Think all exhaust wraps and header wraps are the same? The correct answer to that question is an emphatic NO! While they might look the same, the truth is, the design of the material can differ greatly, and taking the cheap route when choosing a wrap can often lead to nightmares, not to mention a waste of valuable money and time. Heatshield Products’ Steve Heye has seen it during his career in the thermal-barrier industry and shares some of his experience to help you choose the best exhaust or header wrap for your vehicle.

“There is a lot of BS out there,” Steve explained. “Some companies mislead temperature parameters, so people blow a gasket when their advertised 2,000-degree F wrap gets brittle and falls apart. The reality is, Heatshield Products is the only company with a truly 2,000-degree F capable exhaust wrap: our Inferno Wrap™. The Inferno Wrap™ is recommended for turbo, supercharged and racing applications, where exceptionally high exhaust gas temperatures are seen. It isn’t the prettiest turbo heat wrap around, but it’s the only one around that can get the job done above 1,200 F.”

Inferno Header Wrap™ designed continuous temperature of 2,000-degrees F. Inferno Header Wrap™ can withstand intermittent temperatures of 3,000-degrees F, making it the only wrap to use on your forced-induction or racing application.

In addition to ultra-high temp applications, another area where cheaper heat wraps don’t make the grade is in durability. Exposure to normal underhood elements, as well as to exhaust heat, may cause cheaper wraps to literally start disintegrating.

“We get a lot of customers complaining about supposed 1,800F volcanic rock wrap from other companies getting brittle and falling apart. It’s because they were misled that it can take more than 1,200-degrees F, which basalt [volcanic rock] fiber can handle,” Steve said. “Those other wraps might look really cool, but if they can’t take the heat they don’t belong on your ride.”

Pictured above, Heatshield Products' Lava Exhaust Wrap is 25 percent stronger than fiberglass wraps, giving it prolonged life. Heatshield Products Lava Exhaust Wrap withstands continuous temperatures of 1,200-degrees F and intermittent 2,000-degrees F. This is a real-world-tested rating, so beware of inflated temperature claims/ratings of similar basalt/volcanic rock products.

Let’s break down the common “mistake wraps,” and why they’re a sometimes dangerous waste of money:

Imported Heat Wraps – “It’s important to look at where the wrap you’re buying was made, and stick with an American-made exhaust wrap whenever possible. That cheap roll of wrap might be a great deal on eBay, but it can potentially cause serious health problems. A lot of the cheap imported wraps will use filler fibers (ceramic and rayon, to name a few) in their construction. While ceramic fibers sounds great, they can be very dangerous in an exhaust wrap. Ceramic fibers are shorter than the non-breathable e-glass, basalt or silica fibers we use. The short fibers used make cheap wraps susceptible to fraying, and they can be inhaled easily, which poses a danger to your lungs. In addition, there are so many variations and grades of these fibers that ceramic fibers might have a lower temperature threshold than fiberglass fibers.”

Exhaust Wrap Sprays – “We don’t make them, we don’t sell them, we don’t necessarily believe in them outside of cosmetic motivations. If you have to buy a silicone spray to ‘seal’ your wrap for proper thermal-barrier function and to give it reasonable longevity, you have the wrong wrap,” Steve noted. “You are better off starting with a higher quality wrap [see the part about fibers mentioned above], which already has a superior coating manufactured into the wrap. If people must spray for color matching or to try to minimize color, they should really do themselves a favor and go buy some quality exhaust paint, like VHT. Not only will this cost less than the rebadged silicone spray sold by other companies, it will actually take more heat and last longer.”

Know Your Temperatures – Lastly, ensure the exhaust wrap you’re selecting can handle the heat of what you’re installing it on. Do temperature measurements on your exhaust before you buy some wrap. Match that measurement to the operating temperature of the exhaust wrap. We boldly and accurately state operating and peak temperatures. Not all manufacturers do so. Read the fine print. Don’t let the desire for a cool look overrule the performance of the wrap. Make sure you get the right wrap for your measured exhaust temperatures.

Cobra Skin™ Exhaust Wrap uses the same HPTC coating as our Premium Exhaust Wrap, and features a special weave that makes it easier to wrap around bends in pipes and creates a carbon-fiber appearance after it has been installe. Cobra Skin™ Exhaust Wrap to sustain 1,350 degrees F continuously. This thermal wrap for your exhaust system will increase temperature parameters, and remain flexible and strong. For most header wraps, the fiberglass will become weak and brittle at 1,000 degrees F, and typical coatings will extend the base temp to 1,200 degrees F, but the fibers will still become brittle. With our HPTC coating, the Cobra Skin™ has a higher rated continuous temperature of 1,350 degrees F, and the fibers remain flexible