All-terrain vehicles are one of the most popular choices for off-road work and play for Americans; the U.S.-based ATV manufacturing industry has enjoyed steady growth over the past decade, and this trend is expected to continue through 2023 and beyond. However, as with any vehicle, corrosion of metal parts can be a serious issue impacting the longevity of components as well as overall customer satisfaction.
The choice of paint product for an ATV’s exhaust and muffler system may seem inconsequential, but the coating acts as the first line of defense against wear and tear and environmental exposure. On many models, these parts are barely visible, and even on models that showcase the exhaust, aesthetics is a minor concern when the component in question can be expected to spend most of its time covered in dust or mud. However, there are a few reasons why paint choice should be a major concern, as the right coating can minimize the risk of corrosion by providing crucial protections against heat and impact.
Why is impact resistance important in an ATV powder coating?
ATVs in use are often subjected to the harshest of environments. Traveling at high speeds over sand, dirt, gravel, rocks, underbrush and more can impact vulnerable surfaces and cause paint to chip, flake, and peel away. High moisture and salty environments, such as coastal areas, may accelerate these effects. Heat from the exhaust can compound these problems, compromising the coating and resulting in bubbling, thinning, and flaking of substandard paint.
In addition to heat and external objects impacting the paint, the “quench” factor must be considered. ATV mufflers can become very hot, then experience sudden drops in temperature when driven through water, snow, ice, or freezing mud. When the cold substance meets the metal component, rapid cooling takes effect, which can also cause damage to the coating and result in cracks or microscopic pitting appearing in its protective film.
Exposure to moisture and oxygen through any weaknesses in the coating will cause the underlying metal to swiftly corrode. Loss of protective paint and subsequent corrosion can result in a need to constantly repair or replace components. Of these components, engine exhaust headers and mufflers made of a material other than stainless steel are most likely to be affected by high temperatures, paint damage, and metal corrosion.
The solution to ATV muffler and header vulnerabilities to corrosion is a high-temperature, impact resistant coating. The correct type of coating will be able to adhere closely to the metal, flexing with it as it bends, dents, or deforms under impact, and preventing flaking and chipping. Since the underlying metal isn’t exposed, corrosion can be prevented, and ATV parts will last longer under harsh and constant use.
Best impact resistant coating products for ATVs
There are two options for ATV exhaust and muffler coatings – liquid and powder. While some liquid coatings can offer a high level of heat resistance, powder coatings have a thicker build, are inherently more durable due to the baking process, and can have superior adherence on properly prepared substrates. Powder coatings intended for ATV mufflers and exhaust systems should pass rigorous testing for weathering, heat, impact, and quenching.
High temp powder coatings can be specifically formulated for heat and impact resistance, making them ideal for use on mufflers and other exhaust system components. ATV manufacturing processes can benefit from powder coating both engine headers and mufflers to maximize heat and impact resistance, and reduce corrosion and customer complaints about damaged parts.
Temperatures that can be protected against with heat resistant powder coatings range from 600°F all the way up to 1100°F. The high temp paint is designed to withstand not just heat, but impact, weather, coastal salt spray, and harsh off-road conditions. When applied to properly prepared ferrous and non-ferrous substrates, the chances of a break in the paint surface and exposure of the metal underneath can be significantly minimized.
INFERNEX® high temp impact resistant ATV muffler coatings
When it comes to a perfect blend of heat resistance and impact protection, powder coatings such as those in the INFERNEX® line stand up to the challenge. For example, the PS-1000 black powder coating delivers:
o Peak temperatures of 1000°F, and continuous temperatures of 880°F
o A 5B adhesion rating after 1 hour at peak burn
o The ability to weather up to 240 hours of continuous salt spray
o The ability to withstand up to 300 hours of QUV accelerated weathering
o A 2B pencil hardness rating to protect against scratches
o An impact resistance rating of 60
All of these factors add up to a powerful level of protection for ATV mufflers and headers. The powder coating, when properly applied and cured (for 20 minutes at 450°F), adheres tightly enough and with the flexibility required to dimple on impact along with the metal beneath. Instead of cracking, chipping, or flaking, the coating maintains the seal to keep moisture and oxygen away from the highly corrosive substrate.
Why choose Forrest Technical Coatings?
For the past 40 years, Forrest has been a pioneer and a leader in the marketplace, developing and producing heat resistant coatings and setting the bar for industry standards.
Other companies can offer a few generic high temp paint products. Our robust and diverse product line has been built out over the past several decades, resulting in a wide range of options to fit nearly any high temperature need across a broad swath of potential exposures.
For the ATV industry specifically, we’ve committed to providing the best impact resistant coatings for mufflers and exhaust system components, to help drive down costs associated with corroded parts and provide superlative protection across the board.
ATVs are typically expected to perform under extreme conditions. Our powder coatings for ATV application are easy to apply and cure, and provide extra levels of durability to metal components prone to abuse and corrosion during their normal operation as well as when used in extreme environments. Providing long lasting component coatings as a standard feature will allow vehicles to roll off the line prepared for the most adventurous off-road use, anytime, anywhere.