best engine paint

The Best Engine Paint 2019

Improving the appearance of the engine bay can be achieved by using a high temp engine paint. Unlike standard paints, they are specifically designed to withstand high temperatures and the tough environment.

The best engine paint is the Rust-Oleum 248932 Engine Enamel, which provides a durable and smooth finish in multiple colors.

Depending upon the construction of the engine block, the engine paint must withstand at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Failing to resist the high temperature will result in cracking or peeling of the paint after application.

Best Engine Paint

Engine PaintApplicationColors
Rust-Oleum 248932Spray Can11
VHT ESP124007Spray Can31
POR-15 42268Brush7
Dupli-Color DE1635Spray Can28
PlastiKote 203Spray Can18

Using a high temp engine paint can completely transform the engine bay. Most brands provides colors to match the factory finish and resist oil, gas, grease, rust, salt, humidity and other solvents.

Application of an engine paint can be achieved by brush or a spray can. However, to achieve the best finish, thorough preparation is required before the application.

Below is a list of the best engine paint that is able to withstand high temperatures within the engine bay.

Rust-Oleum 248932 Engine Enamel Paint


Rust Oleum are a reputable brand within the rust prevention paint industry and this engine enamel formula follows the same reputation. It is one of the most popular engine paints that is made in the USA with a choice of 11 colors.

This engine paint not only improves aesthetics of the engine bay but also provide resistance against oil, gas, grease, rust, salt and solvents.

Other features of the Rust Oleum Engine Enamel include:

  • Resists up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Comfort tip spray nozzle
  • Long lasting smooth finish
  • Made in the USA
  • 12 oz bottle

The Engine Enamel formula has been designed specifically for automotive engines and provides a long lasting finish. It does come with a premium price per spray can but its a worthwhile investment that is available in multiple color options.

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VHT ESP124007 Engine Enamel Paint


One of the most popular engine paints is the VHT formula, which provides superior durability and a high quality finish. For those that don’t have days to apply the paint, this formula is dry to touch in just 30 minutes.

The brand offer this engine enamel in a total of 31 different colors, which is more than enough to suit most peoples requirements.

Other features of the VHT Engine Enamel Paint include:

  • Excellent heat and chemical resistance
  • Withstand heat up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Urethane and ceramic resin formula
  • Exact match factory colors
  • Easy to use spray bottle
  • 11 oz capacity

The VHT formula is one of the highest performing engine paints that is easy to apply. However, it does come with a premium price tag and the smallest capacity, which means you may need multiple spray cans.

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POR-15 42268 High Temp Engine Paint


POR-15 are another reputable brand that produce a range of high-temp paint. The Engine Enamel formula is designed to withstand temperatures of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if you require additional resistance, the brand do offer other formulas that withstand over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

The brand claim that this high temp formula is designed for professional use and is guaranteed not to burn off unlike cheaper alternatives.

Other features of the POR-15 High Temp Engine Paint include:

  • 7 color options
  • Urethane based
  • Matches original factory colors
  • Application by brush
  • Can be used on other engine components
  • Pint or Quart paint tins

Overall, the POR-15 42268 formula is an excellent all-round high temp engine paint. The brand claim it provides additional depth of color and compared to any alternative and the brushed application may be easier for certain engine bays.

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Dupli-Color Ceramic Engine Paint


An affordable engine paint that delivers an excellent results is by the Dupli-Color brand. They provide a total of 28 different colors to choose from that is dry to touch in 30 minutes or handle in 1 hour.

The brand state that this ceramic paint formula is only suitable for the engine block and engine accessories only.

Other features of the Dupli-Color Engine Paint include:

  • Withstands temperature up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Maximum gloss retention
  • Resists most automotive fluids
  • EZ touch conical nozzle
  • Doesn’t blister, crack or peel
  • 12 oz bottle

Whether you are using this engine paint for racing, street or standard vehicles, it is the best option for those on a budget. The large selection of colors allows you to tailor the color modifications to suit your requirements.

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PlastiKote 203 High Temp Engine Paint


The PlastiKote 203 is an engine paint that claims to be an exact OEM color match. There is a choice of  18 colors that can withstand repeated exposure to engine heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Other features of the PlastiKote 203 formula include:

  • High temp durable finish
  • Fully resistant to oil and gasoline
  • Meets factory painted high standards
  • Easy to use spray can
  • 12 oz bottle

Overall, it is a great engine paint that is available in a broad range of colors that match OEM standards. The main drawback is that it’s fairly expensive compared to similar alternatives.

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Engine Paint Buying Guide

Application of an engine paint takes just minutes and can transform the engine bay. Whilst most enthusiasts match the factory paint, there is nothing stopping you spraying the engine block and other accessories multiple different colors.

To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding engine paints.

best paint for engine block

What are the Benefits

The main benefit for investing into the a quality engine paint is the customization of the engine bay. There is no limitation to the colors you can choose and you can completely transform the engine bay to suit your requirements.

Once correctly applied, the engine paint will help prevent corrosion and withstand high levels of humidity. It also helps improve the resale value of your vehicle because no one likes to see rust under the hood.

If you paint the engine block with a dark paint, it can help with heat dissipation. This results in the engine cooling down faster once switched off, which can be very beneficial for some vehicles.

Heat Resistance

We highly recommend that you use an engine paint that can withstand up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. There are many that can withstand over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit but they cost far more and are not necessary for most applications.

Colour Matching

Matching the engine paint with your paintwork or the brake caliper paint is very popular. Many manufacturers state that their paint is an OEM match or factory color. However, the likelihood of a 100% match is highly unlikely due to the UV ray damage, multiple car washes and age.

Formula

Most engine paints use a combination of urethane and ceramic resins. Some brands will also include additional additives that effect the finish or increase the heat resistance.

Some formulas can be brushed or sprayed onto the engine block. Choosing between the two is dependent upon your personal preferences. Spraying the surface is less time consuming but it can produce a lot of overspray. This can be an issue if you haven’t thoroughly covered up all the remain components.

Preparation of the Surface

Before applying any engine paint to the block or other accessories, the surface needs to be thoroughly prepared. Once completely cool, you will want to strip as many components from the engine and wrap up anything that is left connected.

It is advised to use an engine degreaser to remove any grease or other oils and remove loose debris using a wire brush. If the surface has been previous painted, it’s highly recommended to remove the paint using a fine grit paper.

best paint for engine bay

Application

Depending upon the engine paint, you may require a primer beforehand for the best finish. To ensure that the application is long lasting, it’s recommended to apply multiple thin coats and allow the paint to dry according the specification.

Failing to allow the paint to dry will result in blistering, peeling or cracking of the paint once its subject to high temperatures.

Conclusion

Using a quality engine paint that can with standard high temperatures and fluids can transform the engine bay. Most formulas can be applied by a spray can but there are many brush paints that may be easier to apply to certain engine components.

All of our recommendations are suited to a range of budgets and offer a range of OEM exact match colours. Standard paints may be cheaper but they will not be able to withstand the high temperatures of the engine block.

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