Written By Teodora Spirovska
Published Dec. 2, 2020

Some vehicular issues require a professional mechanic. If your transmission fails or your carburetor starts stuttering, you want that expert oversight. Conversely, some issues can be tackled quickly (and independently). Take your tailpipe, for instance. You might come across a bit of corrosion or a hole that needs patching. You’ll definitely notice by the drastic increase in noise while you drive. So, you pull over to check and see a gash or a hole in your exhaust. But if the damage is small, why replace it? Instead, opt for a fix that lets you keep driving. That’s where exhaust sealant steps into play. It covers damage to your muffler or tailpipe, rendering them water- and shock-proof. Instead of taking on more damage, the exhaust system just goes back to normal. Of course, you can’t use any old sealant. You need something heat resistant and something that can withstand vibrations and all kinds of weather. To help you find the best exhaust sealant, we’ve compiled a list of the best exhaust sealants available.

The Best Exhaust Sealants

If you want a classic, liquid sealant that applies easily, check out J-B Weld High-Temperature RTV Silicone Gasket Maker. Since it’s vulcanized, it is meant to withstand intense heat (up to 650 degrees Fahrenheit). This means you can probably apply the sealant to your exhaust right after driving. The sealant itself is user-friendly. Once you’ve broken the seal on the small, red tube, you just spread it onto the damaged area. It’s great for cracks and smaller issues, especially since it’s liquid. Once the sealant is in place, it creates a waterproof layer as soon as it’s exposed to moisture. In fact, exposure to humidity is part of its setting process. The sealant is designed to hold steady without losing its form. This means you can drive comfortably knowing your exhaust is safe from both new corrosion and worsening damage.

It’s worth noting that, despite the solid results of this sealant, the nozzle tends to get clogged after application. To prevent this, clean off the tip before closing the container.

Key Features
  • Fluid sealant made of silicone
  • Applies easily and dries quickly
  • Works on any exhaust assembly
  • Contains 3 fluid ounces
Specification
  • Brand J-B Weld
  • Model 31314
  • Weight 3.17 ounces
PROS

Resists damage from heat

Goes on evenly and smoothly

Entirely waterproof protection

CONS

Nozzle can get clogged

Can have flow issues 

May be difficult to close after use

Depending on the terrain in your area, your car probably feels a lot of vibration. If you want an exhaust sealant to hold in place in all citations, check out the Permatex Ultra Grey High Torque RTV Gasket Maker. It comes at a reasonable price point; and, since a little goes a long way, it really lasts. This sealant is ideal since it works in both intense heat and extreme cold. It holds form anywhere between minus 65 and plus 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Once in place, it powerfully withstands other chemicals, including common mechanical fluids. This tool is a great choice for smaller cracks in your tailpipe or exhaust system. Since it’s grey in color, it blends right in with your vehicle for truly seamless performance. Low-cost and high-functioning, this is a quality sealant option.

Though this selection is affordable, it might require a lot of material to create a high-quality coating on the exhaust pipe. Put it on liberally to achieve the best possible results.

Key Features
  • Holds more than 4 fluid ounces
  • Resists heat and moisture 
  • Won’t get damaged by vibration
  • Creates a tight and reliable seal
Specification
  • Brand Permatex
  • Model 82194
  • Weight 4.2 ounces
PROS

Comes at an affordable price

Contains enough sealant for big patches

High level of heat resistance

CONS

Squeeze nozzle can be hard to control

Can be difficult to apply 

Requires a lot of sealant to work

If you don’t want to risk burns or deal with tricky placement, Design Engineering Heat Wrap exhaust sealant is a good choice. It provides a thorough seal on metal surfaces at temperatures as high as 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. The sealant is simple to use: Just wipe down the area with a cloth then cover the area with tape. The material provides a sufficiently thick coating that covers the exhaust effectively. Once in place, it offers total protection.. Try and cover a couple of square inches in either direction to ensure a complete seal. When it does, it keeps your exhaust safe from scratches, impact, debris, and even spilled oil. Ideally, you then cover this with a heat-resistant tape for extra protection. By holding firm against corrosion and moisture, the sealant actually extends the lifespan of your exhaust system.

It’s worth a note that, though this tape is really useful, it can be a bit tricky to control. As a result, it can be a bit difficult for beginners to place the tape effectively to create a seal. Take your time during application for best results.

Key Features
  • Durable tape with 15 feet of supply
  • Tape is 2 inches thick 
  • Resists up to 1,800 degrees
  • Prevents damage from moisture
Specification
  • Brand Design Engineering
  • Model 01029
  • Weight 7.7 ounces
PROS

Prevents damage to the exhaust

Resists damage from heat and vibration

Creates a lasting hold on the exhaust

CONS

May fray around the edges

Can be difficult to place on pipe

Prone to fading over time 

Seeking a tape sealant? The Sunplus Trade Black Exhaust Heat Wrap Roll is an effective option. Unlike liquid sealants (best for small issues), tapes can cover large surface areas. It’s ideal if you have an exposed muffler or your exhaust has a lot of damage. This tape is two inches wide and comes with 50 feet per roll. Sold in a set of six, you get sufficient tape to handle all your sealant issues. The sealant can handle direct heat up to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once placed, the tough glue holds it steady. It won’t move despite ambient vibrations or changes in temperature. The tape prevents further issues to your exhaust, including scratches and corrosion. It’s great for motorcycles, too! Because of its thermal properties, it slows the natural wear and tear process and hides pipe bluing. 

Keep in mind that, while this tape is easy to get into place, it may require a lot of layers during application. Be sure to allow it to set before driving the vehicle to prevent moisture damage.

Key Features
  • Thick tape that wraps evenly
  • Resists heat and moisture well
  • Contains 50 feet of tape
  • Scratch, rip, and abrasion-resistant
Specification
  • Brand SunplusTrade
  • Model 1054-HEATWRPBLK
  • Weight 1.95 pounds
PROS

Works on all types of exhausts

Limits ambient damage from heat

Can withstand 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit

CONS

Wrap requires time to set

May require a supplemental spray

Not a lot of adherent on the tape

Looking for some emergency sealant tape? 3M High-Temperature Flue Tape is a go-to option. At an inch and a half wide, this 15-foot roll of tape can cover most exhaust issues. It’s metallic, which naturally reflects light (and keeps temperatures low). The sealant retains its structural integrity at temperatures as high as 600 degrees Fahrenheit. While it’s originally designed for fireplace flues, the tough properties make it effective for mufflers. It’s great if you’re struggling with large gashes to your exhaust but need to put off replacement. The sealant can hold the exhaust in place and prevent the damage from reaching critical mass. It holds steadily on metal surfaces (like vehicle components). The tape is designed to keep elements like moisture and debris away. This, coupled with the pressure it puts on the exhaust, helps keep your car running for longer. 

Bear in mind that, though this tape is really heat-resistant, it requires a completely clean and dry exhaust pipe in order to attach properly. Without that, the tape can lose its hold with moisture or high temperatures.

Key Features
  • Contains 15 feet of sturdy tape
  • Reflective design to resist heat
  • Tough against moisture damage
  • Tape is an inch and a half wide
Specification
  • Brand 3M
  • Model 2113NA
  • Weight 0.8 ounces
PROS

Applies smoothly and quickly

Resists heat up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit

Contains enough for several patches

CONS

Tape needs time to dry before working

Requires dry exhaust pipe to attach

Minimal adherent on tape backing

Focused on finding a seal that won’t take too long to apply? Consider the Permatex Optimum Black Gasket Maker. It comes as a fluid that goes over small cracks in the tailpipe. The formula itself is relatively inert, particularly since it isn’t corrosive. The material doesn’t have a strong scent, thanks to the mainly silicone material. It creates a strong hold on the exhaust, gripping tightly to the surface. Once it’s in place, the flexible material isn’t vulnerable to either moisture or to oil. It is capable of withstanding heat as high as 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The seal is tough against vibration, meaning that it won’t lose its hold if you hit a bump in the road. Coming with two nozzles, there is enough sealant in this container for multiple projects. 

Keep in mind that, because it’s fluid, this seal is best on less severe  damage. Since it can only resist upto 500 degrees, it is better on smaller vehicles.

Key Features
  • Fluid seal comes with two nozzles
  • Flexible hold resistant to damage
  • Works against abrasion and tears
  • Made mostly out of silicone material
Specification
  • Brand Permatex
  • Model 27037
  • Weight 4 ounces
PROS

Ideal for small-scale damage

Flexible seal not vulnerable to vibration

Silicone material is almost odorless

CONS

Only resists up to 500 degrees

Suited only to small damage

Can be difficult to apply

If you’re on the lookout for a sealant that stands out in terms of easy application, the Dynomax Hardware Muffler Cement is a worthy candidate. It comes in a unique container that holds 16 fluid ounces of sealant material. The cement goes on quickly and sets within a matter of minutes. It is well-suited for tears in the muffler that are located in a tricky spot. The cement goes on thick yet dries evenly. Once it is in place, this sealant ensures that your tailpipe is secure against a whole host of environmental damage. It is tough against high temperatures and won’t rust or wear down from vibration. The solution itself is fortified by iron, adding strength to the hold and maximizing its toughness against heat. 

Bear in mind that, even though this cement sealant is unique, it is only well-suited for damage that is hard to reach. Because of the formula’s thickness, it can be tricky to apply to other spots.

Key Features
  • Contains 16 fluid ounces
  • Goes on thick and dries quickly
  • Ideal for sealing joints 
  • Resists temperature and vibration
Specification
  • Brand Dynomax
  • Model 35958
  • Weight 13.6 ounces
PROS

Solution has a long shelf life

Comes with enough for multiple fixes

Makes light work of exhaust repairs

CONS

Only suited for hard-to-reach spots

Sensitive to moisture during curing process 

Can be hard to apply as a thin coat

Do you have a heavy-duty vehicle that leaves your exhaust exposed to high temperatures? If so, the ARTR Titanium Lava Fiber is a terrific option that can withstand incredibly drastic heat conditions. It comes as a fibrous tape that retains its color over time. This is thanks to the fiberglass material that withstands all sorts of damage. The weave improves the overall strength against vibration. It is also resistant to abrasion and rips. If you drive over tricky terrain, this fibrous sealant helps to prevent damage to the exhaust. Simple to apply, just soak the wrap in water and place it carefully around the exhaust pipe. Since it is a full 2 inches wide, you can get complete coverage without wasting any material. It dries quickly and keeps its hold effectively over the long-term. 

Keep in mind that, while this cover is really useful, it is important to wear gloves during the application process. This ensures smooth results and protects your skin during installation.

Key Features
  • Made primarily of lava rock
  • Holds 50 feet of material 
  • 2-inch wide cover for complete hold
  • Requires moisture to apply properly
Specification
  • Brand ARTR
  • Model ART-T-2-50
  • Weight 2.2 pounds
PROS

Withstands heat up to 2,500 degrees

Fiberglass and lava rock is very tough

Dries quickly for lasting effects

CONS

Diagonal weave requires precise application

Can be difficult to get into place

Needs a lot of time to dry properly

For those with a focus on the structural integrity of their repair tool, the FiberFix Repair Wrap is a solid choice. It is made to not only grip tightly, but to actually improve the overall toughness of the exhaust pipe itself. Once it is in place, the tape is strong against high temperatures. The carefully-crafted material is resistant to a host of damage. It won’t tear or crack easily, even when exposed to vibrations from rough terrain. The wrap itself has a hardness level comparable to steel. It is capable of handling heats up to 2,000 degrees. This lets you comfortably use the vehicle without worrying about damage to the pipe. It applies quickly, taking less than an hour to go on and to cure. 

Bear in mind that, despite the efficacy of this tape, it can be difficult to find the balance of moisture to tape when you’re getting it into place. So long as you take your time, this tape is a quality option.

Key Features
  • Goes on smoothly and dries evenly
  • Resistant to heat and abrasion
  • 2-inch-thick material gives full seal
  • Works on all types of surfaces
Specification
  • Brand JBWeld
  • Model 38550
  • Weight 10.1 ounces
PROS

Resists temperatures up to 1,500 degrees

Cures within less than an hour

Sturdy against abrasion and tears

CONS

Requires precise amount of moisture

Can benefit from supplemental sealant

Requires clamps or zip ties to work without adherent

Best Exhaust Sealants Buying Guide & FAQ

When you go to buy an exhaust sealant, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is identifying the type of seal from which you’ll see the most benefit. You can do this in two different ways. The first is to figure out what kind of vehicle you plan to use it on. Consider that larger vehicles tend to reach higher temperatures; and, therefore, require a more resistant seal. 

The next thing to look out for is the type of seal you are going to want. If the damage is large, you are going to benefit more from a thick wrap. Conversely, it can be useful to have a liquid seal on hand for smaller damage. By doing thorough research, opting for something made of quality materials, and finding the right fit, you can get the most value out of the sealant. 

Why Do You Need an Exhaust Sealant?

There’s no shortage of benefits to exhaust sealants. While the exhaust system might slip into the back of your mind, it is a pretty important component of the vehicle. It’s the part that releases all of the leftover gases and fluids. Since, more often than not, there is some moisture in the air it’s holding, this part is vulnerable to all sorts of damage. Instead of waiting for it to fail, an exhaust sealant can keep the issue at bay. 

The rust and corrosion levels are another major consideration. Exhaust pipes are made of metal. That means that the ongoing exposure to water particles will eventually lead to rust. This causes the breakdown of the pipe. Factor in vibration from tricky roads and all of a sudden you have a broken exhaust system. A sealant goes over the damage, holds it tightly, and compensates for the tensile strength lost due to corrosion. 

Another thing to consider is the incredibly high heats to which the exhaust system in your vehicle is exposed. The heat of exhaust can reach thousands of degrees Fahrenheit. Naturally, this exacerbates the wear and tear on the system. A proper sealant reinforces the strength of the exhaust system against heat, so it can last longer.

  • Improves strength against rust and corrosion commonly caused by moisture in the exhaust. 
  • Prevents damage resulting from ambient vibrations and bumps on the road. 
  • Withstands high temperatures to prevent damage to the metal on a molecular scale. 
  • Improves the overall structural integrity of the exhaust pipe. 
  • Helps you repair both large and small-scale issues. 
  • Prevents (or at least delays) potentially costly repairs to your exhaust system. 
  • Waterproof design of the sealant requires limited upkeep. 
  • Highly resistant to shock, whether from the cold or from impact. 

Popular Types of Exhaust Sealants

As with any vehicle repair tool, there are quite a few different types of exhaust sealant. While each of them has unique benefits, it is important to find the best-suited type for your repair needs. In order to figure out which type is ideal for your needs, it helps to get a thorough understanding of each kind of exhaust sealant. By familiarizing yourself with the features and application methods, you can get the most value.

Exhaust Sealant

Wrap

This type of exhaust sealant has some of the highest temperature thresholds out of any exhaust sealant. The construct and materials contribute equally to this virtue. Usually, wrap sealants are made out of either lava rock or fiberglass, both of which are capable of withstanding very hot environments. By weaving these parts together, this type of sealant creates a tight bind against the exhaust system. 

Since the wraps are typically the largest of the sealants, they are best when applied to larger damage. Given the high temperatures it can withstand, this seal is better-suited to bigger vehicles. Keep in mind that, with this type, there is no chemical adherent. As a result, you need ties to hold it in place. 

Fluid

Perhaps the most common type of exhaust sealant, the fluid seals are usually made out of a silicone-based material. While this is able to withstand a lot of heat, it is usually less than a wrap. The main values of a fluid seal is its waterproof abilities and precise application. Since it won’t get damaged by moisture, you can rest easy knowing neither rust nor rain will impact the hold. Often, these are used on other surfaces like gaskets and radiators

This type is better for smaller vehicles that have incurred smaller cracks. It goes on with a nozzle and coats the area. After drying, it clings to the good parts of the exhaust pipe and prevents the damage from impacting the structural integrity. This prevents the pipe from breaking. Keep in mind that these sealants are a bit more difficult to apply and don’t have as much fortitude as other options. Often, they are used in conjunction with another type of sealant. 

Tape

A balance between fluid and wrap types, the tape looks exactly like it sounds. It is made out of a heat-resistant textile that is coated on one side with glue. In order to work properly, both of these materials need to be resistant to a whole host of issues. This type of material may have less of a heat threshold, though are able to withstand a lot of vibration and entirely repel moisture. 

The downside of this type of sealant is the fact that it doesn’t always have the proper amount of adherent on the back. As a result, it can leave an insufficient hold on the surface. To prevent this issue from occurring, double layer the tape when you are placing it. So long as it is applied correctly, tape can work for all types of exhaust damage. 

How We Tested The Exhaust Sealants

In order to determine which of the exhaust sealants had the most value, we investigated several criteria. The first is the materials used in manufacturing. An adherent needs to be made out of a chemically tough solution whose molecular bonds won’t be affected adversely by heat. We looked at the textile used in wraps and tapes to ensure that it was of high enough quality. We sought to make sure that it is sufficiently able to protect the car’s surfaces

The next thing that we investigated was the resistance to damage and ability to contribute to the strength of the actual exhaust system. This means we looked at how well the seal would hold your exhaust together if it’s exposed to a lot of vibrations. Since you are likely to encounter a pot hole here or there, it’s important that your sealant can withstand that force without slipping. 

Finally, we determined whether the sealant comes with a sufficient supply to actually get the job done. A fluid seal needs enough to handle multiple cracks while wraps and tapes need to actually be able to cover the pipe. After investigating all of these aspects of each exhaust sealant, we determined which are best able to get the job done. 

The Most Important Features of Exhaust Sealant

In order to function properly, there are a few important features that an exhaust sealant must have. Though there are inherent differences to each different sealant tool, there are some common factors to all of them. The ability to excel in each of these criteria is what sets a valuable exhaust sealant apart from the rest. 

Sealing Ability

Naturally, the key feature of an exhaust sealant is the ability to make a tight seal. It might sound simple, but it is quite a feat. For one, the chemical in any fluid or tape needs to be able to hold both to itself and to the metal on the exhaust pipe. There are various types of chemicals that do this, but not a whole host of them that are also waterproof. 

The ability to resist moisture is essential for any muffler setup. There is a ton of moisture in exhaust. Slowly but surely, this eats away at the metal in the exhaust pipe. A seal needs to remain tough against this sort of wear and tear. Check the nature of the material used in the solution. If it is a wrap, be sure that the textile won’t corrode.  

Resistance to Damage

A high level of resistance to the elements is an essential feature for any exhaust sealant. The types of damage it can prevent is diverse. The primary factor is heat. Look at the temperature threshold of the seal, both direct and radiant. While the direct heat amount will be higher than the ambient temperature threshold, the main number you are looking for is the radiant heat it can withstand. 

This feature also refers to the amount of force via vibration or impact which the seal can withstand. Since the road is generally uneven, the ability to remain strong and not lose grip when exposed to bumps and bruises is essential. The whole point of an exhaust sealant is to save you from having a tailpipe fall off on the road, making this a pretty key feature. 

Application Method

This feature refers to how you actually get the seal onto the exhaust. It is a factor of what type of sealant you are using. For a wrap, it is likely to be a straightforward wrap-around, though you will likely need ties to hold it in place. If you are dealing with a tape, consider the thickness of the material. It will apply in a straightforward manner, though may require multiple layers. Be sure that the tape can adhere to itself as well. 

When it comes to fluid materials, this feature is a bit more nuanced. There is usually a nozzle that controls the flow precisely. This facilitates limited waste and ensures that you get a precise hold. In any case, there will be a curing period for the liquid. Ensure that it dries properly before you get back on the road. If you plan to use the tool on multiple surfaces, be sure that it can access those parts easily. Sometimes, spots like gaskets can be tricky to reach and require a different method of application (like a fluid).

Exhaust Sealant

Care and Maintenance

In order to get the most value out of the exhaust sealant, you need to take care of it. This refers to all steps of the process, from storage to upkeep. When it comes to storage, in order to protect the sealant, keep any containers sealed tightly. For tapes or wraps, be sure that you keep them dry and away from sunlight. 

For application, be sure that you practice all necessary safety precautions. Apply it in a place with good ventilation. Give it enough time to dry. Wear gloves if you are handling a chemical in order to protect your skin. Keep in mind that, though it may seem like more is better, it is usually more effective to use the minimal viable amount. This can foster a tighter seal for longer. 

Finally, when it comes to upkeep, it is mainly about checking on the status of the exhaust frequently. This means that you need to look at your work over time. Check on the seal if you hit a particularly bumpy patch of road, head through a storm, or are otherwise concerned. The good news is that maintenance is actually pretty simple. 

  • Use the proper type of sealant depending on the damage to your exhaust. 
  • Take your time during application to ensure that it goes on properly.
  • Let it dry for the recommended amount of time and check your work. 
  • Check on the seal over time to ensure that it is holding well. 
  • Store the sealant in a cool, dry location where it isn’t exposed to the sun. 

Best Exhaust Sealant FAQ:

Choosing the right exhaust sealant raises a lot of different questions. In order to get the most value out of your seal, you want to choose the best-suited selection for your needs. The good news is that, once you get started, it is pretty straightforward to seal an exhaust system. To help you along, we’ve addressed some of the more common inquiries. 

Q: What is the best exhaust sealer?

The best exhaust sealer has a high temperature threshold, tight seal, and the ability to last. A good choice is the J-B Weld High-Temperature RTV Silicone Gasket Maker.

Q: How do you seal an exhaust leak?

Clean and dry the area. Take your sealant and apply it to the surface. Apply the seal to the surroundings as well. Let it dry (or attach the ties). Check on the status occasionally. 

Q: How long does exhaust sealant take to dry?

Though all sealants are different, it is usually best to leave it for a couple of hours. This way, you can be sure it dried. Higher-humidity areas may need more drying time. 

Our Top Pick

After careful assessment, we’ve named out top pick as the J-B Weld High-Temperature RTV Silicone Gasket Maker. Considering its high-quality silicone formula and ability to withstand extreme temperatures and rough road conditions, it is an excellent choice overall. It’s effective on any small-scale exhaust damage and is ideal for a DIY fix. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you’re fluent in the details of exhaust sealants, you can make your pick. It might be the J-B Weld High-Temperature RTV Silicone Gasket Maker or the cost-effective  Permatex Ultra Grey High Torque RTV Gasket Maker. There’s a patch for any situation, so take a look at the choices and make your pick. Happy driving!

Sources:

  1. 3 Ways to Patch an Exhaust Pipe – Wikipedia

MORE TO READ

Load more...