Why a Flexible Exhaust Wrap is Best
There’s more to picking the right exhaust wrap for your application than just looking at the temperature rating of a given product. You’ve got to be aware of a product’s resistance to water, oil, and other solvents things on a car are typically exposed to, durability against friction of something rubbing up against the wrap, but one that often gets overlooked is the exhaust wrap’s ability to maintain an optimal amount of flexibility, even after numerous heat cycles, exposure to the elements, etc. That’s where Heatshield Products has spent extra development time in the design and makeup of our entire exhaust wrap line.
The reason this is important is due to the natural laws of physics. When the metal piping of an exhaust system and headers heats from the hot exhaust gasses passing through it, that metal expands. In the reverse, after the engine is shut off, that piping cools, and the metal contracts. This constant heating and cooling of the piping means the metal is always expanding and shrinking, sometimes suddenly if parts of the exhaust are doused with water from a vehicle driving through water, mud, etc. Through all of these cycles, the exhaust wrap has to conform to the piping, and if the wrap isn’t capable of flexing with the growth and contraction cycles along with withstanding the heat, it will soon become strained and eventually start to come apart.
ABOVE: Lava Exhaust Wrap carries a real world temperature rating of constant 1200-degrees and intermittent up to 2000-degrees. This means it will stay flexible and not become brittle as long as it isn't kept at maximum temperature too long or often.
Take for instance our Lava Exhaust Wrap. Capable of withstanding continuous temps of 1200-degrees and intermittent temps of 2000-degrees, Lava Exhaust Wrap’s special fibers remain flexible no matter how many heat cycles the wrap is exposed to within its operational temperature range up to 1200-degrees, meaning it won’t become brittle or start falling apart because it has no elasticity. Cheaper, less capable exhaust wraps have a fiber makeup that mean once they’re installed and heat cycled a few times, they lose what little elasticity they have especially if they remain at or above their operational temperature range for too long, and the fibers become strained and eventually break, meaning the wrap won’t stay tight around the pipes, and/or becomes brittle and starts falling off in pieces.
It’s critical to note that when selecting an exhaust wrap, you need to be aware of what your actual temperature operating range is going to be, while keeping in mind that a wrapped header/exhaust pipe will be getting significantly hotter than an unwrapped pipe, because the wrap is doing exactly what it should, keeping the heat in the pipe, meaning the metal and exhaust gasses will be getting hotter. Any wrap except for our specially formulated Inferno Header Wrap will become brittle and lose integrity if it is operated above its maximum continuous operating temperature too often and for too long.
ABOVE: Inferno Header Wrap has a real world constant temp rating of 2000-degrees, andthanks to its specially designed/formulated fibers, will always stay flexible no matter how many max-temp heat cycles it goes through, meaning it can be uninstalled then reinstalled when necessary for vehicle maintenance, along with resisting abrasion and chemical exposure.
Another important reason for installing an exhaust wrap with proper flexibility is if you ever need to uninstall the wrap to service your vehicle’s engine or exhaust system. Even if a cheap exhaust wrap is staying in place on your pipes, if you have to remove it, odds are that wrap is now junk and can’t be reinstalled. Compare that with Inferno Header Wrap, which thanks to its special silica fiber makeup, can withstand constant temps of 2000-degrees, intermittent temps of 3000-degrees, and still remains flexible through all those heat cycles, to the point it can be uninstalled if necessary, and reinstalled just like when it was new. And Inferno Header Wrap will never get brittle unless it stays over 2000-degrees for a sustained period, at which point you’ve probably got much bigger problems to worry about than the thermal barrier wrap around your pipes!
So in the end, you might initially save some dollars by going with the cheap exhaust wrap, but ultimately you’ll end up spending more when you have to replace it because it’s either become inflexible/brittle and started falling off your pipes, or you’ve had to perform exhaust repairs/modifications that required removal of the exhaust wrap, and it’s incapable of being reinstalled.