Are you wondering whether investing in shorty headers for your car is worth it?
Shorty headers have gained popularity in the performance car community, but are they really worth the extra expense?
In this blog post, we will explore what shorty headers are, how they differ from stock headers, and whether or not they are worth the investment for your vehicle.
Are Shorty Headers Worth It?
Yes, shorty headers can improve exhaust flow and increase horsepower and torque. They are a good choice for those who want to improve their vehicle’s performance without investing in a full exhaust system.
Advantages of Shorty Headers for Improved Engine Performance
Improved Engine Performance
Shorty headers are designed to provide improved exhaust flow, meaning the engine can expel exhaust gases more efficiently.
This improved exhaust flow results in a reduction of backpressure, which allows the engine to breathe easier.
When an engine can breathe easier, it can produce more power. The improved exhaust flow also helps lower engine temperatures, leading to longer engine life.
Increased Horsepower and Torque
Shorty headers can provide a significant increase in horsepower and torque.
The increased exhaust flow that shorty headers provide can help increase the air and fuel the engine can take in.
This increased air and fuel flow, combined with the improved exhaust flow, can result in a noticeable increase in horsepower and torque.
Better Fuel Efficiency
Shorty headers can also help to improve fuel efficiency. The improved exhaust flow can help to reduce the amount of fuel that is wasted, resulting in better fuel economy.
This is because the engine does not have to work as hard to expel the exhaust gases, which means that it uses less fuel.
Enhanced Exhaust Sound
Shorty headers can also enhance the exhaust sound of your vehicle. The improved exhaust flow can provide a deeper and more aggressive exhaust note.
This can give your vehicle a more sporty and aggressive sound, which can be very appealing to some drivers.
Finally, shorty headers are also smaller in size than the stock exhaust manifold. This means that they take up less space under the hood, which can be very beneficial in tight engine bays.
The smaller size also means that they are lighter, which can help to improve the overall performance of your vehicle.
Disadvantages of Shorty Headers
Less Power Gains than Long-Tube Headers
Shorty headers, as the name implies, are shorter than long-tube headers.
This means they have less surface area for exhaust gases to flow through, which can limit their power gains.
Shorty headers typically provide a modest increase in power and torque compared to the stock exhaust manifold, but they are not as effective as long-tube headers at increasing exhaust flow and scavenging.
One reason for this is that shorty headers are designed to fit in tight engine bays, which often means sacrificing performance for space.
On the other hand, long-tube headers are designed to optimize exhaust flow and scavenging by using longer, larger-diameter tubes tuned to the engine’s specific needs. This allows for greater power gains, especially at higher RPMs.
Another disadvantage of shorty headers is cost. While they are generally less expensive than long-tube headers, they are still more expensive than replacing the stock exhaust manifold.
This means that if you’re on a tight budget, shorty headers may not be the best option for you.
Additionally, the cost of installation can be higher for shorty headers than for long-tube headers.
This is because shorty headers are often more difficult to install due to their compact size and tight fit.
This can result in higher labor costs, especially if the installation requires modifying other components of the exhaust system.
Shorty headers may not be legal in all areas. In some states, aftermarket headers are not permitted due to emissions regulations.
If you live in one of these areas, you may need to purchase a set of headers that are CARB-certified (California Air Resources Board) to ensure compliance with local laws. This can add to the cost and complexity of the installation process.
Factors to Consider Before Installing Shorty Headers
Here are some factors to consider before installing shorty headers:
Car Model and Make:
Shorty headers are designed to fit specific car models and makes, and it is essential to ensure that the headers you consider are compatible with your car’s year, make, and model.
Headers that do not fit your car properly can cause leaks, poor performance, and other issues.
To ensure the right fit, you can consult with a professional mechanic or refer to the product specifications provided by the manufacturer.
Intended Use of the Car:
Shorty headers can improve the performance of your car by increasing exhaust flow and reducing backpressure, which can lead to more power and better fuel efficiency.
However, they may not be the best choice for every driving situation.
For example, if you frequently drive in traffic or in areas with noise restrictions, shorty headers may not provide the desired benefits.
Additionally, shorty headers can sometimes increase the volume of the exhaust note, which may not be suitable for some drivers.
Shorty headers vary in price depending on the brand, material, and quality. While it can be tempting to opt for the cheapest option, it is important to consider the overall value of the headers you are purchasing.
Higher quality headers may cost more upfront but can provide better performance, durability, and longevity.
Additionally, it is important to factor in the cost of installation, as headers can be more difficult and time-consuming to install than other aftermarket upgrades.
Before purchasing and installing shorty headers, it is essential to check local and state laws to determine if they are legal in your area.
Some states have restrictions on aftermarket exhaust systems, including headers, and failure to comply with these laws can result in fines or legal issues.
It is important to ensure that any modifications to your car are compliant with local laws to avoid any legal complications.
Shorty Headers vs. Long-Tube Headers
Here are some differences between shorty headers and long-tube headers
Shorty headers are designed to replace the stock exhaust manifolds and are typically shorter in length than factory manifolds.
They are also designed to fit in tight engine bays and are usually easier to install than long-tube headers.
Shorty headers are often made of stainless steel or other high-quality materials that resist corrosion and rust.
On the other hand, long-tube headers are designed to be longer and more efficient than shorty headers.
They feature longer tubes that are specifically designed to increase exhaust flow and improve performance.
Long-tube headers are often made of materials such as ceramic-coated steel or titanium to withstand high temperatures and prevent corrosion.
Shorty headers can improve the performance of your car by increasing exhaust flow and reducing back pressure. This can lead to more power and better fuel efficiency.
Shorty headers are also known for providing better low- to mid-range torque, making them a popular choice for daily drivers.
Long-tube headers, on the other hand, are designed to provide maximum performance gains.
The longer tubes allow for better scavenging of exhaust gases, which can lead to more power at higher RPMs. Long-tube headers are often used in high-performance applications such as racing or track use.
Shorty headers are generally less expensive than long-tube headers. The cost of shorty headers can vary depending on the brand, material, and quality, but they are typically more affordable than long-tube headers.
Additionally, the installation cost of shorty headers is often lower than that of long-tube headers, as they are typically easier to install.
Long-tube headers are generally more expensive than shorty headers due to their larger size and more complex design.
The cost of long-tube headers can vary widely depending on the brand, material, and quality.
Additionally, installation costs for long-tube headers can be higher due to the increased difficulty and time required for installation.
Shorty headers and long-tube headers can produce different exhaust notes. Shorty headers are known to produce a deeper, more aggressive sound, while long-tube headers can produce a higher-pitched, race-inspired sound. Consider which sound you prefer before making a decision.
Shorty headers and long-tube headers can affect emissions differently.
Shorty headers are less likely to cause issues with emissions since they do not change the length of the exhaust system.
Long-tube headers, however, can increase emissions and may require additional modifications or tuning to meet emissions regulations.
Shorty headers and long-tube headers are not always compatible with all car models and make.
Check the manufacturer’s specifications and consult a professional mechanic to ensure the headers you choose are compatible with your specific car.
Consider the warranty offered by the manufacturer when making a decision. Some manufacturers may offer longer warranties on their headers, which can provide peace of mind in case of any issues.
While shorty headers are generally easier to install than long-tube headers, installation can still be challenging for those without experience.
Consider the cost of installation and whether you have the necessary skills and tools to install the headers yourself or if you will need to hire a professional mechanic.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Benefits Of Using Shorty Headers On A Vehicle?
Shorty headers can improve engine performance by increasing exhaust flow and reducing back pressure.
They can also enhance the sound of a vehicle’s exhaust note and may provide a slight increase in horsepower and torque.
Are Shorty Headers Legal For Street Use?
In most cases, shorty headers are legal for street use as long as they meet local emissions and noise regulations.
However, it is important to check with your state’s regulations to ensure compliance.
How Much Horsepower Gain Can Be Expected From Installing Shorty Headers?
The amount of horsepower gain from installing shorty headers can vary depending on the vehicle and the specific headers used.
However, typically, gains of around 5-10 horsepower can be expected.
Are Shorty Headers Easy To Install, Or Should I Have A Professional Do It?
Installing shorty headers can be a challenging and time-consuming process, especially for those without experience working on vehicles.
It is recommended to have a professional mechanic install the headers to ensure they are installed correctly and safely.
Do Shorty Headers Require Any Special Maintenance?
Shorty headers do not require any special maintenance beyond regular inspections for damage or leaks.
It is also important to ensure the headers are properly tightened and secured after installation.
Are Shorty Headers Worth The Investment?
Whether or not shorty headers are worth the investment depends on your individual goals and needs.
If you want to improve your vehicle’s performance and sound, shorty headers may be a worthwhile investment.
However, they may not be necessary if you are primarily concerned with cost or do not plan on modifying your vehicle.
Whether or not shorty headers are worth it ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.
Shorty headers can provide improved horsepower, torque, and better sound and aesthetics.
However, the gains may not be significant enough for some drivers to justify the cost and installation process.