How to Shop for the Right Hood Vent
Your car's hood vent has a dual function: first, it provides proper ventilation for your engine. Second, it serves as a decorative statement to distinguish your car from others running on the road. There is not much fuss about which type of hood vent a specific model of car should sport. The choice is actually upon the driver himself-he must choose a hood vent that both functions as a heat relief for the engine and as an identifying feature of his car. If you are looking to buy new vents for your to-be-customized hood, then here are the tips that will help you pick the best ones.
Which type to choose?
There are five types of car hood vents: air extractor, bulged, cowl induction, louvered, and ram air. The bulged hood is the simplest one, which is similar to those used in the Mitsubishi Eclipse Turbo. It may have one, long, forward-facing vent or a smaller one enough to keep incoming air to cool the engine. Buy this one if you have a huge engine to conceal that cannot be hidden with a flatter hood.
The air extractor hood vent has downward-facing louvers that accommodate more air for cooling the engine. Buy this hood if you want more high-pressure air to escape from the engine compartment, thus resulting to a better engine performance.
The louver type is basically a design and is appropriate for cars that do not usually overheat. This type has short or long slits arranged in rows.
If you want more air going into your hood, then opt for a ram air vent. This type has a forward-facing air scoop that may be a pop-out or recess type. The function of this vent is to allow more high-speed air to enter and then escape the hood. If you are a racer, this type is appropriate for your car; however, the vent may produce aerodynamic drag.
The cowl induction scoop uses a backward-facing vent to catch air hitting the windshield. Buy this one if you want the benefits of a ram air type without the aerodynamic drag.
What are other things to keep in mind?
Make sure that the hood vent you are going to buy is appropriate for the make and model of your car. If you want to save money, you may also have your own hood customized to accommodate a vent. Vents are also made from the same material used in hoods, but some modern ones are from aluminum and carbon fiber. Buy lightweight and easy-to-install ones to prevent any fitting hassle. Hood vent prices are just reasonable, but some qualities like UV protection and high-gloss or matte finishes may increase the cost.
Easy Hood Vent Customization
The hood vent or hood scoop is one of the easiest parts to customize in your car. This vent allows high-speed air to enter the engine compartment, then it lets some of the high-pressure air to escape, which results to a cooler engine. Not all car models sport hood vents because the air-scooping function is sometimes provided by the front grilles. But if you want to have a distinctive look for your car, then it is time to ready the supplies and a lot of patience to give your hood a facelift.
Hood vent customization just requires a little sanding here and there. With the following steps, you will be guaranteed of a successful do-it-yourself task.
Difficulty level: Moderate
- Stock hood vent (may be aluminum or carbon fiber, gloss or matte; make sure that you have this first because you need its measurements for the hood vent opening)
- Fiberglass repair kit (including fabric, resin, and activator)
- Sandpaper (60, 150, 250, 500, and 1200)
- Jigsaw (with fine-tooth metal-cutting blades)
- Dremel tool
- Cutting wheels
- Electric sander (or sanding wheel and electric drill)
- Marker and measuring tape
- Spray gun
- Factory-matched paint
Step 1: Locate an area on your hood where the vent should be placed. The location should allow some room for the new vent and the engine components underneath when the hood is closed. Using the measurements of your stock hood vent, draw a rectangle on the area the size of the vent with a marker.
Step 2: Remove the hood liner. Use the Dremel tool and cut wheel to cut a small slit on the hood. Cut the rectangle with the jigsaw, making sure that there are no jagged edges.
Step 3: Sand the cut area on the top of the hood. Clean away the dust, and place the stock hood vent into the opening and center it properly.
Step 4: Cut ten strips of fiberglass fabric. Mix the fiberglass resin and fiberglass activator for three minutes in a container that can accommodate the length of the strips. Soak the strips in the mixture.
Step 5: Apply the soaked fiberglass fabric along the part where the hood cutting and the vent edges meet. Make sure that the fabric strips connect the cut and vent edges together. Do the same for the outside edges of the hood vent. Create a smooth transition from the top of the hood to the installed hood vent. Make the strips thick enough to have some material to sand away.
Step 6: Allow the fabric strips to dry for a day before resuming work. With the electric drill and sanding wheel, clean up the transition of the meeting edges. Use coarse grit then fine grit sandpaper to smoothen the surface.
Step 7: Mix primer paint and paint matching with your car's. Put the mixture into the spray gun container. Cover the rest of the hood with masking tape and old newspaper to prevent overspray. Connect the spray gun to an air compressor, then spray the hood vent. Cover with primer paint, and let it dry. Cover with four more coats of matching paint. Smoothen out the dried paint with wet sandpaper to achieve a glossy appearance.