Can Exhaust Headers Be Powder Coated? (Explained)

There are many types of modifications you can do to your car. Unlike most modifications, coating an exhaust offers more than cosmetic value. It also improves your vehicle’s performance.

Exhaust headers are often exposed to constant thermal stress that may affect the vehicle’s performance. The coating ensures you get maximum horsepower gains and the parts under your hood are safeguarded from the excess heat.

Considering the many benefits of coating an exhaust header such as preventing rust, you need to analyze every material you apply on any part of your car.

The exhaust system plays a pivotal role. Therefore, you shouldn’t hesitate to protect it with a high-quality coat.

can exhaust headers be powder coated

Can I Powder Coat Exhaust Headers?

Yes, you can but it is not advisable. Powder coating can protect your exhaust headers and system. However, powder cures at 450°F.

The temperatures experienced at the headers are more than that. This means that it will most likely melt off after a while. If you decide to powder coat an exhaust, you can be assured that it will bake.

If someone claims that powder coating will last on exhaust headers, two things are involved. He/she may be referring to the high-temp powder coat, which we will look at later on.

Or, they could be lying to you. Some powder coaters care least about ethics. And as long as you pay them for powder coating your exhaust, whatever happens, later on, is not their business.

Were you considering powder coating an exhaust header? To get a coat that lasts longer, please keep off the powder and consider a ceramic coat.

Ceramic coating can withstand high temperatures and is available in nearly all colors. So if it’s aesthetics you are worried about, the ceramic coating has got you covered.

Can Powder Coating Withstand High Exhaust Heat?

No, it can’t. This is the reason why we are recommending ceramic coating instead. As mentioned earlier, powder coating melts at about 350°F to 450°F.

The average temperature for the exhaust header is about 550°F to 930°F. And the temperatures can get as hot as 1600°F. This is a clear indication that powder coating can’t withstand the heat of the exhaust header.

So, it wouldn’t make sense for you to powder coat the exhaust, only for it to be baked the next day.

On the other hand, the ceramic coating protects the exhaust header and can withstand high heat. It is the best choice because it is durable.

Some car owners have had their ceramic coats last for years. And it’s available in a variety of colors as well as finishes.

Does Powder Coating Offer the Same Benefits as Ceramic Coating?

One thing you need to know is that very few exhausts are coated with powder. So, don’t expect to hear much regarding the benefits you can get from powder coating your exhaust.

Powder coating an exhaust will prevent corrosion as well as discoloration. It will also improve heat tolerance and protect other parts of the engine.

The problem is that these benefits won’t last for long. Because at the end of the day, powder coating is going to get baked and its benefits will melt with it.

Because of these reasons, the ceramic coating offers all the benefits you can get from a powder coat. And it’s more durable, meaning that your exhaust header will enjoy rust protection for longer.

How are Ceramic Coated Headers Better?

We have talked a lot about ceramic-coated headers. However, what are some of the things that make it better than a powder-coated header?

1. It can withstand the excessive heat of the exhaust system. This is the main reason why most cars have ceramic-coated headers. Unlike its counterpart, ceramic-coated headers can’t get baked easily.

There are car owners whose exhausts have had the same ceramic coat for a decade. This goes to show you how durable ceramic-coated headers are.

 

2. The other thing is that it is available in a wide range of colors and finishes. Most modifications we make to our cars are designed only for aesthetics. Ceramic-coated exhaust headers offer both aesthetic value and improved performance.

Leaning more towards the aesthetics side, the benefit of a ceramic coat is that you have more colors and finishes to choose from. This ensures you have a neat-looking header.

 

3. We all know how bad exhaust looks after years of use. They easily get corroded and rust may develop which leads to leaks.

With a ceramic coat, the exhaust header is protected from both rust and corrosion. This significantly improves the life of your exhaust system.

 

4. Ceramic-coated headers have a higher heat tolerance. The excess heat found in the exhaust can easily damage the headers. Thanks to ceramic coat heat-resistant capabilities, you shouldn’t worry much about this as your exhaust header will be well protected.

 

5. Also, due to the high heat tolerance of ceramic coated header other parts of the car will be protected from heat. A ceramic-coated header will not leak heat to the surrounding parts.

 

6. By lowering the speed of heat leaks at the tailpipe, ceramic-coated headers improve the efficiency of the engine.

 

7. Ceramic-coated headers improve aesthetic appeal. Because of the many finishes available, you can choose one that will make your exhaust headers look unique.

What about High Temp Powder Coated Headers?

If you have researched deeply on powder-coated exhaust headers, you may have come across another option that entails powder-coated exhaust headers that have been formulated to withstand high temperatures. A good example is the FORREST high-temperature powder coating.

These high-temperature powder coatings for exhaust headers claim that they have a higher heat resistance than ceramic coats and regular powder coats.

They also promise to offer corrosion as well as abrasion resistance. High temp powder coats come in various colors, so regarding the aesthetics, you will be sorted.

They are basically an improved formula of ordinary powder coats, only that they have been designed to withstand more heat.

Several car owners have tried out high temp powder-coated headers and most have expressed their satisfaction with these types of coating.

Some of the things that have been praised about high temp powder coats are their durability, ease of maintenance, and adding beauty to the headers.

For those of you who prefer powder-coated headers instead of ceramic-coated ones, go for the high temperatures ones. These will not disappoint you.

Depending on the brand you decide to get high-temperature powder coatings from, ensure that you get the one with the highest heat tolerance.

How Long Does High Temp Powder Coat Last on Exhaust Headers?

Depending on the level of care you show to your high temp powder-coated headers, they can last for more than five years.

Even though ceramic coatings are known to last longer, high temp powder coatings can serve you for a relatively long period.

Considering the average price of high temp powder-coated headers and their expected shelf life, you can be assured of getting value for your money.

With time, the high temp powder coats on the header will be weakened by the excess temperature. And what follows is some color change and peeling.

When you notice this, you should have the high temp powder coat re-applied. It however holds up pretty well. And you enjoy all the benefits mentioned above for a long period.

Are There Advantages of Powder Coating an Exhaust Header?

Most people appreciate the aesthetic appeal provided by the powder coat. However, there are more advantages. The first is heat management.

This advantage comes from a high temp powder coating. As you may already be aware, the engine produces a lot of heat.

This heat spreads to the nearest parts including the engine. This heat may hinder the performance of these parts and this will affect your driving experience.

A powder coat with a high heat tolerance ensures the header and the entire exhaust system don’t overheat and transfer the excess heat to other components. It also prevents rust from forming on the surface of the header.

Other than the advantages, there are some drawbacks to getting a powder coat on the exhaust header.

The first is, if you don’t get the high-temperature coating, then it’s not going to survive the abnormal temperatures that come from the exhaust.

Secondly, coating an exhaust header is expensive especially if it is handled by a professional. However, when you evaluate the cost against the benefits you get, it makes sense to pay for your exhaust header to be coated with powder or ceramic coating.

Is There an Alternative to Coating the Exhaust with Powder?

We have already mentioned that ceramic coating is an ideal alternative to powder coating. Ceramic coating is more durable and can improve the look of the exhaust header. But, there is another alternative and that is an exhaust wrap.

For car owners who don’t seem to find a middle ground between ceramic and high temp powder coats, exhaust wraps are the next best option.

These feature a high-temperature fabric that provides heat management as well as improved aesthetics. There is also another budget-friendly option which entails the application of a heat spray.

The downside of using a heat spray is that it doesn’t offer better heat management as ceramic and high temp powder coating does. And aesthetic-wise, it doesn’t look as great as the other options.