A question commonly heard from people looking to buy parts for the first time, "Will this stainless steel accessory cause my car to overheat?"
Since we've become so used to having plastic everywhere as well as on and in everything it's hard to imagine a product made without it. Yet, when you remove your synthetic hood liner or plastic engine shroud what are you left with? Metal body panels (carbon fiber if you're extremely lucky and well off) along with metal engines. Steel and iron is what our cars and trucks are made of.
So, no. Stainless steel will not cause your engine to overheat. Let's get into the details as to why.
Stainless Steel and Thermal Conductivity
Stainless steel deals with heat phenomenally. The stainless steel we use in fabrication is also commonly used in the construction of appliance heat exchangers because it can withstand high amounts of heat (up to 1500 F). 304 stainless also does not hold onto heat well at all. Which is actually why it's never the sole material used in cookware.
Cookware you say?! A common misconception is that stainless steel retains heat due to its usage in common everyday pots and pans. But if you turn most stainless cookware upside down you'll almost always notice a copper or aluminum "core" that comes into contact with the burner. This is because stainless steel has relatively poor thermal conductivity.
After installing literally thousands of hood panels, engine shroud covers, and more engine dress up accessories. Never once has an engine overheated due to installed stainless steel parts. When we prototype a new vehicle we meticulously test the car under normal driving conditions. If it doesn't overheat for our overly eager test drivers, it's not going to for you either. Finally, if you are overheating, it's due to a mechanical failure and not because of a stick on stainless steel part.
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