Powder coating your exhaust is a great move in many cases yet most people are simply afraid to make it, or, are entirely unaware of what it is and why you might want to do it. Powder coating gets a lot of bad press from people who don’t do the job properly and then burn it all off the next time they try to push their car a little too far.
Whether you are already familiar with powder coating or are coming into this completely fresh, you have come to the right place. We are going to cover briefly what powder coating is, what the powder is made of, and why you might want to do it before we discuss some great tips for performing the powder coating yourself and how to get the most out of it after the fact. Let’s get into it right here and now.
What Is Powder Coating?
Powder coating is the method of coating parts of the car with powder which can be done by almost painting it on or even spraying it on, though if you are coating an internal component (like the inside of the exhaust) you are more likely to find that people cover one end, pour in the coating, cover the other end and rotate it around trying to get an even layer of coating all over the exhaust interior.
Powder coating is primarily done on exhausts but can also be done on engine heads or even exhaust manifolds or mufflers if you feel that the aesthetic benefits are worth the effort.
What Is Powder Coating Made Of?
Most powder-coating exhaust tips are done with a ceramic paste which is typically quite thick and grey/green in color. Or, more commonly, black. Ceramic coating is a great choice because it stands up to temperature incredibly well compared to other materials, other than metal, and is unlikely to burn off. It is also relatively lightweight which might surprise people who are imagining ceramic pots and pans that can be quite heavy.
Imagine someone ground those pots and pans up into fine dust and then mixed that into the coating. That’s a simplified and bastardized version of what actually happens. Powder coating also has pigment for color and resin that helps the ceramic coating fuse to the exhaust.
A powder coating normally has quite a nice and smooth finish thanks to the resin, you may even think it looks like the coating is polymer based (it definitely isn’t) but that should give you an idea about the kind of look and texture of the powder coating.
What Are The Benefits Of Powder Coating?
Powder coating may sound/feel like a tedious process, which isn’t necessary but it is fair to feel like you couldn’t be bothered to do it yourself. Here’s why you should. There are a ton of excellent benefits to powder coating your exhaust.
First of all, it looks cool. That is the least important benefit but it does genuinely look cool as heck. Secondly, and far more importantly, it helps protect the exhaust and improves the flow of exhaust out of the engine. This allows new oxygen to enter faster and allows you to burn more fuel faster generating far more brake horsepower than you perhaps otherwise would.
The speed that the exhaust gases exit your combustion chamber greatly affects the speed new air and fuel can enter as there is a finite space inside the chamber, of course, yet the exit speed of gases is not something that many people consider to be important.
Can I Powder Coat Things Other Than My Exhaust?
You can powder coat the exhaust manifold, exhaust pipe, and muffler if you feel like it. The maximum benefit will of course be on the exhaust manifold as it doesn’t really matter all too much how fast the exhaust exits your tailpipe.
However, the faster the gases physically leave your vehicle (not just the engine) the faster the gases within the engine can leave. Many people like to powder coat the entire exhaust system because it does technically benefit the performance of the car and it looks cooler to have it all done together.
Powder Coating Exhaust Tips Tips
Did you like that play on words? No? Anyway, powder coating the exhaust tips is definitely something that adds a certain aesthetic benefit to the car even if by the point the gasses have reached your exhaust tips, they are basically out of the car already.
Powder coating exhaust tips does absolutely benefit the performance of your car, even if we joke about the quantified benefits, extra horsepower for doing nothing but “paint” your exhaust tips is always going to be good value for money.
If you want some tips for powder coating your tips, the most important thing to consider is that you will want to pick a color that looks good after it has seen some use. The default that most people go for is black because it is cheaper, it doesn’t look weathered after a ton of use, and it’s the coolest color choice.
You will want to powder coat the tips when the exhaust is slightly warm (not hot) as the resin will bond with it better. It is a little more difficult to get a nice finish this way but it is going to last far longer. Additionally, you will want to do some light to moderate driving after you have coated the exhaust tips to allow the resin bonding to, well, bond properly.
If you decide to powder coat your exhaust and head straight to the race track you are going to completely burn off the powder coating immediately. For the sake of saving yourself some cash and a few hours of work, just wait. A week is plenty of time for it to completely solidify itself onto your exhaust tips.
Hopefully, you now feel like you have a good understanding of what powder coating is and why it can be so beneficial. It isn’t a necessity of course but for the money, you are paying, how fast it is to do, and how cool it looks when you have done it – why not?
Being able to squeeze out a handful of extra horses is always a good thing and if it comes alongside the benefit of looking awesome why wouldn’t you do it?