Choosing a muffler for your vehicle is almost like picking a soundtrack for your driving adventures.

Do you want a low-pitched growl, a raspy exhaust tone, or just an all-out roar? The muffler style you choose–chambered, straight-through/glasspack, or turbo–will go a long way in determining the sound and personality of your car or truck. Whether you’ve got a classic muscle car, street machine, daily-driven vehicle, or race rocket, this video will start you down the right path to matching your muffler to your ride.

We have three styles of mufflers here. We have our chambered, our turbo, and our straight-through, and we are going to start with the chambered. This one is from Flowmaster, and you will notice on our cutaway here that it has these interior chambers and what these chambers do is allow the sound waves to bounce off one another as they enter through the muffler. They will actually come into the muffler and bounce back against each other off these chamber walls. This type of muffler doesn’t use packing material like other styles might, and it kind of fosters a free flow of the exhaust gases going through the mufflers. It doesn’t peel the exhaust gas off, and depending on the style or the manufacturer, there can be two chambers, three chambers, four chambers–it just depends on the set up. This will affect the overall performance and sound quality of the muffler itself.

Over here we have our turbo style muffler. This one is from DynoMax, and as you can see on our cutout, there are a series of perforated tubes and the exhaust gases are actually guided through the muffler in sort of an “S” shaped pattern through here. I’ve got the packing material pulled back so you can get a closer look at the tubes. These individual perforations here actually peel off the sound waves, and then those are canceled into this packing material which surrounds the tubes.

Finally, we have our straight-through muffler–also called a glasspack. This one is from Cherry Bomb. You will notice in our cutaway, it’s just a straight-through design–a straight pipe…a perforated pipe that is wrapped in a fiberglass packing. An added advantage to this type of muffler is that it is pretty compact, so it’s good for limited-space situations. Often times, street rodders like to use glasspack-style mufflers, but if you are really looking for a traditional-style muffler, you can get a straight-through design with a traditional casing that you would see on a regular muffler like our turbo or our chambered.

Now the number one question we get with mufflers is obviously: What does it sound like? And reall,y that depends on outside factors including engine, exhaust type, and other factors. But typically a chambered muffler is going to give you a raspier sound; whereas a turbo-style muffler, because of the sound deadening material, is going to give you a deeper exhaust tone. And of course on the end with the straight-through design, it’s not as much sound restriction. It’s just going to be louder in most situations.

Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.