Whether to fit a stainless exhaust system?

 In Fuel and Exhaust, MGA-MGB, Midget

In New Zealand as we don’t have a salt-induced corrosion problem from the outside as they do in the UK, so a stainless system hasn’t quite the same imperative here. However, stainless can still be more economical if you are keeping your car long term, so here are a few thoughts to guide you as to whether or not to outlay the extra money for stainless system:

Our exhaust systems corrode from the inside outwards, and that corrosion is primarily from condensation in the system.  So the coolest parts of the system are most at risk.

Stainless twin front pipes are fairly redundant since (being the front pipes) they run hotter and don’t suffer from condensation as much as the rear of the system does. As a result, they usually last about 10 years or more, whereas the average life for the silencers is 2 – 6 years depending on the frequency of use.

Intermittent gentle use of your car is the real killer of mild steel exhausts as more condensation occurs and it sits around merrily eating away at the silencers until the next time the car is used. Mild steel systems used like this can rot out in 18 months. Under these conditions, stainless systems are far more economical in the long run.

Thrashing a car prolongs exhaust life (but obviously it’s hard on everything else!) so if you are an incurable lead-foot, a mild steel system will do the job admirably!

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