A Buyer’s Guide to Car Heat Shields
So let’s guess, you would do anything in your power to keep your precious car up and running in perfect shape. Regardless of whether it’s a new model or you’ve had it for many years already, it’s important that you take all those necessary tweaks. You don’t even have to be a car enthusiast to do this either, all drivers should be aware of all the bare essentials that become part of their responsibility whenever they get a car.
With that said, there’s a never-ending list of car accessories that you’ll probably need at some point in your life. Sure, you can do all the makeovers you want on the outside but it’s what’s under the hood that matters most. Everything that’s piled up in there is what makes your vehicle useful in the first place. So let’s say you drive your car around for some time. After a while, it starts to heat up, and quite expectedly so. While there’s nothing wrong with a car engine cooling system, there’s one more piece of equipment that’ll prevent your car from overheating – wrapping up those hot parts with durable auto heat shield material and preventing unwanted scenarios. Let’s dive into what it all means.
Do Cars Need a Heat Shield?
The short answer is yes, they do. If you want the long answer, keep reading to find out just how important heat shields are. Truth is, cars can actually function without heat shields but only for a limited amount of time. Continuous exposure to high temperatures can have detrimental effects on your car’s performance. Think about it this way, would you take a sip of your coffee if it was burning hot? Didn’t think so. Your car will definitely not appreciate the warmth either.
In general terms, heat shields usually have one or more metal layers that are designed to wrap around the part of your car that conducts the most heat – the exhaust system. The shield serves as a barrier, preventing the heat from making contact with all the other parts under the hood and causing damage in its wake.
When Is It Time to Add a New Heat Shield?
Regardless of whether you’ve installed a heat shield before, there are a few tell-tale signs that should tell you if you need a new one. If you pay close attention to these signals and act quickly, you’ll definitely save yourself a lot of trouble in the future.
Excessive Engine Heat
Perhaps the first and most common sign is a significant rise in temperature levels in the engine area. Without proper insulation from the appropriate protective gear, the heat produced from the engine itself will eventually seep into the engine bay and cause lots of problems as it goes. This, in turn, will make the engine much hotter than it’s supposed to be.
So basically, if your car is much warmer when you open the hood, there’s probably something going on. In extreme cases, the front part of the car might get hot to the touch when excessive heat is produced.
Naturally, if something heats up uncontrollably, it’s bound to start burning at some point. If it gets to any plastic or delicate car parts, you might even see smoke coming from the hood. You don’t have to be an expert to know that that’s a bad sign. In cases like this, your car could end up being damaged beyond repair.
If your existing heat shield is damaged, either from external factors or due to rust, you’ll likely hear a faint rattling sound coming from the engine bay. This is because that piece of hardware is no longer able to serve its original purpose so it just ends up vibrating along with other car parts. In any case, this will definitely not be able to offer the level of protection you’re looking for.
Key Considerations when Buying a Heat Shield
Now that we’ve determined that you’re in dire need of a new heat protector, it’s time to dive into some key factors that should help you reach a decision.
As previously mentioned, the main purpose of this kind of shield is to be wrapped around the exhaust pipe as the main source of heat. However, you’re certainly not limited to that area only. In fact, some people choose to use them on the radiator, turbo and header manifold. It all depends on the type of car you have and whether or not you’re facing any heating issues, to begin with. If you don’t take proper action to minimise these issues, your care will more than likely break down at some point in the future. For this reason, we recommend that you talk to a professional for more guidance and additional information for the particular make and model of your vehicle.
It’s not surprising that we’re coming across a bit of diversity here as well. As is the case with virtually anything these days, there are a bunch of options when it comes to your auto heat shield material. The most common one is a fibreglass composition coupled with metal since it’s quite sturdy and long-lasting. But you’ll probably come across a few shields made of carbon and other lightweight materials that should do the job just fine.