So you’ve been reading about how electric exhaust cutouts and oil catch cans can boost your vehicle’s performance and you’re wondering if they actually work or if it’s all hype. You’ve watched dozens of YouTube videos showing before and after dyno runs and testimonials from enthusiasts swearing these bolt-on mods unleashed hidden power. But you’re skeptical. You know that for every legitimate automotive product out there, there are 10 gimmicks looking to separate enthusiasts from their hard-earned cash.
Before you drop a chunk of change on cutouts, catch cans, or any other performance add-on, you owe it to yourself to cut through the marketing and hype to understand what these products really do and whether or not they’ll benefit your particular vehicle setup. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at electric exhaust cutouts and oil catch cans, how they work, the potential performance benefits, possible downsides, and most importantly, whether or not they’re worth your money. So strap in, this is going to be a wild ride!
What Are Oil Catch Cans and Electric Exhaust Cutouts?
Oil catch cans and electric exhaust cutouts are popular performance modifications for engines that experience high blow-by or builds up excess backpressure.
What Are Oil Catch Cans?
Oil catch cans are simple devices that capture oil vapor and condensation in your engine’s air intake system before it can recirculate through the engine. As piston rings start to wear over time, blow-by increases – that’s when combustion gasses and oil vapor escape past the rings into the crankcase. Without a catch can, that oil vapor will vent back into the air intake, gunking up your air filter and intake valves.
Installing a catch can means drilling a few holes in your intake tube to mount the can, then routing hoses to it from your valve cover breathers and intake. The can uses baffles to separate the oil and water vapor from the air, collecting the fluids so they don’t end up in your engine. For high-mileage or performance engines, a catch can can help reduce buildup and keep your engine running strong.
What Are Electric Exhaust Cutouts?
Electric exhaust cutouts are motorized valves installed in your exhaust that can open and close on demand. In the closed position, your exhaust flows normally through the muffler. But when opened, the cutouts divert the exhaust before the muffler, dumping it straight out the cutout pipes. This results in a free-flowing, wide-open exhaust for maximum power and that iconic muscle car sound.
With the cutouts closed, your vehicle remains street legal and suitably quiet. But open the cutouts, and you’ve got an instant power and sound upgrade at the push of a button. For any performance vehicle, electric exhaust cutouts are an easy way to have the best of both worlds.
How Do Oil Catch Cans and Electric Exhaust Cutouts Work?
So how do these popular car performance upgrades actually work?
Oil catch cans capture excess engine oil vapor and contaminants before they enter your intake system. As your engine runs, oil naturally circulates and some escapes as vapor. This vapor typically gets sucked into your air intake and burned, but it can build up on intake valves and in your combustion chamber. A catch can installs inline with your PCV system and uses baffles and steel wool to separate the oil vapor and return it to your oil pan. This helps reduce buildup and keeps your engine running clean.
Electric exhaust cutouts, on the other hand, give you the ability to open and close your exhaust at the push of a button. They install in your exhaust piping and contain motorized flaps that can go from fully open to fully closed. With the cutouts open, your exhaust flows normally, but when closed they redirect the exhaust before it exits the pipes. This allows the exhaust to exit under the car, resulting in an aggressive sound. Cutouts are ideal if you want a loud exhaust note at times but also want the ability to quiet things down when needed.
Using these performance upgrades will extend the life of your engine and give you more control and customization options for your ride. If you’re looking for more power and sound from your vehicle, oil catch cans and electric exhaust cutouts are two popular and affordable mods worth considering.
Are Oil Catch Cans and Electric Exhaust Cutouts Worth Installing?
Installing oil catch cans and electric exhaust cutouts on your vehicle can be worth the investment for many enthusiasts and those who frequently drive their vehicle hard.
Oil Catch Cans
Oil catch cans, also known as oil separators or air-oil separators, are devices that catch oil vapor and oil mist in the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system before it can be recirculated into the engine’s intake. The can has chambers and baffles that separate the oil from the air, collecting the oil so it can be drained at service intervals.
For high-performance engines, especially those with forced induction like turbochargers or superchargers, an oil catch can help prevent oil buildup in the intercooler and intake system. This buildup can reduce performance over time. Oil catch cans also help reduce carbon buildup on intake valves and in the combustion chamber.
While oil catch cans require periodic draining and maintenance, many vehicle owners, particularly those with modified or high-performance engines, find them worth the effort for the benefits they provide. For normal driving, however, oil catch cans are typically not necessary and the vehicle’s standard PCV system is sufficient.
Electric Exhaust Cutouts
Electric exhaust cutouts are electronically controlled valves installed in the exhaust system that can open and close to control the flow of exhaust gasses. When open, the cutouts divert exhaust gasses through less restricted exhaust pipes for maximum performance. When closed, the cutouts redirect exhaust through the muffler for normal driving.
Electric exhaust cutouts provide flexibility and the ability to adjust the level of sound and performance on demand. They can be opened and closed from inside the vehicle using a switch or controller. For many performance enthusiasts, the benefits of improved sound and power on demand outweigh the costs of installing and maintaining electric exhaust cutouts. However, they may not be ideal or permitted for everyday street driving due to noise regulations.
In the end, whether oil catch cans, electric exhaust cutouts or other performance upgrades are worth it comes down to your vehicle needs, how you drive, and your budget. For high-performance driving, they can provide benefits, but for normal daily driving, the costs may outweigh the gains.
In the end, you have to decide if electric exhaust cutouts and oil catch cans are worth your time and money. If improving performance and protecting your engine are high priorities, these mods seem like no-brainers. The cutouts give you the best of both worlds – a quiet ride when you want it and an open exhaust when you’re ready to open it up. Oil catch cans are an easy way to give your engine a longer, healthier lifespan. For a few bucks and a little wrenching, you can have peace of mind that your engine isn’t choking on its own blow-by. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon in the garage. If you’re on the fence, start with an oil catch can – your engine will thank you, and you’ll be hooked. Pretty soon you’ll be shopping for cutouts and planning your next project. Welcome to the world of performance mods – your engine will never be the same!