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Chic and practical: The tail pipe
The tailpipe is the last component of the exhaust. It is the only exhaust part that is visible from the outside. Thus, it offers the option to set optical accents.
Technical operation of tailpipes
From a technical point of view, tailpipes mainly serve to direct hot exhausts away from the passenger compartment. Therefore, tailpipes are usually also curved in the direction of the road. Oftentimes tail pipes are welded to the silencer. The tuning scene has long discovered this component as a decorative element.
Optical function of the exhaust pipe
The exhaust may be practical and can affect the sound of the machine by means of respective construction and modification. Yet, one thing it isn't is pretty. And it doesn't have to be, since it is mostly running along the vehicle floor. Thus it is not visible from the outside. So-called "side pipes" or "high pipes" are an exception. Both types of exhaust pipe were very popular accessories on U.S. vehicles in the 1970s. "Side pipes" were used for sport coupes and ran along the entire side panel. "High pipes" were very popular in pick-ups and trucks. They vertically ran upwards behind the driver's cab. Provided with ample chrome, they were a striking design feature in the customizing scene. These components are still available, but hardly play a role in the European area.
The exhaust pipe itself is still a popular item for tuners and modders. Technically, it is very simple: It is mounted to the end of the exhaust and fixed with one or two screws. Yet, a flashy "bling-bling" tail pipe is sure to visually stand out from the typically mildly rusted exhaust.
Variants of the end pipe
Since the tailpipe hardly serves any technical purpose, it allows for many customizations. The simplest type of modding this part is the use of a chrome-plated tail. In seriously lowered vehicles with rich plastic paneling at the rear, the tail pipe can serve the purpose of fire protection. Specially shielded tailpipes are available for this. They are designed to avoid a strong heating of their exterior. This is made possible by a multi-layered structure. In these end pieces, the actual inner pipe is engulfed by a refractory layer of compressed mineral fiber that is then encapsulated by a coat made from chrome-plated steel. As an alternative to the conventional chrome plating that has prevailed for nearly 20 years, carbon texture has also established itself as an optical design feature of tailpipes.
Tailpipes are also frequently produced using split construction. This involves dividing the exhaust into two outputs at the tail end. The result can foster a strong visual effect, especially if they are arranged symmetrically on both sides.
Trends in tail pipes
The dominant design with tailpipes is circular. Meanwhile, many other variants in the design have established themselves. Square dual exhausts, oval shapes, individual, polygonal cross sections and many more are available today. Yet, technical changes such as whistles, flamethrowers or fanfares operated by the tailpipe are still not permitted.
Replacement of tail pipes
Faulty tail pipes are easily noticed: They either fall off while driving or visually age so strongly, that they must be replaced. The high temperatures at the exhaust favor a tarnishing and rusting through of the chrome layer.
Tailpipes are the most easily replaced parts of the car. They are usually only fixed by two screws. Once these are loosened, the end piece can simply be pulled off. Depending on how massive the end piece is, an additional or enhanced exhaust hanger must be attached to the silencer. The tailpipes themselves usually have no additional support, since this would impair the visual effect. On some vehicles, the end apron may need to be adjusted for special tailpipes. Here it is necessary to use suitable tools and work extremely professionally and carefully. Otherwise, there the optical effect of the tailpipe may be decreased by unclean sections. Cost of tailpipes Prices for tailpipe differ significantly. Simple chrome pieces, which will be attached to the exhaust, are sold by the accessory trade for about 15 euros. True tuning pieces that are specifically tailored to fit a particular vehicle should however be estimated at a few hundred euros.