Engine paint jobs take quite the beating during a car’s early years. They have to withstand harsh temperatures, survive reactions with gasoline, and retain their shine and color.
Most factory paint jobs aren’t designed to cut it in the long run. Which is why a stronger and more durable coating is required after a few years. And that’s where engine enamels come in.
Engine enamel paints are not only designed to tolerate extreme temperatures, but they do so without affecting the gloss of the engine. This means your engine looks as good as new, even if you’ve pushed it to its limit.
But finding the right engine enamel can be more tedious. For your convenience, we have listed and reviewed 5 of the best engine enamel paints. These are chosen based on their performance and reliability.
- Best Engine Enamel Paints Comparison Table
- Top 5 Best Engine Enamel Paints In 2020 Reviews
- Best Engine Enamel Paints Buying Guide
- Benefits Of Engine Enamel Paints
- Top Brands
- Engine Enamel Paints Pricing
Best Engine Enamel Paints Comparison Table
|Products||Package Size||Color||Heat Threshold||Rating|
Dupli-Color Engine Enamel
|(5 / 5)|
Vht Engine Enamel Gloss Black Can
|(4.6 / 5)|
Rust-Oleum 248941 Automotive
|(4.8 / 5)|
|(4.6 / 5)|
|(4.5 / 5)|
Top 5 Best Engine Enamel Paints In 2020 Reviews
1 Dupli-Color Engine Enamel
For a product that combines versatility with heat-resistance, take a look at the Dupli-Color Engine Enamel. Available in multiple colors, this enamel can be applied to just about anything that can withstand high heat. Engines, calipers, ovens, cast iron frames; the Dupli-Color has got it covered, quite efficiently.
The Dupli-Color Engine Enamel utilizes ceramic resins. These resins are known for their high heat dissipation, which helps prevent heat damage to the paint job. They’re also able to retain their gloss for a long. So, your engine will look just like new every time you open the hood.
To be more specific, the Dupli-Color can take on temperatures as high as 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it an ideal engine enamel for high-speed racing and traveling. The enamel has been designed to not blister or peel off easily. And it doesn’t crack when applied correctly to your engine.
It is recommended to wait at least one hour after applying the enamel before you handle the engine. This is a quick-drying formula that takes only half an hour to dry. But the engine still shouldn’t be touched within an hour of applying.
This is a good enamel to paint engines made for racing, restoration, and street rod. It can also be used as general-purpose spray paint, especially for high-heat applications. And it can be applied to other parts of the car too, such as brake calipers.
However, keep in mind this enamel is not water-resistant. It shouldn’t be used to cover parts of the car and other instruments that might get splashed with water. So it shouldn’t be used on artworks if you fear the art will be ruined by splashing.
- 500 degrees F heat threshold.
- Good for engine and vehicle use.
- You can use it on furniture and ovens.
- Dries within an hour of applying.
- Gloss retention.
- Not good when it becomes in contact with cold water.
- Looks more silver than blue.
2 Vht Engine Enamel Gloss Black Can
The VHT ESP124007 engine enamel is a great choice for its durability and chemical resistance. It can withstand anything from gasoline and degreasers to even UV light. And cures within a few hours.
This engine enamel is made from a blend of ceramic resins and urethane. The resins allow this enamel to withstand temperatures as high as 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ceramic resins are also apt at retaining the natural gloss of the spray, which allows your engine to look just as good as new. The addition of urethane makes this enamel strong and durable. It isn’t affected by the sun, natural corrosion, rusting, salt, and the chemicals in gasoline and other fluids.
Why does this matter?
You get a product that is much more versatile than its counterparts and can withstand the elements. The key point to note here is its chemical resistance, which isn’t featured in a lot of enamels these days.
Curing the enamel is simple. It takes 30 minutes to become dry partially, and a few hours to dry completely. The enamel will get cured whenever the temperature of the surface will reach 200 F or above. The instructors are all printed on the can, which makes them handy and useful.
Much like other engine enamels, you can use the VHT for non-vehicle related purposes as well. It’s good for ovens, electrical equipment, and artwork as well. The chemical resistant in particular may intrigue you, as chemical corrosion is a common issue.
However, keep in mind this is only for 500 F applications. So you can’t use it for your car’s exhaust. Also, you need to cure it at 200 F. If you’re applying it to places that won’t get heated, you may have trouble curing it.
- Versatile applications.
- Good for artwork and ovens.
- High chemical resistance.
- 30-minute quick drying.
- Retains natural gloss.
- Needs heat to cure.
3 Rust-Oleum 248941 Automotive
If you want to protect your engine from rust and sunlight, try this enamel spray from Rust-Oleum. This is a 12-ounce aerosol spray can that comes in a bright glossy Chevy orange color. It’s formulated to be highly heat and rust-resistant and can survive chemical corrosion.
To start with…
It can withstand temperatures as high as 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it r as well as kitchen equipment and furnaces. But it shouldn’t be used in cases where the temperature will be higher than 500 F, such as car exhaust or open flames.
The rust-resistance not only secures the paint but the metal underneath as well. So it’s a great way to keep your car’s components free from corrosion and rusting.
Rust-Oleum spray does not get corroded by oil, grease, gas, and other solvents. Hence, the surface underneath will also not get affected by these chemicals.
This spray is also resistant to damage and washing off by humidity. Though, it’s still not recommended to submerge in water. But it can survive a few splashes.
However, the slow drying time may annoy you. It can take up to 48 hours to fully dry. And only after that, you can touch the equipment.
After 48 hours, the paint will be fully dried. You won’t need to “bake it on” or, in other words, heat it to cure it. This makes it suitable for applications that don’t even require a lot of heat.
The Rust-Oleum features a natural shine that doesn’t get degraded with time. It comes in an easy-to-spray bottle that can be used at various angles.
- Protects the surface from rust.
- Can handle gas and chemicals.
- Does not wash off with light splashes.
- Does not need to “bake”.
- Easy-spray bottle.
- Takes 48 hours to fully dry.
4 Seymour Hi-Tech Engine Spray Paint
For lower-heat applications and superior durability, try this Cummins Beige enamel from Seymour. The Seymour EN-73 is a high-tech spray paint that restores natural shine and color to car engines and OEM parts.
Do you need more?
This product is thermally resistant up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s still a good choice for use in engines and other car parts. However, it can’t be used in ovens and kitchen appliances, which can reach well above 500 degrees. You also can’t use this paint for your car’s exhaust or furnaces that reach temperatures above 300 degrees. However, you may use it for the brake calipers.
When using spray paints for painting, the main concern is with VOC emissions. This is why you’ll be surprised to know the Seymour EN-73 is VOC compliant. You can safely use this paint without worrying about air quality or respiratory problems. But this should be used in a ventilated area.
Here’s a catch…
Seymour’s products do not employ mercury, lead, chromates, and other heavy metals. Each can of EN-73 has been formulated with water-based resins that are a great upgrade from solvent-based resins. However, they are highly susceptible to water damage and washing off. Hence, this can not be used for waterproofing surfaces.
As for application, the colors are all bright and vibrant. And the paint has a gloss that doesn’t wither with time. The spray applies quite evenly, with no clumps or falling drops. And you can get the job done in just one or two light coats.
Use this paint for engines, brake calipers, and other OEM parts. Make sure the temperature inside your engine doesn’t reach above 500 F. Otherwise, the paint will start to bubble and degrade.
- Restores color and shine to OEM parts.
- VOC compliant.
- No heavy metals.
- Stronger formula.
- Even application with no clumps.
- Cannot survive higher temperatures.
- Not waterproof.
5 Dupli-Color Engine Paint Universal Black Aerosol
The Dupli-Color DUPBT26 is a quick-drying anti-drip formula suitable for applications on metal, plastic, and even wood. It has a heat-resistance rating of up to 300 F, and naturally resists rust formation and grease damage.
Brite Touch’s engine enamel has been designed to quickly dry in just 30 minutes. And the surface is safe to handle in just an hour after applying.
What’s the benefit?
You also don’t need to apply heat to fully cure it. This makes it ideal to use in situations where this surface doesn’t subject to heat.
Due to this, the enamel can be applied to surfaces that would generally degrade under heat, such as wood and plastic. However, keep in mind this is not a flame-retardant.
It uses a special acrylic formulation that doesn’t drip or run while you apply it. Hardly 1 or 2 coatings are necessary. And the application is smooth and easy too, with no clumps or dripping. You can use the spray bottle at various angles to the surface.
This product is chemically resistant to corrosion by oil and grease. And it protects the surface underneath from corrosion and rusting. This means you can use it to protect your cast iron equipment.
The low heat threshold doesn’t warrant use on ovens and furnaces, since they tend to reach higher temperatures. However, it’s still a great choice for engines, brake calipers, and other components present under the hood.
Last but not the least…
This is a universal black color that will match most themes. Unfortunately, it’s not available in many other colors and doesn’t hold up well against water damage. But the color has an intense shine that stands out from other enamels.
- Dries in just 30 minutes.
- Bright and glossy black color.
- Chemically resistant.
- Can withstand temperatures of 300 F.
- Easy application and only requires 2 coats.
- Low heat threshold.
- Doesn’t put up well against water.
Best Engine Enamel Paints Buying Guide
- Heat Threshold
When picking out an engine enamel, its level of heat resistance is an important factor. Most enamel paints recommend the usage with engines and can withstand up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you will find some enamels that can only tolerate up to 300 F or less. If your engine doesn’t get excessively hot, you can use it for them too.
Some engine enamels can have higher thresholds, well above 2,000 Fahrenheit. These are mostly general-purpose and you can use them on other equipment too, such as grills and furnaces.
500 F is usually enough for your engine, as it won’t even reach this much of temperature in the first place. But for other applications, higher heat thresholds are good.
- Chemical Resistance
Depending on your use, you may want the enamel to resist chemical dissolution and corrosion. Most enamels are water-soluble and don’t mix with automotive fluids, such as gasoline and grease. However, this also makes them readily washable.
You’ll also want chemical resistance if you fear that chemicals will touch the surface. By applying a coat of the engine enamel, you will protect the surface from chemicals and the corrosion or damage as well.
- Color And Gloss
This may seem a bit obvious, but it’s not always easy to decide. You want to get an engine enamel color that matches the original color of your engine. The best engine enamel paints will match the exact color of the car as per the advertisement.
Gloss is another important factor. Even if the original paint wasn’t that glossy, you can still revamp it with good engine enamel. You may also want to look into matt enamels, which may refer to as “flat” colors.
- Primers And Top Coats
Finally, consider whether you need primers and topcoats. Your work isn’t done after simply applying a few coats of paint. A primer will help create a smoother finish, and will further prevent rust and corrosion on your engine.
You may not always need one. But it can be a luxury to have. A primer might require to fully cure it.
Topcoats are also a good investment. They help further protect the engine and OEM parts from corrosion and water damage. And they preserve the natural shine of the paint job underneath.
Benefits Of Engine Enamel Paints
- Heat Resistance
Engine enamel paints are heat-resistant. And as such, they can survive the extreme temperatures your engine subjects itself to. These paints can maintain their texture and color at temperatures where normal paint would start to bubble.
But you should be very careful when using engine paints elsewhere. Each painting has its heat threshold, and some surfaces can get hotter than your engine. So a 500 F enamel paint won’t work with say a charcoal grill, which can reach upwards of 1000 F.
- Restore Gloss
The main reason people use engine enamel paints is to restore the beauty and shine of their engine. So, transparent paint works wonders.
You can also use these paints to restore the color to other equipment, such as brake calipers and ovens. But make sure the paint can survive the heat.
- Rust Prevention
Another reason why people use engine enamel paint is to rust-proof the surface in question. A lot of enamel paints do not rust, since they contain no iron parts. And as such, they can present as a powerful barrier against rusting for the surface they cover.
This is true for other forms of corrosion due to atmospheric action. In this way, you can keep the exterior of your engine safe from the elements.
- Reselling Cars And Components
Restoring the natural gloss and shine of your car or its components can be a big factor in increasing resale value. A lot of car dealers and antique collectors like to restore vehicles to their original condition before reselling them.
Dupli-Color is by far the biggest name in the automotive restoration industry. They specialize in all sorts of paints and external coatings for vehicle components, such as engines and exhausts. And their enamels work great on both passenger cars and heavy-duty trucks.
This brand is notorious for its long line of primers and topcoats as well. It has over 60 unique products, ranging from truck bed coatings to vinyl and fabric coatings. It produces metallic coatings for that extra shine as well.
VHT stands for Very High Temperature and is the manufacturer of 4 different kinds of special heat-resistant enamels. This brand features flame-proof paint that can withstand high temperatures, up to 2000 F.
It’s also the pioneer of general-purpose vinyl dye for your car and engine parts. The line-up also includes a special Motorsport enamel made just for 2 and 4-stroke engines of motorcycles. Along with that, you get a Quick Coat enamel for fiberglass and plastic surfaces.
Since its inception in 1921, Rust-Oleum has grown to be one of the leading producers of enamels for engines and car parts. Its products are famous for their rust-resistant capabilities.
They’re also great as general paints for use on household items and kitchen appliances.
Engine Enamel Paints Pricing
- Under $10
In this range, you can find a good set of products. They may be lower in quality. But mostly, the real difference will be in the can size. You’ll mostly find spray cans in this range, with smaller bottles and easy-spray nozzles.
The formulation won’t be complex though. It will usually be a simple polymer or water-based compound that is pretty similar to regular spray paints.
- Between $10 And $20
You can find quite a few decent products in this range if you look into the right brands. However, the paints may not include ceramic, which is a crucial component for gloss and shine retention. The temperature threshold will also be lower, generally somewhere around 300 to 500 F.
- Over $20
In this range, you’ll be able to get a handful of quality products. These will include ceramic resins, which enhance the shine and elegance of the paint. You may also be able to slip in a primer or two, for the final touch-up.
Products costlier than $20-$30 will have higher temperature thresholds, up to 2000 Fahrenheit. However, you should ask yourself if you need them. Most of the time, they will be a luxury than a necessity.
Engine enamels can certainly upgrade your engine and gain a lot of resale value for it. These enamels are not only good for car parts but kitchen appliances and household equipment as well.
And if you manage to get the right one, you’ll be looking at years of shine and rust prevention. For this purpose, we chose the Dupli-Color Enamel as the top pick for the best engine enamels.
This enamel, aside from coming from a reliable brand, is a good all-round product for its features. It can survive temperatures as high as 700 F without bubbling and dries in just an hour of applying.
It’s not waterproof though but uses a premium ceramic resin formula. And because of this, it’s chemically resistant to corrosion and gasoline stains.
But formulae work differently in each car. To find the right engine enamel for your car, and sparkle up that banger today!