Heat Reflective Tape 101: Does It Really Work? Gold Vs Silver

How Does Heat Reflective Tape Work For Cars?

Heat reflective tape is wrapped on parts of the engine or other parts of the car that are frequently exposed to heat. It is designed to keep heat away from these parts, giving them a more stable and cooler working temperature. 

As that name implies, the heat reflective tape is made with materials that reflect the radiant heat away from the protected part of the vehicle. It has a highly reflective ability that helps to redirect the heat while the glass fiber provides cooling and protection.

You can attach the heat reflective tape to any part of the vehicle that requires protection from heat. It is suitable for places like gas tanks, transmission channels, and other engine parts. They are also perfect for protecting wiring connections from the heat in the car, hoses, and pipes.

Manufacturers build the reflective tape using glass fiber from which they get woven layers. It is then covered up with aluminum foil. In addition, the material can reflect around 80% of heat directed to the protected part and can withstand the heat of up to 300 degree Celsius.

Personally, I make use of gold heat reflective tape for my cold air intake and under the hood of my vehicle. I have noticed that my engine does not get as hot as it used to. The tape has been able to shield my engine from the heat of the environment, especially in the summertime. 

Also, there is a little difference in my vehicle’s performance. I now get better power, and the acceleration is a bit better.    

Does Heat Reflective Tape Actually Work?

Heat reflective tape works and can reflect off 80% of the heat directed at it. By doing this, it can reduce internal temperature and pressure and exhaust temperature, allowing for an increase in horsepower. 

Many people do not know this, but heat is a significant cause of reduced horsepower in vehicles. It is the reason why many cars may not be able to perform as well as before during the summertime. 

The intake system is the first that is affected during the heated period. The intake takes in a lot of hot air, which does not have enough oxygen for the engine during the combustion process. When this happens, power is bound to drop. 

Also, hot air will affect the ignition timing and fuel consumption. As a result of all these, there will be a drastic drop in engine performance.

People constantly search for a means to cool the intake’s hot air. Now there are various means to do that, and one of the most efficient means is heat reflective tape. 

When wrapped around the intake, the reflective tapes provide insulation, creating a cooler pathway for the gasses to pass through to the combustion area. The tape will keep heat away from the intake pipe. With this, you can gain between 1 and 2% horsepower, about 5 horsepower. It is a bit of horsepower gain, but it is still okay.     

Gold vs Silver: Which Reflects Heat Better?

Gold and silver reflective tape are great ways to reflect heat from your engine parts. However, gold reflects a higher amount of infrared radiation, which makes it better at reflecting heat. The problem is that the reflective tape is not real gold. 

The debate has been going on about which reflective tapes can reflect more heat, whether gold or silver. Many have tested both tapes using LED lights to see which can reflect more light, but both seem to come out the same. 

In the literal sense, gold is meant to reflect more heat than silver because it has better properties that reflect more light and radiation. It can reflect infrared radiation better than any other metal material while keeping the internal components cool. It has been the dominant aspect of satellites in recent times. 

The argument against this is the tapes are not real gold or silver; they adopt the color. This argument makes it even more challenging to determine which is better. Gold reflective tapes are more popular with auto users than silver tapes.  

Cost Of Reflective Tape

Heat reflective tape can be pretty affordable to get. The reflective tapes can cost as low as $5 and up to as much as $100. 

The price of the reflective tape is influenced by many factors, including the brand, production material, and more. Also, another factor that could influence the cost of the reflective tape is if you will be getting gold or silver heat tape. 

Gold reflective tapes cost more than silver tapes, which could be because they are more in demand. Below are some recommended reflective tapes you can get if you want one for your vehicle.

1. DEI High Temperature Heat Reflect Adhesive 

The DEI heat reflective tape is one of the most popular and affordable adhesives on the market today. It is made from unique materials, including a metalized polyimide polymer produced to have a lighter weight. You can use it with your vehicle’s air intake and under the hood of your car. It can redirect up to 850 degrees Fahrenheit of heat. 

2. Zonon Heat Shield Tape

The Zonon heat reflective tape is an aluminum foil heat reflective adhesive which you can use for hose or auto use. It comes in Gold color, with about two tapes in the pack. 

It helps redirect around 500 degrees celsius radiant heat and provides maximum protection to the parts it is applied.  It is made from glass fiber material and an aluminum outer layer, providing elastic but durable protection. You can be sure that any part it is used will enjoy protection against heat, corrosion, water, and more. 

3. HMFC Aluminum Heat Shield 

HMFC provides premium protection for any part of your vehicle exposed to frequent heat. It is primarily built to provide maximum protection for your cold air intake.  It is a strong adhesive heat tape that is made from fiberglass.



5 Parts That Benefit From Reflective Tape

You cannot apply the reflective tape just anywhere in your vehicle. It has to be in places prone to heat, like the air intake, intercooler, and more. By applying it under your vehicle’s hood, you can also use it to protect the whole engine system from heat during the summertime. 

1. Cold air intake

The cold intake is an integral part of the engine working process. It delivers cold air into the engine, which is used in the combustion process. Cold air intake needs to deliver cold air into the engine’s combustion system because colder air contains more oxygen, giving better combustion. 

For the cold air intake to achieve this, its pipes have to be protected from heat from the engine. It also needs to have an environment where hot air can cool down before being transferred for combustion. 

Using the right heat reflective tape with your cold air intake will protect the pipes from heat, creating a cool environment in the intake pipe for the air to travel down and be transferred into the engine system.

Also Read: Heat Wrapping & Shielding Intake: Does It Gain Horsepower?

2. Under the hood

Another part of your vehicle that you can use the heat reflective tape on is under the hood. During summertime, the engine is prone to get very hot building excessive in the engine system.

Applying the heat reflective tape under the roof will protect the engine from the extreme heat in summer. Also, the reflective tape will help keep the pressure in the engine and its parts stable. 

3. Firewall

Suppose you feel that applying the reflective tape to the hoody is not enough you can apply it to the firewall or Buckethead. The firewall is the part of the vehicle that separates the engine compartment from the vehicle’s interior. 

Heat often escapes from the engine into the vehicle’s interior through the firewall. Applying heat reflective tapes to this area can stop heat from getting into the car. 

4. Intercooler

The intercooler, mainly used with turbocharged engines, helps cool down charged air. It cannot properly carry out this function if it is often exposed to heat. You can wrap the pipe up with heat reflecting tapes to keep heat away.

5. Wiring and lines

Wires and lines in the engine system serve many purposes, most of which connect the various sensors to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). Once these wires are affected by heat, the vehicle may experience a severe problem. By wrapping the wire with reflective tape, you can protect heat from destroying the cables. 

Heat Reflective Tape Vs Heat Wrap Vs Heat Shield: Differences

There are many ways to protect the various parts of your engine from heat while maintaining its proper running temperature.

The reflective tape reflects heat directed to protected parts. Heat wrap protects the selected region from heat through insulation and keeping heat out. Heat shields are thermal barriers designed to protect car parts from heat. 

It is easy to mistake the reflective tape, heat wrap, and heat shield for each other because they perform the same function. They are not the same and perform their tasks in different ways. 

Heat Reflective Tape

Firstly, reflective tape is a strong adhesive material that functions by reflecting or redirecting heat. When heat is directed to it, its foil-like metallic material reflects the heat away from the protected part. 

You can compare reflective tape to a mirror. When light is directed to a mirror, it does not absorb the light; the light bounces off the mirror in another direction.

Heat Wrap

Secondly, heat wraps are cloth-like, unlike reflective tape, which looks more like duct tape with a metal-like outer layer. The heat wrap is made using fiberglass, just like reflective tape; the fiberglass material is woven into a cloth-like wrapping material. 

The Heat wrap functions by insulating the protected area, keeping its interior temperature stable while radiating heat away. It is mainly used under the vehicle’s hood, with cold air intakes and exhaust pipes. 

When used under the hood and with cold air intake, it can reduce heat by 50%, and with every drop in the engine temperature, the engine’s performance increases. 

Its performance is a bit different from exhaust pipes. When used with an exhaust pipe, it helps increase the pressure in the pipes allowing for faster movement of gasses. The heat in the pipe is protected and kept at a stable level, which keeps the gasses moving. 

Also Read: Header Wrap 101: Horsepower, Sound, Damages, & Rusting

Heat Shield


heat shielding air intakeFinally, heat shields are thermal barriers that protect vehicle parts from overheating. Using steel covering, it isolates the engine block or selected vehicle portion.

The heat shield can either be fixed or flexible. A fixed shield is a more rigid type of shield made using steel or aluminum material. People prefer aluminum material due to the weight that steel adds to the engine.  Flexible shields are lighter, made from aluminum materials, and can easily be taken off. 

Heat shields are considered better than both heat wrap and reflective tape. It is because it provides better protection against heat than the other two. It provides more cooling and horsepower boost.  

The heat shield can provide between 5 to 10 horsepower. However, heat wrap, reflective tape, and heat shield gain little horsepower. 

Also Read: Heat Wrapping & Shielding Intake: Does It Gain Horsepower?


Q: Is Gold the Best Heat Reflector?

The gold heat reflective tape has a better heat reflecting capacity when compared to the silver reflective tape. It is because the gold color possesses one of the best reflective abilities and can reflect about 80% of heat. 

Q: Does Foil Tape Reflect Heat?

Foil tape is another excellent way to reflect heat and protect selected engine parts from heat, corrosion, water, and certain chemicals. The foil tape is commonly used by manufacturing and construction companies but can also be used in car engine parts. 

Ifandi L.

Ifandi L.

Passionate about everything mechanical. Ifandi has been involved with motorcycles and cars since the old days - in his family's auto parts shop. Want to keep in touch? Scream "STRAIGHT PIPEEEEE" at the top of your lungs and Ifandi will show up.

Car Performance Boss

Best resources online to improve your car performance!

Reach out:

  • hello@carperformanceboss.com
  • shop@carperformanceboss.com (Shopping related)