Many car owners take pride in having shiny exhaust tips.
They even spare some time to clean them regularly. On the other hand, some don’t mind having smokey coked-up tips; the darker the color, the better.
Some cars come with shinny stainless or chrome exhausts that develop soot that dulls the steel after washing.
Most car users are unsure whether to apply powder or ceramic coating on their exhaust tips. They often opt for powder coating, which is available in various colors.
However, most car owners prefer a darker theme to contrast the chrome, such as matte black, gloss black, or satin black.
Powder Coating Procedure
Taking Off The Exhaust Tips
The best way to work on your exhaust tips is to remove them from the exhaust pipes.
Unfortunately, some cars have the tips physically attached to the tailpipes or spot-welded at the top and bottom.
If this is your case, you will need to do a lot of masking. Most exhaust tips are held together by spring clips.
Removing exhaust tips requires that you get behind them and apply some WD40 where they lock with the exhaust pipes.
They should easily slide off when you pull them. If the tips feel stuck, you can tap at the back with a rubber mallet to make them loose enough to wiggle off.
Cleaning Of Exhaust Tips
Before powder coating your exhaust tips, you need to clean and polish them up. Preparation is crucial as it provides a surface that allows the coat to adhere evenly.
You can brush the exhaust tips with some sandpaper. And before spraying the coat on the exhaust tip, you must remove the grease on the surface.
After degreasing, the exhaust tips are then chemically cleaned to prepare the surface for an electrostatic paint coating.
Before powder coating, you will need to bead blast the chrome tips. Bead blasting helps a lot to achieve a uniform surface finish.
You can also prepare the surface of a chrome exhaust tip by sandblasting.
Painting With Electrostatic Spray
A particular spray gun is used when applying a powder coat to the exhaust tip.
The powder and the tips are positively and negatively electrostatically charged, respectively. The opposite charges allow the coat to adhere to the exhaust tips.
Next, the powder-coated tips are taken to the oven, where they are baked for a specific time.
Unlike regular paint, powder coating does not dry on its own at room temperature. It must be heated up in an oven and put through a curing process.
Depending on the powder type, powder coating cures at a temperature range between 350 and 450°F over 10 to 15 minutes.
The exhaust tips get hot, so when selecting your coat, go with a high-temp powdered coat for it to last longer.
Each coating powder comes with a specific curing process and values (dwell time and temperature).
Therefore, the coating shop needs to use the correct cure schedule to avoid cases of under or over-curing.
A powder-coated product’s finish quality and performance rely on the curing process (cure schedule).
The powder coating’s final properties rely on the cure schedule, which is available in four stages: melting, flowing, crosslinking, and curing.
The powder melts, and the components (binders, resins, and pigments) fuse at the tips.
During these stages, time, temperature, and rate of temperature change need to be controlled to achieve the best coating quality.
What Is The Cost Of Powder Coating Exhaust Tips?
The cost of powder coating is relatively minimal and can be similar to other options such as ceramic coating.
The price of powder coating exhaust tips ranges from one state to another. For the two exhaust tips, it shouldn’t cost you more than $100.
You will pay more if the tips are welded to the exhaust pipes and need to be removed before powder coated.
Is It Worth It?
Is powder coating exhaust tips worth it? The answer to this question depends on the type of powder coat you select.
The best thing about powder coating exhaust tips is that you have a vast selection of finishes or colors (grey, white, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, purple, and pink).
The curing schedule properties of the finished product should give you the limitations of the amount of heat that the powder coating will hold.
If the exhaust tips get pretty hot, beyond the curing temperature, then they will start to peel off over time.
Depending on your driving and the type of car, the average temperature of exhaust pipes usually lies between 400 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
The temperatures can go up to as high as 1000 ° Fahrenheit and as low as 200 ° Fahrenheit.
To be safe, you will need to determine how hot your car exhaust tips get before powder coating them.
You can use an infrared (IR) thermometer to capture the temperature readings at the exhaust tips.
It is important to note that the reflection of a shiny surface can throw off the readings by at least 100–150 degrees Fahrenheit.
The exhaust system setup will also determine the amount of temperature that reaches the tips.
On the other hand, the system’s layout will depend on your vehicle’s make—the shorter the tailpipes, the hotter the tips.
Since the local shop will powder coat your exhaust tips for a fair price, it is worth trying. The coating should be fine since the tips do not get as hot as the other parts.
Generally, the exhaust tips are the coolest parts of the exhaust system.
Your main concern for powder coating exhaust tips is heat durability.
So, if you wish to proceed with this finishing, you would have to select a powder coat with the highest curing schedule.
It means you should opt for a solution that provides effective heat resistance.
You will be better off if you can find one that can withstand up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some high-temp powder coats can withstand temperatures ranging from 800 to 1000 °F.
Feel free to ask your local shop if they have higher-temperature powder available.
However, you tend to have a limited color selection with a high-temperature powder coating.
Most of the pigments used in the formulation of standard powder coatings fail to maintain their integrity at high temperatures.
The most common colors under high-temp powder coats are black and silver.
Powder coating exhaust tips allow you to express your personality in one of the vehicle’s most gleaming areas.
You must choose your coating carefully to ensure that it lasts a long time and matches your finishing and wheels.
Unless you are running nitrous, powder coating should work fine on your exhaust tips. Furthermore, you’ll need to find a powder coater that is good at the trade.
James has been a car enthusiast since his childhood when he learned the differences between a ford and a chevy from his father. He loves to drive and restore old cars with a special drive for Italian marvels. Currently, he has a 1968 Alfa Romeo. He has studied aeronautics and civil aviation in his college and still gets smitten by Galant SS and Lancer GSR.
He is a New York-based product training director working with a giant automotive retailer. He loves to review and uncover the vehicles and their fascinating stories. He believes in keeping it legitimate with a keen passion for research on the latest technological upgrades in cars. While reading his articles or blogs, you can sense the extensive research and dedication backing the piece of text. He loves fried chicken, music, and spending quality time with his pet dog.