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Axle-Back Options for Your 2010-2014 Mustang

Written By: Andrew Cilio

Shop '10-'14 Axle-Back Exhaust

Choosing the right axle-back exhaust for your Mustang can be a daunting task. Luckily AmericanMuscle has made it easier with axle-back sound clips and customer reviews on each product page.

Shop Axle-Backs

Nothing will bring your Mustang to life like the performance and sound coming from a new exhaust. An axle-back exhaust system is pretty self-explanatory – it’s the portion of your exhaust that goes from the rear axle to the exhaust tips. On the 2010+ Mustangs this includes the mufflers and exhaust tips.

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2010-2014 Mustang Axle-Back Overview

While there are minor distinctions between the V6, GT, and GT500 Mustang exhaust setups, the purpose of this article is not to go into specific details of each, but to provide general concepts that can be applied across all 2010 models. For beginners or anyone looking for a little more information on all the components of an exhaust, you can find a helpful guide here.

Mustang Axle-Back Considerations: An axle-back system is more about the sound difference than performance or looks. Sure, a new exhaust with chrome tips will definitely up the bling factor a bit. It may even add 5-10 horsepower depending on the type of system installed and what you’re replacing. However, the real value is announcing your presence long before you cruise by and giving your 'Stang a sound that matches its aggressive styling.

Replacing your stock axle-back exhaust is definitively going to change the sound of your Mustang, both inside the cabin and to those outside the car. How loud, deep, or throaty your new exhaust will be depends on a number of factors, and each brand creates a unique pitch and decibel level. Discovering which sound and how loud you want your Mustang takes some research. If you’re concerned about the noise level either inside or outside make sure listen to sound clips or find someone who has the type of exhaust you’re interested in.

Stock Versus Aftermarket Mustang Axle-Back Exhaust System
Stock (bottom) versus Aftermarket (Top)

Mustang Axle-Back Types and Materials

Tubing: Aftermarket companies all make their 2010 Mustang exhausts from stainless steel which resists corrosion and deterioration. In years past, some companies would make their systems from lower quality steel that would rust and corrode easily when exposed to the elements. This is no longer true and you can rest assured any new exhaust will stand up to the elements. Also make certain the kit you choose has mandrel-bent tubing as opposed to a setup built by crush bending. The difference is mandrel tubing uses flexible rods during the production process to prevent imperfections such as kinking that occur through the faster and easier method of crush bending. These imperfections can distort airflow and hurt your car’s performance.

Tips: Axle-back systems come with chrome, polished/coated stainless steel, or powder coated tips in a variety of different colors. Chrome tips require a little more care when it comes cleaning time but have a lasting shine if properly maintained. As long as the tips are one of the above mentioned materials, they should hold up quite well to road chemicals and the wear of daily driving.

Chrome Tipped RTR Axle-Back Mustang Exhaust
Axle-Back with Chrome Tips

Mufflers, Resonators and Straight Pipes: There are differences between the three that come into play when choosing an Axleback system for your Mustang.

Mufflers: Literally muffle the noise created by the motor. Obvious at first, mufflers actually have well thought out designs to create a unique tone crafted by the individual manufacturer and unique to each car depending on any other modifications. Mufflers are the main contributor to how loud your Mustang will be, so choose a design that complements what you’re looking for. Finding the right tone could be tricky. Thankfully, there are plenty of sound clips online.

Borla Axle-Back Exhaust for 2013-2014 Mustang GT
Axle-Back System with Mufflers

Resonators: These sound modifiers are designed to increase or decrease sound as well as eliminate the popping from modifying other parts of the exhaust system or from eliminating the mufflers.

Axle-Back Mustang Exhaust with Resonator Tips
Resonator Tips

Straight Pipes: Straight piped axle-back exhausts are mandrel-bent piping with tips and no mufflers or resonators. A setup like this will give you a more untamed sound that can be louder than a resonator or muffler setup.

Muffler Delete Mustang Axle-Back Exhaust
Muffler Delete Axle-Back

2010-2014 Mustang Axle-Back Sizing and Installation

Sizing: Choosing what size exhaust piping is right for your Mustang has a lot to do with your long term power goals for the car. If you plan on making major increases to your car’s power you'll want to choose a wider diameter setup than someone installing an axle-back on a stock V6.

3in. Axle-Back Mustang Exhaust System
3in Axle-Back System

Installation: Anyone with basic automotive tools can replace their axle-back exhaust. Most of the effort goes into unbolting and tightening the clamps and hangers that attach your axle-back to the bottom of the car. After an hour or so of wrenching, you should be ready to roll around town while enjoying the intimidating new grumble of your exhaust as well as the feeling of accomplishment of giving your Mustang the bark to match its bite.

2011-2014 Mustang GT Axle-Back Installation