepower and torque.

For Nissan Frontier exhaust upgrades, you can choose from several different diameters: 2.25 inches, 2.5 inches, 2.75 inches, and 3 inches are common sizes for this model. Depending on your desired performance outcomes or other factors such as engine size or existing components of your exhaust system, you may find that some sizes work better than others for your vehicle’s particular needs.

Consider consulting with an automotive mechanic or parts specialist to determine which size would be best suited to your vehicle’s needs.


Design is one of the most important decision making factors when choosing an exhaust system for your Nissan Frontier. There are two main design types to choose from: traditional and performance.

Traditional: Traditional exhaust systems resist much less back pressure than performance systems, which allows them to produce a deep, mellow sound that’s more pleasant to most drivers. It also carries with it a slightly lower cost compared to performance systems and tends to require less maintenance overall. That being said, traditional exhaust systems will produce slightly less power than performance systems, which can be especially noticeable in higher RPMs or when the engine is under stress.

Performance: Performance exhaust systems feature larger piping and increased diameters, which create a back pressure resistance that increases power output by allowing more oxygen into the combustion chamber as you rev. Wider piping also reduces turbulence in gasses that further contributes to a reduction in overall temperature created by combustion. Performance exhausts work best when used with a tuned intake system, although they should still create some noticeable gains even without it. While there are subtle differences in sound between traditional and performance style exhausts on Nissans of this type, the main benefit you’ll notice is an increase in power from your engine over time as well as improved fuel efficiency if installation is done properly by a certified mechanic.

 Performance Gains

The performance gains you can achieve with a Nissan Frontier exhaust upgrade can vary depending on the type of exhaust system you choose. Generally, however, you can expect to see an increase in power and torque. This is especially true if your vehicle has been modified or has been subject to regular wear and tear over time, as this can reduce its original performance potential.

As well as increased power, a good quality exhaust system will also help to improve fuel efficiency by enabling the engine to run more efficiently. By improving airflow out of the engine and reducing back pressure, an upgraded exhaust system allows you to get more from every drop of fuel.

Additionally, with features like catalytic converters and other emission-reducing components installed in modern vehicles, installing an aftermarket upgrade could have a positive effect on your vehicle’s emissions output.

Increased Horsepower

When it comes to exhaust system upgrades and performance gains, one of the most desirable outcomes is an increase in horsepower. By improving the flow of air through your Nissan Frontier’s exhaust system, more fuel is burned more efficiently, which effectively translates to increased horsepower.

To maximize your performance gains and ensure that your vehicle is running optimally, you’ll need to choose the right exhaust upgrade components for your particular model. This can include any number of components, such as turbochargers, cat-backs (catalytic converter-back) exhausts, mufflers and headers. Smaller vehicles typically require less drastic modifications than their larger counterparts, but the right selection will depend on your engine type and size.

Depending on the set-up of your particular model and engine configuration, a majority of Nissan Frontier owners have witnessed an average increase in horsepower from 8%-10% after completing an exhaust system upgrade with a corresponding reduction in weight. Turbocharged engines may reap even greater rewards with upwards of 15% increases in horsepower with stock parts or even more with aftermarket ones.

Many customers will also see lower exhaust temperatures as a result when upgrading their Nissan Frontiers which can result in improved fuel economy as well as improved sound quality when you take off or accelerate quickly.

Increased Torque

When installing an aftermarket exhaust on a Nissan Frontier, increasing torque is an important consideration. Torque is measured in pound-feet, and it is the amount of rotational force the vehicle can generate. If you increase your truck’s torque output with an upgraded exhaust, you’ll notice your truck accelerates smoother and more efficiently than it did before the upgrade.

Increased torque can also benefit off-road performance, making it easier to navigate difficult terrain or steep inclines. Typically, aftermarket exhausts are designed to optimize power at lower rpms where larger gains in torque are usually present. This provides your Nissan Frontier with improved throttle response and better acceleration times when you need immediate power delivery.


In order to maintain a high level of performance and keep your Nissan Frontier running at its best, regular maintenance is important. An optimal level of maintenance should include regularly checking the condition of your exhaust systems hardware, such as gaskets, hangers, bolts, and clamps. It is also important to ensure that the exhaust system you have installed is structurally sound, with no rusting or holes in the pumping elements.

Also be sure to keep an eye on any potential emissions problems as this can lead to trouble with your exhaust system over time. If you notice smoke coming out of the tailpipe or a louder than usual engine noise this may point to broken or faulty parts so it’s best to take it into a trained professional as soon as possible.

Finally, when it comes time for servicing your vehicle look for original parts from the manufacturer which will help you get the most out of your exhaust upgrades and keep your engine from experiencing additional strain.

Cleaning the Exhaust

Before you consider upgrading the exhaust on your Nissan Frontier, it’s important to ensure that the system is thoroughly clean. If your exhaust hasn’t been cleaned in some time, then it could be full of soot and other debris that will impair performance.

To clean the exhaust, unbolt it from the engine and remove it carefully. Take the exhaust away from your vehicle and use a high-pressure hose or brush to clear any caked-on residue away. Don’t forget to inspect each component for any damage that needs repair before reattaching everything to your vehicle. Cleaning an exhaust is a straightforward matter and with some simple tools, you can accomplish this task yourself.


Before upgrading the exhaust system on your Nissan Frontier, it is important to inspect the current system. Look for signs of rust and corrosion, pay special attention to welds between tubing, check if mounts are loose, and inspect and compare components to ensure they are in working order. If any of these problems exist, then it is usually best to replace the entire system instead of trying to make individual repairs.

Once all components have been inspected and verified for good condition, then the type of exhaust upgrade can be determined. Depending on the desired performance gains or sound level needs, one may choose from numerous aftermarket exhaust systems available from various automotive outlets and manufacturers.

Repair or replacement

When making a decision about exhaust upgrades for your Nissan Frontier, you should consider all of the costs associated with the project, including repair or replacement. Depending on the type of exhaust system you have installed, you may need to replace it completely or simply repair existing components. If your current system is not in good shape, replacing it will cost considerably more than repairing it.

If you choose to install a full replacement exhaust system, there are many options available. There are steel systems that are durable and long-lasting as well as aluminum systems that offer lighter weight and improved performance characteristics. In addition, there are numerous aftermarket parts available that can improve upon the factory part performance. Look for brands and models with good reviews to ensure that your upgrade will perform well in the long run.

Finally, when making an exhaust upgrade for your Nissan Frontier, consider both short-term and long-term maintenance requirements. Some systems may require complex installation procedures or frequent maintenance intervals that increase the overall cost of owning and operating your vehicle over time. Be sure to research any maintenance requirements before choosing a particular system or part so that you can make an informed decision about which option is best for you.


The Nissan Frontier is a great vehicle for enhancing performance with a range of exhaust upgrades. By exploring the available types of upgrades, familiarizing yourself with their features, and considering the potential performance gains they can provide, it is possible to make an informed decision about which exhaust upgrades work best for your particular driving preferences. An upgraded exhaust system can significantly improve acceleration and also reduce fuel consumption over time. Additionally, some will provide enhanced noise control.

Ultimately, choose an exhaust system that will make your driving experience more enjoyable and maximize your Nissan Frontier’s performance potential. With proper installation and care, you can ensure that your new system will last for many years to come.


What exhaust systems increase horsepower?

Aftermarket exhaust systems that are designed to increase airflow can increase horsepower.

Does upgrading exhaust improve performance?

Yes, upgrading exhaust can improve performance by increasing horsepower, torque, and improving sound.

What are the different types of aftermarket exhaust?

The different types of aftermarket exhaust include cat-back, axle-back, header-back, and turbo-back exhaust systems.

How much horsepower does changing exhaust increase?

The amount of horsepower increase from changing exhaust varies depending on the vehicle and the type of exhaust system installed.

What is the most advanced exhaust system?

The most advanced exhaust system is subjective and depends on the specific needs and preferences of the driver.

What type of exhaust system is best?

The best type of exhaust system depends on the specific needs and preferences of the driver, as well as the vehicle’s make and model.

What is the benefit of bigger exhaust?

A bigger exhaust can increase airflow, which can improve performance and increase horsepower.

Do exhausts increase BHP?

Yes, exhausts can increase BHP (brake horsepower) by improving airflow and reducing backpressure.

Does putting dual exhaust increase horsepower?

Putting dual exhaust can increase horsepower, but it depends on the specific vehicle and the type of exhaust system installed.

How do I choose a performance exhaust?

When choosing a performance exhaust, consider factors such as the vehicle’s make and model, the type of driving you do, and your budget. Research different exhaust systems and read reviews to find the best option for your needs.

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