Driver And Driving

Header Or Exhaust Wraps Pros And Cons. Should You Use It?

Mike Cross
Updated Oct 18, 2020
Header Or Exhaust Wraps Pros And Cons. Should You Use It

Your exhaust system may be one of the systems in your car that you don’t think about often. That is because there is not a whole lot that can go wrong with it. A hole may happen in one of the metal tubings over time, but since there is not really any moving parts with your exhaust it is one that can sometimes get overlooked by most average people. This isn’t the case though if you are a racer or into cars. That is because modifying the exhaust is one of the easiest ways to add horsepower to your car and also make it sound cool.

In this article, we will look at one of those modifications that are easy to perform and that is exhaust wrap. Sometimes it is also called wrapping the headers since that is the main part in the exhaust system that gets wrapped. We will look into the pros and cons of header wrap and explain if it is worth doing or not.


Header Or Exhaust Wraps Pros And Cons. Should You Use It
Header Or Exhaust Wraps Pros And Cons. Should You Use It?

What is Header Wrap

What is Header Wrap?Before going into the pros and cons of header wrap we first need to look at what it is. Exhaust wrap is a composite or fiberglass fabric that wraps around and insulates the exhaust system components. The great thing about it is you can choose what parts to wrap in it.

A lot of times people use it to wrap their headers. Exhaust headers are a part that you can add to your car that help make it easier to push exhaust gas out. It is a metal tube that hooks up to the engine and exhaust manifold. It helps eliminate the back pressure in the manifold. It does this may allowing each exhaust cylinder to have its own tube instead of sharing the whole manifold.

So header wrap is a metal fabric that goes around different exhaust components. It normally comes in a few different colors. Black, tan, silver, and white are all common. Also, it can be painted whatever color you want. This means you can match it to your car. Normally the color doesn’t really matter because no one sees it since it is under the hood, but to some people, it does matter. So, now that you know what an exhaust header is and what exhaust wrap is we can move into the pros and cons of it.


The first pro of exhaust wrap is that it pulls heat from the exhaust and lowers undressed temps. This can be a very good thing because heat is not good on moving parts. This means that your engine parts should last longer when using exhaust wrap. The way exhaust wrap reduces heat is since it is metal it absorbs heat from the parts that it is touching quickly. However, since it is not thick metal and the air is passing over it, it does not hold the heat well and instead transfers it to the air. This allows it to then absorb more heat from the exhaust parts and the process continues.

The next big pro of header wrap is that it gives you a little more horsepower. That is because the engine can run at full performance longer. The engine does not have to throttle itself due to getting too hot. This means that if you use header wraps your car will run at optimum power longer. This is really great if you are a racer or if you want your car to sound good.

The next pro of exhaust wrap is that you can custom wrap anything. You can pick and choose which parts get the exhaust wrap. In this article, we are mainly focused on wrapping the header, but you can wrap the whole exhaust system if you want. Along with being able to wrap anything and doing it yourself, it is also cheaper than other options. Another choice besides exhaust wrap is ceramic coated parts, but these cost a lot more. It also takes longer to get them. Exhaust wrap on your header saves you time and money.

By the way, the best obd2 scanner is good tool to check exhaust leak between the first oxygen sensor and engine. You should buy one.


What is Header Wrap?

So, now that you know the pros of header wrap we can now cover the cons. The first main issue with header exhaust wrap is that it only insulates the outside of the part. This is mainly in relation to a ceramic coating covering all the part. If you are just curious about exhaust wrap vs no wrap though, then insulating only the outside is better than having no insulation. The next con is tied to an advantage and that is the engine doesn’t warm up as fast. You may be wondering how is this a con. Didn’t you just say less heat on the engine is a good thing? Well, yes it is most of the time, but in the winter it might not be. That is because the thermostat goes by the engine temperature before it starts blowing hot air. If your engine does warm up as fast, then your heat might not kick on as quickly.

Another con is also tied in with temperature and that is your exhaust will be hotter. This means that your catalytic converter will have to do more work and might fail sooner. This can be an expensive part to replace and some states require a working one, so this is something to keep in mind when choosing to use exhaust wrap on your headers or not. The last con though is the biggest and that is it can hold moisture and trap it. Moisture is not good on metal parts and this trapped moisture can cause your exhaust parts to wear out sooner. One way to counteract the extra moisture is to get stainless steel parts, but they can still rust with enough time and moisture.

Should you use Header Wrap?

So, the question is should you use header wrap? Well, the answer is if you are a racer, then without a doubt yes you should wrap your headers and exhaust system. That is because the cooler temps and extra horsepower will benefit you. Most racers are changing out parts of their car a lot anyway, so the extra moisture won’t cause an issue. If the vehicle is a street car though, then you should really think about it.

The first thing on a streetcar is to consider if the exhaust parts are stainless steel. If they are, then wrapping them probably provides more benefits than not. If they are not stainless though and it is a street car, then you might not want to wrap them. That is because it might lead to you having to change parts out that you wouldn’t otherwise have too. Also, some people just don’t like the look of header wrap. If that is you, then you can always have your exhaust ceramic coated, but this cost more.


So, now you know all you need to know about header wrap and wrapping your exhaust. You know what it is and what it is used for. You know all the pros and cons of header wrap so you can make the best decision possible on if you should use it or not. For most people wrapping your exhaust provides more benefits then positive, but you just have to weight all the factors and figure out if it is the right thing for you to do or not to your vehicle. Only you know if header wrap is right for your exhaust set up based on the pros and cons of it.

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

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One comment on “Header Or Exhaust Wraps Pros And Cons. Should You Use It?”

  1. #Facepalm
    NO, the wrap does NOT "pull heat from the exhaust". It *insulates* the exhaust pipe, keeping more heat *in* it. That's why the engine bay is cooler when the header is wrapped, not hotter.
    And NO, the increase in power is NOT "because the engine can run at full performance longer." Wrapping the exhaust system increases power because hotter gasses move faster, improving the scavenging at the cylinder's exhaust valve. (And more specifically, it's low-RPM torque that's improved; and the trade-off is less high-RPM torque.)
    If you're going to be advising people about things, you really should make sure you understand those things first. Stating your assumptions as facts helps nobody (except maybe your own ego).
    And please, have someone with a better understanding of English grammar proofread your copy before you publish it.

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