Can You Paint Exhaust Pipes? [And How To]

The exhaust system is one of the most commonly modified parts of a vehicle. If you have considered exhaust modifications on your vehicle, you may have wondered if you can paint the pipe. For your convenience, we brought you the answer. 

You can paint exhaust pipes as long as you use high-heat paint. If the paint isn't high-heat, it can bubble and peel off. As a result, you'll need to repaint the exhaust.

Here are the steps to paint your exhaust pipe:

  1. First, clean the exhaust pipe, ensuring there's no more dirt and oil on it.
  2. Next, paint a thin, even coat over the surface of the pipe.
  3. Then, let the paint dry for one hour (or the paint manufacturer's recommendation) and add another coat. You will need to repeat this step until you have about three to four coats for optimum results.
  4. After painting, let your pipe dry for two hours and then turn the car on to help the paint cure.

Now that you know you can paint your exhaust pipe, this article will explain in detail how to paint your exhaust pipe and what kind of paint is best. We will then cover some other questions that you might have about this subject. Without further ado, let's get into it.

A powerful car with exhaust pipe, Can You Paint Exhaust Pipes? [And How To]

Painting The Exhaust Pipe

You can paint exhaust pipes as long as you use high-heat paint. It is crucial to use high-heat paint because other types of paint won't be able to handle the heat from the exhaust pipe. When you don't use high-heat paint, you might have to repaint the exhaust pipe later on.

Start by selecting a high-heat spray paint like Rust-Oleum high heat spray paint:

You can find this product here on Amazon.

1. Clean

Make sure that all oil and dirt is removed from the surface. Cleaning the pipe is important because dirt and oil will prevent the paint from sticking properly.

To clean the pipe, first sand it to make it smooth. A 100 grit sandpaper works well for this. Then, spray water and wipe with a paper towel. After you clean it, put some rubbing alcohol on it to help make sure all the water is evaporated and clean it further.

Let dry for about five minutes.

2. Paint

Once your pipe is clean, apply an even coat of high-heat paint across the surface of the exhaust pipe. 

3. Dry And Recoat

Allow the coat of paint to dry for an hour (or the paint manufacturer's recommendation). Once it is dry, apply another coat of paint lightly and evenly across the surface. Repeat this step until you have three to four coats of paint.

4. Cure the Paint

Two hours after you finish painting, run the engine for 10 minutes, shut it off for 10 minutes, and then drive for 20 minutes. After that, shut the car off for 20 minutes.

Then, drive the vehicle until it reaches operating temperature. Once it reaches operating temperature, shut it off, and let the paint dry the rest of the way.

This step allows the paint to set completely onto your exhaust pipe. ChrisFix's video explains more about how to apply paint to your exhaust pipe:

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On Exhaust Pipes?

An exhaust pipe can heat up several hundred degrees, so it is essential to paint it with high-heat paint. Be sure whatever paint you select is rated to handle 600-1,000 degrees Fahrenheit so that it can withstand the heat.

Here are a few examples of high-heat paints.

Rust-Oleum High Heat Paint

Rust-oleum high heat paint will withstand temperatures up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason, it is an excellent option for your exhaust pipe. In addition, Rust-Oleum also acts as a protective layer that will keep rust away.

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Krylon Automotive High Heat Paint

Krylon automotive high-heat paint is designed to last in temperatures up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, it comes in 15 different colors.

You can find this product here on Amazon.

POR-15 High-Temperature Paint

POR-15 is heat-resistant paint and can withstand temperatures up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. This paint is resistant to cracking and chipping as well as weather and salt.

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Why Are My Exhaust Pipes Turning Blue?

Big exhausts extensions

If your exhaust pipes are turning blue, it could be a sign that they are too hot. When exhaust pipes get too hot, the outside layer of metal will oxidize. As a result, it will create that blue color. 

Any time your exhaust pipe is getting too hot, you will want to figure out why. Some things that can cause your exhaust pipe to heat up are:

  • a lean air-fuel mixture in the engine
  • the ignition timing is off
  • leaks in the exhaust system
  • certain material exhaust pipes

If you have a lean air-fuel mixture, which means you how a low amount of fuel to air in your engine, you may want to check your carburetor, as that is most likely to be the culprit. 

When there is a problem with the ignition timing, extra RPM could be creating wasted energy that's released as excess heat, which causes bluing. Any time your car is producing excess heat, you should have it checked out by a mechanic.

Another cause of bluing is a leak in the exhaust system. This problem could cause extreme heat to flow through the system. For this reason, if you expect a leak in your exhaust system, see a mechanic right away. 

If the exhaust pipe is made of certain materials, it will turn blue easier. This is because some metals, like mild steel and titanium, can blue at lower temperatures.

How Do You Get Rid Of Exhaust Bluing?

Removing bluing on chrome and stainless steel exhaust pipes is simple. All you need to do is polish the metal with an abrasive chemical. The chemical will remove the blueing.

If you want to remove the bluing, there are some products that are designed to do just that.

You can find this product here on Amazon.

A product like Blue-Job Chrome Polish will allow you to remove all the bluing on your exhaust pipes. Plus, if you have a motorcycle, it will work on your motorcycle as well! It will leave your chrome looking shiny and new.

Can I Plasti Dip My Exhaust Tips?

You can Plasti Dip your exhaust tips. Plasti Dip is good for up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, so it should be fine on an exhaust pipe.

It is important to note that if it did get too hot, it would melt a little. However, it would not damage the metal underneath. So you could remove it without damaging the metal if desired.

This product comes in multiple colors and can add a personal flair to your exhaust tips.

You can find this product here on Amazon.

How Do You Keep Exhaust Pipes From Rusting?

Mechanic examines a rusted exhaust pipe

There are a few things you can do to keep your exhaust pipes from rusting. First, you can spray off your vehicle regularly. When you leave dust on your vehicle, it can cause oxidation and rust to form.

Also, to keep your exhaust pipes from rusting, you can drive your vehicle for at least 30 minutes a day. This will allow any water trapped in the muffler to escape, which slows rusting.

Another great way to keep your exhaust pipe from rusting is to buy a good exhaust pipe. If you opt for a cheap exhaust pipe, it may rust very quickly. However, a high-quality stainless steel exhaust pipe can last up to four times longer.

How Long Does An Exhaust Pipe Last?

The lifespan of an exhaust pipe depends on the quality of the exhaust pipe. An original high-quality exhaust pipe can last about 10-15 years if maintained well.

If it is a cheap aftermarket exhaust pipe, then it may not last as long. Some aftermarket exhaust pipes are made of cheap metal that only last six months to a year.

If you buy an aftermarket exhaust pipe, be sure that it is a high-quality model made of stainless steel. This will reduce rust in the future, prolonging its life.

Read more: How Long Should An Exhaust Pipe Last?

What Is A Good After Market Exhaust Pipe?

If you know your exhaust pipe is made of good metal, you can enjoy the paint job longer. It's nice to know you won't need to replace it for a while.

Here are some quality aftermarket stainless steel exhaust pipes.

Blackhorse-Racing 16 Gauge Stainless Steel Straight Exhaust Pipe

With this 16 gauge Blackhorse-Racing stainless steel exhaust pipe, you can paint your exhaust pipe and not worry about rust for years. Since it is made with thick stainless steel, it won't corrode like cheaper exhaust pipes.

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Scitoo 16 Gauge Stainless Steel Straight Exhaust Pipe

Because the Scitoo 16 gauge pipe is made of high-quality metal, it is resistant to warping and cracking. As a result, your paint will last longer, as well as the actual metal the pipe is made of.

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Total Flow 16 Gauge Stainless Steel Straight Exhaust Pipe

This Total Flow 16 gauge stainless steel exhaust pipe is thick and durable. It is a universal pipe and may require some adaptations to fit your vehicle correctly. 

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide helped you better understand the process of painting your exhaust pipe and the benefits of doing so. Before you go, be sure to check out these other guides that might be of interest:

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car?

Do Exhausts Get Louder Or Quieter Over Time?

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