Hood Molding Buyer's Guide
- Car moldings serve the dual purpose of improving the looks of your car’s body panels and protecting those same panels from physical harm.
- When a molding goes bad, it may pop out of its position, ruining the hood’s appearance and rendering the panel more vulnerable to damage.
- When shopping for new hood moldings, pick one that's built tough, protected by a warranty, and enjoy compatibility with your vehicle's hood. Available materials include plastic, steel, aluminum, and rubber. Hood moldings also come in many finishes.
- The price tag of a new hood molding can vary depending on the brand and quantity sold. On CarParts.com, a car hood molding can cost anywhere between $7 and $431.
- You can extend the effective lifespan of hood moldings by installing them correctly and carefully.
What is a hood molding?
A kind of automotive molding, hood moldings attach to the hood. A hood molding possesses decorative and protective purposes with regards to its associated body panel.
Car moldings serve the dual purpose of improving the looks of your car’s body panels and protecting those same panels from physical harm. For example, door molding cushions the impact suffered by the door edge when you open the door so far that it hits a vehicle or object sitting next to your car.
Likewise, hood moldings absorb minor impact forces imparted upon the hood. Each side of the car’s hood features an individual hood molding to protect the edges.
Symptoms of a bad or failing hood molding
Normally, hood moldings fit snugly on the hood. When a molding goes bad, it may pop out of its position, ruining the hood’s appearance and rendering the panel more vulnerable to damage.
In the long run, it’s best to replace old hood moldings. While you can push the loose trim back into place, it will pop out again, which can prove frustrating. And even if the other hood molding shows no sign of following its partner’s example, you should replace it as well for preventive maintenance.
Traits to look for in hood moldings
When shopping for new hood moldings, keeping the following things in mind can help you settle on the best choice for your car’s hood.
The hood molding faces the same environmental challenges as the hood. Hot temperatures, intense sunlight, and weather conditions that vary by season and state constantly assault the trim.
Understandably, toughness is a must for hood moldings. The trim should also withstand the impact of closing the hood after you check the engine bay.
The molding depends on its materials for the ability to withstand the elements and daily use. Steel, plastic, and aluminum commonly serve as materials for manufacturing hood moldings.
Plastic hood moldings are very popular. The pliable material enjoys practical immunity to corrosion and resists denting quite well. Plastic also weighs around half as much as steel. They see much use in racing vehicles that need to keep weight to a bare minimum.
While a plastic hood molding displays great resilience, it’s also more difficult to repair. It may also warp in the presence of intense heat, such as an overheating engine.
Metal hood moldings offer a common and excellent alternative to plastic. Their malleable nature makes them easy to adjust and repair.
You can pound or weld a metal hood molding so that it fits on a smaller or differently-shaped hood than it’s originally designed for. Likewise, you can repair dents.
Ironically, that property makes metal hood moldings more likely to get damaged in the first place by small impacts from debris and even the act of closing the hood. They also weigh more and cost more than plastic counterparts. Lastly, metal parts can get corroded by exposure to air and moisture.
Last but not least, you can choose rubber hood moldings. Rubber is a tough material with high resistance to abrasion. Hood moldings made from rubber can withstand more punishment than even steel moldings.
Always get rubber hood moldings of the highest quality. Avoid latex products because they often shrink when it gets really hot.
Hood moldings come in many finishes. Factory-issue trim will match the color of the body side moldings and door handles. Meanwhile, replacement moldings offer different colors and finishes to help you customize and enhance your car’s appearance.
You will want hood moldings with finishes that complement or improve the appearance of the hood and the rest of the car. For example, moldings with chrome finish will go well with chrome trims.
For car owners who desire a specific color, they can choose between black, white, and primered finishes. Black finish gives the impression of sleekness while white finish evokes the idea of immaculate condition. Finally, primed hood moldings can receive a paint job.
Like many other auto parts, hood moldings often come with a warranty. Typical warranties remain effective for a full year and enjoy unlimited mileage.
You want hood moldings that fit your car’s hood snugly and leave no gaps between the edges of the hood and the other body panels. Select a hood molding designed for the year, make, and model of your car. A 2005 Mazda Tribute hood molding won’t fit on a GMC Sierra since the hoods of the two vehicles differ drastically.
How much does it cost to get a replacement hood molding?
The price tag of a new hood molding can vary depending on the brand and quantity sold. On CarParts.com, a car hood molding can cost anywhere between $7 and $431.
You can pick between black, chrome, gray, and silver paint jobs. Or you can go for primed molding, some of which can get painted to match the color of your car.
Selecting the best hood molding for your car
When browsing the extensive listing of hood moldings offered by CarParts.com, it helps to use the site’s filter bar. By entering your vehicle’s year, make, and model in the bar, you can quickly sift through our products to find the right trim for your car’s hood.
Taking care of your car’s hood molding
Be it old or new, you want hood moldings to last as long as possible. Manufacturers designed their automotive molding for maximum durability and chose materials that can withstand blizzards, high humidity, and other harsh weather conditions. However, every little bit helps to extend the molding’s service life
Install the hood molding correctly
Unless you possess the experience and skill for DIY auto jobs, leave the job of installing the new hood molding to trained technicians at a trusted auto repair shop.
If you feel confident enough to handle the job, take care during the installation process. Always begin the installation process by cleaning the hood. Take a dry rag, dip it in alcohol, and wipe the panel’s entire surface. Getting rid of the dirt and dust on the hood makes it easier for the molding’s adhesive to get a good grip on the metal.
Remember to put the right amount of pressure on the hood molding, just enough to get the adhesive to stick. You can break the molding by accident if you press down too hard.
Customize Your Car's Trims with the Right Hood Molding
Great style is about the minute details. A good paint job or 17-inch rims aren't the only things that contribute to a stylishly sleek car. That's why it is also important to keep your car's trimming as perfect as the rest of your ride. One of these trimmings is your hood molding. Though choosing one can get confusing, there are only three things you have to remember to get the right hood molding-location, material, and finish.
It's a common misconception that hood moldings only fit in the front of your car. But on the contrary, hood moldings can be installed in two different locations, the front and the passenger side. Since the front hood molding covers the entire expanse of your hood, it is generally longer than the one found in your passenger side. Hood moldings look their best when they are fitted correctly to your car. So before your purchase new ones, make sure where they will be fitted and whether you need longer or shorter ones.
Material is another factor to consider when buying new hood moldings. Plastic is the most popular type of molding material. Aside from being corrosion and dent resistant, it is also very light. It weighs approximately 50 percent less than its steel counterparts, which makes it preferred for racing applications. The only disadvantage of plastic is that though it is more resilient, once it is damaged it is harder to repair. In extreme cases, plastic also tends to warp with applied heat. Metal is another material commonly used in hood moldings. Its malleability allows it to be easily altered. Whether by welding or simple pounding, you can make your hood molding fit to your car even if it's a few centimeters bigger than the needed size. However, this also causes metal hood moldings to be more prone to dents, dings, stone chips, and corrosion. They are also heavier and more expensive than plastics. Hood moldings can also be made of rubber. One good feature of rubber is that it is strong and it exhibits good abrasion resistance, which makes it the toughest material for hood moldings in the market. But be careful when purchasing rubber hood materials; low-cost latex products generally shrink at high temperature.
The type of hood molding finish would depend on the overall look that you're trying to achieve for your hood. If you want your hood to match your door handles and side moldings, then a hood molding with a chrome finish would go perfectly well with your other chrome trims. On the other hand, if you have a specific color in mind, then you can choose among black, white, or primered molding finishes. Black hood moldings give a sleeker style with their flat black and glossy finish. You can also go for a white molding if you want something more pristine. For those who prefer custom-ability, your best option would be a primered hood molding.