Often, people believe that a downpipe and a header function the same way. In reality, these two components are very different in their nature and how they affect your vehicle.
Headers and downpipes differ primarily in their function, sound production, maintenance, and, last but not least, performance. You should also keep in mind that a header is usually more expensive.
In the article, I explore the differences between headers and downpipes thoroughly. I will also suggest which exhaust system is better at the end of the article. Let’s get started!
Comparison Table of Downpipe Vs Header
|Performance||Slight boost in performance||Massive boost in performance|
|Sound||Loud sound production||Quiet operation, no noticeable boost in sound|
|Vibration||Slight increase in vibration||Does not produce any vibration|
|Installation Process||Easy to install||Has a complicated installation method|
|Cost||A budget-friendly option costing less than $200||The cost can reach over $600|
Every Difference Between Headers and Downpipes
Your car can have two types of exhaust systems: a downpipe or a header. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
A downpipe is the more common type of exhaust system. It is less expensive to install and maintain and provides better engine performance due to its design.
However, a header is quieter and produces less vibration than a downpipe. It can be quite hard to install and is more expensive.
When it comes to the engine, one of the most common debates is between header and downpipe. So, what’s the difference? Let’s take a closer look at them.
Read Also: Difference Between Up-Pipe Vs Down-Pipe
Performance: Downpipe Vs. Header
Many believe adding a downpipe will increase performance, but this is not always true. If your car is already equipped with a quality aftermarket exhaust system, adding a downpipe may not provide noticeable gains in power.
In fact, it could even slightly decrease power if it’s not properly tuned for your specific setup.
On the other hand, if you have a stock exhaust system or an older aftermarket system, then installing a downpipe can definitely help increase performance. In that case, a high-quality aftermarket downpipe is worth considering.
Adding headers to your vehicle is one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase its power. In order to understand why headers boost performance, you must know what they do.
The header helps the engine push exhaust gasses from the cylinders more efficiently. The less gas on the cylinder, the better your car will perform.
In most cases, headers will enhance your vehicle’s performance, as opposed to downpipes, which are quite unpredictable.
Sound: Downpipe Vs. Header
If you’re looking to change the sound of your car, one of the best places to start is with the downpipe.
The downpipe is responsible for channelling exhaust gasses from the engine to the muffler and tailpipe. It’s a key component of the exhaust system, and as such, it can greatly impact sound.
A few factors will affect the sound of your car when you install a new downpipe. First, the material of the pipe itself will make a difference. A stainless steel pipe will generally be louder than one made from another material.
Second, the size of the pipe will also affect the sound. A larger pipe will allow more gasses to flow, resulting in a louder noise.
You probably should not consider headers if increasing your vehicle’s sound is your top priority. There will be a slight change in the tone of the vehicle’s sound.
However, headers don’t produce loud growling noises that motorheads desire.
Vibration: Downpipe Vs. Header
Along with the boost in sound, downpipes sometimes increase the vibration too. While some people prefer it, many won’t be amused by the vibration since it makes your driving experience uncomfortable.
One of the best things about headers is that they do not increase vibrations at all. While there will be a very slight change in sound, you will not notice any unpleasant vibrations.
Installation and Maintenance: Downpipe Vs. Header
Among the various pipe upgrades, downpipe is perhaps the easiest to install. It is a simple bolt-on component that replaces your stock pipe.
Whether you have installed downpipes before or not, the task will not be challenging. However, be sure that the pipe you are installing fits the model of your car.
Maintaining the downpipe is no rocket science. You treat it the same way you did with the stock one.
Installing a header on your car is one of the most tricky tasks you can undertake. Unless you are familiar with mechanical work, setting up a header will be difficult and require a lot of time.
Chances are you will still fail to install the exhaust system. If this is the case, your only option is to take your car to a mechanic.
In addition to requiring maintenance on a daily basis, headers can also be expensive to maintain.
Price: Downpipe Vs. Header
With a reasonable price, Downpipe once again catches the eye. A high-quality downpipe shouldn’t cost you more than $200, and that includes installation. Pretty cheap, isn’t it?
Compared to downpipes, headers may seem quite exorbitant. It is not uncommon for performance headers to cost over $600 for a full installation.
Read Also: J-pipe Vs. Downpipe
Are Headers and Downpipes the Same Thing?
No, they are not the same. A header belongs to the exhaust manifold category. It collects exhaust gasses from multiple cylinders in an engine and funnels them into a single pipe.
On the other hand, A downpipe is simply the pipe that carries exhaust gasses from the header to the rest of the exhaust system.
Headers tend to provide better airflow and, thus, more power, while downpipes are usually cheaper and easier to install.
All of this demonstrates the distinct differences between the two components.
Read Also Test Pipe Vs. Downpipe
What Is Better Downpipes or Headers?
When it comes to deciding between a downpipe and header for your vehicle, it really depends on what you are looking for.
If you wish to achieve increased performance, then a HEADER is the way to go. They will allow exhaust gasses to flow more freely, which can lead to an increase in power.
On the other hand, if you are not willing to spend a lot of money and simply want a louder car, you may opt for a DOWNPIPE.
To Sum Up
As mentioned in the article, headers and downpipes differ in many ways, including their performance, sound, and cost.
For people with more generous budgets, going with a header would be the best option. The performance it delivers cannot be compared to that of downpipes.
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