Heat wrapping downpipe or using ceramic coating prevents the heat build-up to deliver better performance from your engine and turbo.
Their main objective is to retain heat in the downpipe and prevent heat from getting inside the engine compartment and cause overheating issues.
Personally, I heat-wrapped my Honda Civic’s downpipe to reduce the temperature in the engine bay and cause the exhaust gases to travel faster at higher temperatures. I did feel a drop in my car’s engine temperature, and it does behave better than it used to.
In this article, I’m going to write about heat wrapping and ceramic coating the downpipe on cars:-
- Does Wrapping Your Downpipe Increase Performance?
- Can Heat Wrap Cause Fire?
- Heat Wrap Vs Ceramic Coating
- How To Wrap Downpipe & The Cost
- Which Should You Do It
Let’s get to the subjects, follow along!
Does Heat Wrapping Downpipe Increase Performance?
Heat wrapping does not increase performance directly because it is not a performance part and doesn’t affect the combustion process in any way. But it does help in keeping the temperatures down inside the engine.
Logically, if you have lower temperatures inside the engine bay, your engine draws more cold air and gains more horsepower. It doesn’t work like other performance parts.
Keeping the heat in exhaust will maintain a faster exhaust velocity. It would probably improve performance a little by heat wrapping the downpipe.
It does not directly improve your car’s horsepower rating, but indirectly, it will deliver better performance and longevity to the engine.
Heat wrapping will also fix your overheating issues especially in the summer when the temperatures are boiling hot.
Keeping the heat out of the engine bay will definitely help extend the life and durability of the engine bay components and increase the efficiency of the radiators and coolers.
Can Heat Wrap Cause Fire?
Heat wrap will not cause a fire. It is made out of basalt titanium or glass fibre material, and they are resistant to heat.
Many people who plan to install heat wrap are afraid of this mod that may cause fire in their engine bay. Mythbusted, this claim is not correct.
Heat wrap simply hugs your downpipe and keeps the temperature on the inside. The temperature can even reach near 2000°F (1100°C), with its thermal insulating properties, it will not let you down.
It definitely will not catch fire, and you shouldn’t worry about that.
They are different types of heat wrap and ceramic coating, and they have different temperature tolerances.
The table below shows different types of heat wrap and temperature tolerance is approximated for reference only:-
|Types of Application||Material Made||Temperature Tolerance|
|Motorsport Application||Basalt/Titanium||2000°F (1100°C)|
|High-performance Application||Glass fibre||1000°F (600°C)|
|Just for The Looks||Glass fibre||750°F (400°C)|
Heat Wrap Vs Ceramic Coating Downpipe
Use both wrap and coat for maximum heat retention. Ceramic coating has the advantage over wrap from a durability perspective. It will not be damaged by engine fluids unlike wrap which will degrade easily with contact of oils or corrosive liquids.
Ceramic coating gives the best option if you’re looking for a clean and neat look. It also does add the benefit of preventing rust and corrosion.
The heat wrap won’t stay as nice, and heat causes expansion, and it will be loosen over time, thus re-wrapping to tighten is needed to be done.
If I had to choose just one then heat wrap is hands down the clear winner. Even on the most expensive high temperature ceramic coatings on the market today, it would never reach what heat wrap could deliver. At the end of the day, I will still do them both to achieve maximum heat retention.
Prevent Heat Wrap From Collecting Moisture & Rusting
Moisture and rusting in the heat wrap can be prevented by regular maintenance. The rust is generally formed by the trapped moisture inside and will potentially cause exhaust leaks.
Note: Heat causes expansion and this is a reason why heat wrap may crack or form holes.
When cleaning the downpipe, make sure there are no contaminants on it as it will build up rust pretty quickly. If you find rust in the downpipe, you can sandpaper it and apply a generous amount of rustoleum to remove the rust.
Then, paint the downpipe with special heat resistant paint. The paint may be a little pricey, but with its heat-proof capabilities, it’s definitely worth it.
Next is to wrap the downpipe with special glass fiber material. You will need to cover every inch of the downpipe as tight as possible and not leave any area uncovered, or else the heat will bleed out and your engine bay temperature will go up.
After you have successfully wrapped your downpipe, I would recommend you to give it an extra layer of protection by painting another layer of the heat proof paint on top of the heat wrap.
Your thermals should now be near perfect if you have done everything right.
How To Heat Wrap Downpipe (& Cost)
The process of wrapping the downpipe is fairly simple and you can do it at your home with some common tools. Ordinary wrenches will do the job. If you have a power tool, that’s even better. You will only need enough space to work on your car. A garage that has a lift will make things a lot smoother.
Check out this video on youtube to watch how to do heat wrap correctly.
Generally, a decent heat wrap will cost around $100, and the heat resistant paint will cost you around $50.
As every automobile enthusiast knows, materials matter. If you go for a higher end heat wrap, it will cost more. When it comes to the best overall combination of quality, functionality, and durability, go for a titanium heat wrap.
Wrapping your downpipes are super simple, you can definitely do this job by yourself to save some money. If you do this at a shop, they will probably set you back around $200.
This is the Heat Wrap that I have personally used from Amazon.
Should You Heat Wrap Your Downpipe?
If you have aftermarket downpipes, you should definitely use a heat wrap. Aftermarket downpipes make exhaust gases flow much easier and spool the turbo even harder – creating more energy for the turbo to suck more air and deliver it to the combustion chamber. Thus, generate more heat.
For most applications, heat wrap or ceramic coating is not necessary for your daily drivers. It’s very rare for your car to overheat as long as you properly maintain and check on the coolant levels.
RELATED ARTICLE: Are Downpipes Worth It?
Heat-wrapping your downpipe can be very beneficial to the performance and longevity of your car. It’ll definitely enjoy the lower temperatures and will be less prone to overheat, especially in summer.
You should definitely consider wrapping your downpipes if you’re driving a high-performance car or for your track car, it seems silly not to use heat wrap or ceramic coating.