The main purpose of an engine cover is to protect the engine from debris and dirt. It also reduces the noise produced by the engine. When making engine covers manufacturers are usually not very interested in aesthetics.
It’s why these covers look dull. If aesthetics matter to you, a vinyl wrap on the engine can significantly spice things up. Vinyl wraps are available in a wide range of colors and finishes.
This means you can convert your engine cover into something that’s way better looking. But before you begin the installation, it’s important to find out whether an engine cover can be vinyl wrapped.
Table of Contents
- Vinyl Wrapping the Engine Cover
- How Long Will Vinyl Wrap Last on an Engine Cover?
- How Hot Does an Engine Get?
- Customized Engine Covers are a Much Better Option
- What Happens When Vinyl Wrap is Exposed to a Lot of Heat from the Engine?
- You Can Always Perform a Patch Test
- Will Vinyl Wrap Melt on the Engine Cover?
- Will Vinyl Wrap Catch Fire?
- Painting vs Vinyl Wrapping Engine Covers
- Will Vinyl Wrap Protect the Engine Cover?
- Will Vinyl Wrap Stick to Irregular Shaped Covers?
- Should You Wrap Your Engine Cover?
Vinyl Wrapping the Engine Cover
Many things can be done to beautify an engine such as spraying it with high temp paint. However, vinyl wrap isn’t one of them. Undeniably, the vinyl wrap would be great on engine covers.
It can make your engine bay look like that of fancy show cars. However, despite the stunning looks of vinyl wrap, it’s not advisable to install it over the engine cover.
If you have ever installed wrap on a car surface, then you know that this process requires heat. The heat warms up the wrap and allows it to stretch and be shaped.
Once installed, the wrap cools off to achieve the desired shape. When heat is re-introduced later on, the vinyl wrap starts to stretch. When this occurs repeatedly, the wrap starts to bubble or peel off.
How Long Will Vinyl Wrap Last on an Engine Cover?
When many car owners successfully wrap their engine covers. They are quick to show off on social media and car forums about how ‘successful’ their project was. What they don’t show you are the results that are experienced a few months later.
If you have been researching vinyl wrapping engine covers, you have probably come across people who claim that they have done it without any complications.
When you come across such, it can be tempting for you to do the same. But you can be assured that vinyl wrap will not last for more than three to four months. Here is why.
Do you drive your car almost every day? Then that means that the engine cover will be exposed to heat for a considerable amount of time. Then when you switch the car off, the temperatures will cool down. Tomorrow the same thing will happen and so on.
The extreme changes in temperature from hot to cold will cause the adhesive in vinyl to fail and the vinyl can crack. The ideal surface for a vinyl wrap does not experience frequent and extreme changes in temperature.
How Hot Does an Engine Get?
Most average engines get as hot as 250 degrees F. On the other hand, vinyl wrap is a very durable material that can withstand temperatures of up to 300 degrees F. Please note that different wraps have specific temperature ranges, so it’s always important to check.
Anyway, there is a very small gap between how hot an engine gets and the maximum temperature vinyl wraps can withstand.
If the vinyl wrap was to be exposed once or twice to a temperature of around 250 degrees F, it would withstand and retain its shape.
But imagine every time you turn on the engine and go for a drive, the vinyl wrap on the cover would have to withstand these high temperatures.
When you first install a vinyl wrap on the engine cover, it will hold up. But after a few months, that’s when the problems start to happen.
Customized Engine Covers are a Much Better Option
Vinyl wrapping may be a quick and easy solution to dress up your engine but it won’t provide lasting benefits. This is why you need to consider customized engine covers.
A customized engine cover is just like the one that you currently have on your car. The only difference is that it has a more appealing, trendy, and stylish finish.
Customized engine covers can have a carbon fiber finish or even stainless steel. They can be tailored to match the theme of your car. The list of customizations that can be done on these engine covers is endless.
If you are determined to enhance the look of your engine bay, customized covers are a more durable and equally effective solution than a vinyl wrap.
What Happens When Vinyl Wrap is Exposed to a Lot of Heat from the Engine?
Depending on the brand, a vinyl wrap can behave differently when exposed to extreme heat from the engine. Some wraps will bubble. Others will peel and crack.
These are the three main symptoms that will occur when vinyl wrap fails on the engine cover. The high heat from the engine cover will cause the vinyl to lose memory. When that occurs, the damage will be irreversible.
You should uninstall failed vinyl wrap because the pieces can find their way into other parts of the engine and cause more damage.
You Can Always Perform a Patch Test
If you still have doubts about vinyl wrapping your engine cover, the best solution is to perform a patch test. On an inconspicuous part of your engine cover, install a small piece of vinyl wrap and give it a month or two.
If it’s still there, you can proceed and wrap the entire thing. But if it peels off or cracks, then you will know it’s not a long-term solution.
Will Vinyl Wrap Melt on the Engine Cover?
Vinyl will peel, crack and show all signs of failing but melting is unlikely. If vinyl melts on your engine cover, then you should have your car checked because the temperatures being produced by your engine are abnormal and risky.
As mentioned earlier, vinyl can withstand a temperature of 300 degrees F. Most cars’ engines get up to 250 degrees F. That means there is a little wiggle room. You, therefore, don’t have to worry about vinyl wrap melting on your engine cover.
Will Vinyl Wrap Catch Fire?
When introducing a foreign element to your engine bay, you need to be assured of safety. Considering that the engine bay is an area that experiences a lot of heat, it’s crucial that you don’t add combustible materials to that area.
Vinyl wrap may not work on an engine cover, but it won’t start a fire. Similar to melting, this doesn’t have to be a cause for concern. Instead of fire, you should be worried about the vinyl wrap softening up when exposed to extreme heat.
Painting vs Vinyl Wrapping Engine Covers
Paint has always been the go-to solution for enhancing the aesthetics of car parts. Paint is available in multiple colors and finishes. But how does it compare to vinyl wrapping?
When it comes to painting, there is the option to choose high temp or heat-resistant paints. These paints have exceptional heat-resistant capabilities.
Some such as the POR-15 high temp paint can withstand the heat of up to 1200 degrees F. Yes, you read that right. With such a paint job done on your engine cover, you will never have to worry about the engine being too hot.
Should you find yourself in a scenario where you have to choose between vinyl wrapping an engine cover and painting over it? The latter will provide more durable results. Also, with paint, it can be easily touched up and no one will spot the difference.
The problem with a vinyl wrap is that there is no quick fix. When a part starts to peel, the only option is to get a fresh layer of vinyl wrap.
Will Vinyl Wrap Protect the Engine Cover?
Most people usually think that vinyl wrap is only used for cosmetic purposes. However, it also creates a protective layer that shields your engine cover from dirt, dust, debris, oil spills, and several other things.
Adding a layer of vinyl wrap can protect your car’s engine cover from the above elements. But it’s not as strong as paint or powder coat.
Vinyl wrap is a very sensitive finish and it can easily get damaged that’s why it shouldn’t be used in areas that are exposed to extreme conditions. The other issue with a vinyl wrap is that it won’t last long. Therefore, the protection you will get will be short-lived.
Will Vinyl Wrap Stick to Irregular Shaped Covers?
A vinyl wrap is an excellent choice for adding beauty to your engine cover and protecting it from the elements. However, wrapping complex shapes is often difficult.
If you have an engine cover with irregular edges, there is a likelihood of the wrap failing within a few months. The other thing you have to know is that the wrap will not work if there are cutouts on the cover.
Should You Wrap Your Engine Cover?
There are many benefits of vinyl wrapping a surface. But wrap isn’t designed to be used on all car parts. In an area such as the engine cover, there are a lot of things that can go wrong when you wrap it in vinyl. The project won’t last for very long because of the heat coming from the engine.
Since vinyl wrap isn’t a suitable option, you should consider customized engine covers such as carbon fiber or high temp paint.