Whether you are resto-modding an old muscle car, custom building a hotrod, or just looking to add a little color to your engine bay, engine paint can go a long way in improving the cosmetics underneath the hood. Furthermore, it also has the advantage of adding some protection against corrosion, so not only will you make your car’s engine bay look good but you’ll also keep it looking good for quite some time. In addition to cars, engine paint (also referred to as engine enamel on occasion) can also provide the same benefits to motorcycle engines. As far as what you can paint, there are a vast number of components that you can paint ranging from intake components to engine blocks to valve covers. People will also use it to paint other components that experience high heat including transmission housings, brake calipers, starters, water pumps, headers, differential housings, and various engine brackets. It should also be noted that engine paint makes one of the best paints for your wheels.
When it comes to actually using engine paint, the best engine paint jobs are the ones that have had the best preparation. You should ensure that your engine block (or whatever component you are painting) is completely clean and free of grime, well masked to make sure that you don’t paint anything unintended, surface prepped to the paint will adhere properly, and coated with primer prior to applying paint. In general when applying any aerosol paint, it is recommended that you use multiple light coats and apply gradually. Heavy, wet coats tend to get drippy and result in visible drip marks and runs. After coating, engine paint must typically be cured. This can be done in an oven if you are painting a bare component that has previously been entirely disassembled, however curing is most often accomplished by installing the component in the car and driving as the heat cycling of the engine as it warms up and cools down is typically all that’s required.
The Best Engine Paint
When it comes to the best engine paint product, the one we have had the most success with is the VHT Engine Enamel. Duplicolor’s Engine Enamel comes in a close second. The VHT paint has always been great and we find it to be a bit easier to apply evenly than the others. It is also long lasting and resistant to chips and cracking.
The VHT Engine Enamel comes in a variety of options. As far as finish, it is available in Flat, Satin, Gloss, and Metallic. It can also be had in almost any color under the sun including various shades of orange, red, blue, green, yellow, pink, etc. VHT also has brand specific colors that match manufacturer paint codes such as Pontiac Blue, Chevy Orange Red, and Ford Competition Blue.
The VHT Engine Enamel is particularly robust and resists pretty much any automotive chemical or fluid whether it be gasoline, coolant, or oil. It is also resistant to salt spray, so it’s ideal for those drivers who spend considerable time driving in the snow in locales with salted roads.
Prior to applying their paint, VHT recommends that you use their SP575 Stripper to accomplish surface prep followed by their SP148 Primer. After that you add a color of your choice and then can finish it off with VHT’s Clear Engine Enamel (or not) depending on your preference.
As far as where to buy, Amazon.com typically has a pretty compelling price coupled with a wide color selection so you can get the surface prep, primer, and color all in one go. This typically also results in the best price for everything combined. Overall, we think you will be extremely happy with the VHT Engine Enamel if you are looking for the best engine paint for your car or motorcycle components. Happy wrenching!