You have a shiny new car, and you want to keep it that way. But your exhaust pipe is looking a little dull, and you’re not sure what to do about it. How can you make sure your exhaust pipe stays looking clean and beautiful?
The simple answer is to polish it! It is a common practice that you can use to make your vehicle look shiny and new. Whether you have a well-used truck or a classic Mustang, keep reading to learn how to polish the exhaust pipe and make your car stand out from the crowd.
Why is polishing the exhaust pipe necessary?
Exhaust pipes are made from metal (usually stainless steel) which is coated with an alloy called copper-nickel. This coating helps prevent rust and corrosion—which means your car will last longer if it’s protected from rusting out.
But over time, the coating can wear off or be damaged by heat or chemicals (like acid rain), which makes your exhaust pipe vulnerable to oxidation and rusting. Small quantities of gas inside your exhaust pipe ignite as carbon dioxide is released, and that carbon deposits, turning it black. And when that happens, let’s just say it isn’t pretty. The good news is that there are ways for you to protect your precious car from rust damage.
It’s important to note that polishing your pipe will not have a big impact on the performance of your vehicle, but it could help increase its value if you plan on selling it at some point in the future. If you’re worried about performance, then you may want to consider replacing the entire system instead of just polishing it.
If you’ve ever had to polish your exhaust pipe, you know it’s a tedious process. But with these easy steps, you’ll be on your way to a shiny, new pipe in no time.
How to polish the exhaust pipe: Step by Step Instruction
So what are some ways you can polish the pipes? Here are some of our favorite tips.
1. Cleaned With Soap and Water
The first step to polishing and protecting your exhaust pipe is to clean it really well. You can clean the pipe with soap and water and a microfibre cloth. This will remove any loose dirt that might be stuck on there, which can help prevent scratches during polishing. Try not to scratch the vehicle’s paint or use brushes that are too rough.
Carwashcountry is advising us to always use a separate bucket for the clean water and be ready to get dirty because this procedure can get quite chaotic.
Just use a sponge or rag with warm water mixed in with some dish soap to clean off any grime on the surface of your exhaust pipe, then rinse it off really well with water. Use a dry cloth afterward to wipe away any excess moisture and let everything dry off before moving on to step two: degreasing.
2. Degrease the pipe
Next, degrease it with some household cleaner like 409 or Simple Green. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before scrubbing it out with a brush or rag. You’ll want to use this sparingly—too much could damage the pipe or cause corrosion over time.
This will help loosen any dirt or grime so it comes off more easily when you wash it later. Make sure to get all of the greases off before moving on to step two—polishing an oily surface won’t lead to any good results.
Most degreasers will also help dissolve rust buildup over time, so they’re an excellent choice for general cleanup as well as preparing surfaces for polishing.
3. For tough buildup, use automotive steel wool
The last step before using the actual polish is to make sure everything is perfectly clean. If your car is older or you’ve got old dirt accumulated for a long time, use automotive steel wool for the buildup. This is a very mild abrasive that won’t scratch or damage your paint in any way.
If there are just a few spots that need a little extra scrubbing, go ahead and use regular steel wool (which can be found at any hardware store). It will scrub away all of the rust and leave behind nothing but smooth, shiny metal that looks brand new.
If there’s more than just a little bit of buildup on your pipe, though, we recommend using a wire brush attachment on an electric drill or power tool of some kind. Once again, make sure that everything is clean before moving on to step four.
4. Get to polishing
Now that you are finally ready to polish, we recommend using a polishing compound designed specifically for exhaust pipes—they’re usually available at auto parts stores or even better yet, online. Follow the instructions on the label carefully. Use high-grade wax or polish on the surface of the pipe. Be sure not to use any polish that contains abrasive particles—these could scratch the metal over time.
Apply metal polish directly onto a rag or towel and don’t spray it directly on the pipe. That will cause streaks and leave too much residue behind. Use circular motions to apply metal polish to the pipe. Don’t rub in one direction only—you’ll just be creating more streaks.
After that, you’ll want to wipe off any excess polish by using another microfiber towel or rag—you don’t need much pressure here since you’ve already applied enough product! Just make sure you’re getting all surfaces covered evenly before moving on to the next step.
Let everything dry thoroughly before using any products on top of them (such as wax). If there’s anything left behind after washing off all traces of cleaner or polish from around where it touches other surfaces or parts of yourself or others, then there could be problems later on down.
The majority of oxidation may be removed by a skilled polisher, returning your exhaust tips to their former glory. You may also use it to clean or brighten chrome bumpers or any metal surface.
5. Keep your exhaust tips safe over time
You’ve just finished polishing your car’s exhaust tips, but what now? How can you keep them looking fresh, shiny, and protected? The answer is simple: use a sealant.
A sealant is a special kind of clear coat that contain acids that help protects the metal from oxidation and help keep it looking new for longer. Blackfire is a good sealant for metals to reduce buildup over time. It’s a paste-like substance that comes in a can with a sponge applicator attached to it—just squeeze out a little bit onto the applicator, and then rub it into the surface of your exhaust pipe until it’s completely covered.
This kind of product is important if you want long-lasting protection against oxidation (which dulls metal over time) and UV rays from sunlight exposure (which cause discoloration). You can apply the sealant with either a brush or a roller, whichever method you prefer.
It’s a great way to keep your exhaust tips protected from rusting and oxidation over time, as well as make sure that they look good for many years.
Jake’s Workshop video also has some amazing tips on how to perfectly clean and polish your pipes so that it lasts.
6. Polish less often
It might sound tempting, but polishing your exhausting pipe every time it isn’t perfectly shiny might actually cause more damage than good.
The problem is that the metal used in pipes is not very durable in its raw state. When you polish them, you remove some of the surface coatings, exposing the bare metal underneath. The more you polish away at this layer, the more vulnerable they become to rusting and corrosion.
The more often you polish the pipes, the faster they will wear down and need to be replaced. Instead of polishing them every time they get dirty (which is really hard), try waiting until they get really dirty before polishing them again. You’ll save yourself some time in between cleanings.
Polishing your exhaust pipes is the only way to make them stay looking as beautiful as they did when you first installed them and help them get back their original shine.
Polishing will help keep your car or motorbike looking its best for years to come. It will also keep your car running smoothly and efficiently by allowing the engine to run cooler and more quietly.
And if you have any more questions, remember we are always ready to answer them.
Quick run up:
- Clean the exhaust pipe with soap and water
- Degrease the pipe
- For tough buildup, use automotive steel wool
- Get to polishing
- Keep your exhaust tips safe over time
- Polish less often