As temperatures begin to touch record highs all around the globe, the term ‘hot rods’ is starting to sound more literal because your car is getting heated up more than ever. If a long drive in sweltering heat with the air conditioner switched on makes you sweat, think about how it would be under that hood. There’s a theory that heat helps improve the fuel efficiency of the car. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Heat and performance don’t go hand in hand, else there wouldn’t be cooling systems installed in the car, would there?
However, in these extreme weather conditions, having a cooling system just doesn’t cut it anymore. You need to seriously consider the possibility of providing an external cooling component that helps the hot air build up inside the hood to escape. That’s precisely what a hood louver is.
Hood Louvers were for a long time considered as an aesthetic addition that would give your car a more off-road appearance. But now, they are used more for their functionality than aesthetics. The US border patrol, for example, have hood louvers installed on all their cars because of the extreme temperatures in which the cars operate.
Irrespective of whether you are just curious about how this works or whether you are looking to add one of these to your car, we have you covered. Here’s a small guide about how hood louvers work and a few things to consider when you are going shopping for one.
Things to consider while shopping for hood louvers
Hood louvers help the hot air inside the car’s hood to escape outside without any additional power requirement. They are the easiest way to let the hot air dissipate and during the winter, you can even use that hot air to de-ice your windshield if need be. While that’s the main purpose, a little bit of style never hurt anybody. So aesthetics are an added bonus. Any car or jeep with a hood louver installed looks mean. And with the many styles and designs available, you can customize the look in more ways than one.
Having said that, shopping for one can be a little tricky because there are so many factors to consider.
What makes most people jittery about installing a hood louver is the installation. The fact that one would have to remove the hood, punch and then repaint it, makes it a tedious job even by DIY standards. But you’d be thrilled to know that you can just buy hood louvers that need to be pop-riveted on to your hood. The installation is so simple that you can complete it even in a single day.
What material should the hood louver be? The choices are plastic and metal. Metal is the more durable choice of course. There are metal hood louvers made of 100% heavy duty aluminum that are made in the USA. Good quality, durable and long-lasting.
This is where most people get confused because unlike the two-piece hood louvers of yore, there are tons of designs available to choose from these days. There are four piece sets, five-piece sets, single piece louvers in a variety of shapes and sizes. What you choose is more of a personal preference than anything else. One thing to remember would be that more the number of pieces in the set, trickier the installation will be. Also, more time-consuming. You also have to decide between color matching louvers or custom paint jobs. So, choose accordingly.
1. Poison Spyder 17-53-010-PC Hood Louver
The Poison Spyder is the top-rated hood louver on Amazon with a 97% positive customer rating. It is a single piece louver that is crafted from CNC laser cut lightweight aluminum which is among the most durable metals that is used in automobile components. It is extremely resilient to corrosion and will work without any problems even in the extreme conditions that it is subject to.
The Spyder looks incredibly stylish with its black powder coat finish. It is semi-gloss and is mostly a perfect addition for vehicles that have a matte finish. But even if you have a super gloss paint job, the Spyder stands out on the hood adding a layer of ruggedness to the otherwise docile appearance. At 37 x 35 x 3 inches, it has a larger surface area that allows in better dissipation of heat.
If you have experienced the rubber components under the hood getting fried due to the extreme heat, then the Poison Spyder will help minimize this problem. A lot of people who are initially skeptical about its effectiveness have been amazed at the performance after they installed a surface thermometer to monitor the temperature change.
The Poison Spyder needs to be installed by cutting the hood. It is not one of those cheap hood louvers that need to be stuck on the hood itself. If you are unsure about the installation, speak to a mechanic who can help you with it.
The package includes the template, the stainless steel button-head hardware & the detailed instructions that you need to install the hood louver yourself and it is not a very difficult job provided you have the right tools needed for the install.
Verdict: Sleek, stylish and very effective in reducing the temperature inside the hood. Highly recommended!
2. Poison Spyder 14-53-011 Hood Louver
Next up is Poison Spyder’s offering for the Jeep Wrangler TJ which also fits other cars with twin windshield fluid nozzles. This is one of their most popular hood louvers that comes in a bare-metal design without any paint or primer. As all of their louver hoods, it is crafted from CNC laser cut aluminum which is extremely resilient to corrosion. Irrespective of whether you coat and paint this or not, you will not face a problem with surface rust.
Stylish as always
Poison Spyder’s hood louvers are known for their sleek and stylish appearance and this one is no different. It has a gloss finish that complements most cars and jeeps without any modification. But for the jeeps that have an additional top light, it may cause some glare. Painting is extremely simple. All that you need to do is use some etching primer.
The package includes the template and the instructions needed for installing the hood louver. The installation will require you to cut the hood.
Poison Spyder louvers will improve the efficiency of your engine. The cooling fans do not work as hard as they normally do, especially when you are crawling at low speed on trails. Your air conditioner will also work more efficiently giving you cooler air when the car is running.
Verdict: Poison Spyder’s hood louvers are among the most widely used ones by DIY auto mechanics and people who restore automobiles. They are stylish, very effective and extremely durable. Cannot go wrong with it.
3. Daystar Hood Louver
The Daystar KJ71048BK is a great choice for anyone who does not want to cut out a single large portion of the hood for installing the Poison Spyder Louver. Instead, this is a set of two side hood louvers that are noticeably smaller but equally effective. It is an easy and inexpensive solution for the high-temperature issues that are associated with the Jeep Wrangler JK models starting from 2007 to 2016.
Good quality product
Daystar’s products are manufactured with the most durable components in the USA. This gives you a quality assurance that you wouldn’t find with cheap Chinese imports. It is resistant to corrosion and will last for years without any problems whatsoever. Contrary to what most people think, this does not cause any problems with water entering the hood compartment and corroding the battery. Unless you are submerging the vehicle under the water, the water entering the hood is very similar to what would happen if you were to splash the jeep through a puddle.
Daystar’s installation manual and a template is one of the most detailed one that we have ever seen. It is well laid out, easy to follow and you should be done in a couple of hours at best. If you find it difficult, it is always better to get it done by a professional rather than trying to do it yourself and end up with a shoddy installation.
Almost immediately, you will notice that the temperature under the hood reduces. Stand next to the vent on a hot day and you can feel the hot air dissipating. Definitely helps improve the car’s efficiency and helps the cooling system to perform better.
Verdict: If you have a Jeep JK and are looking for a good quality hood vent, then you have just found it in the Daystar KJ71049BK.
4. Putco Hood Louver
Product recalls are a bummer. But they are a part of the automobile industry ever since people have been driving cars. If you own a Hummer H3, then you might be aware of the problem with the plastic hood louvers which used to come off all by themselves. If you bought the Hummer H3 after the recall happened, then you already have a glued louver on the front which is stuck to the vehicle permanently. The Putco 403506 is a chrome plated hood louver that is made of extremely durable ABS chrome that fits the Hummer H3 to perfection. You do not have to make any modifications. You just have to glue this one over the existing louver.
It comes with a preinstalled 3M tape but you can always use automotive grade glue to stick it nice and hard. Ensure that you keep some kind of weight over it until the glue sets and you are all done.
The design is manufactured to perfection to match the OEM chrome grill. It looks very stylish and the gloss chrome design is a perfect match for the Hummer. The only tricky part here is the installation. You might have to pry the existing louver and slide this one under it before sticking. There will be no gaps between the hood and the vent. It fits perfectly.
Verdict: This is the only aftermarket hood louver for the Hummer that fits perfectly without requiring any modifications. The chrome metal one retails for $800. This is an absolute steal that will last for years without any problems.
5. Neverland Hood Louver
Last but not the least, we have a budget-priced set of two decorative hood louvers that can be universally fit on any car. This set is made of durable ABS plastic with different colored finishes. The options are White, Silver and two different shades of black.
At under $12, these can be the perfect replacement louvers for your car if the existing ones have busted or if you are looking for an inexpensive replacement that is easy to install. These set of louvers come with preinstalled double sided 3M automotive grade adhesive tape that sticks perfectly to the car. It has a very good customer rating and does not come off even if the engine gets extremely hot or you leave the car out in rain.
The only thing that needs mention is about the dimensions of this louver set. You need to check the dimensions to ensure that you are aware of how it looks on your car. On bigger cars or jeeps, it may look a tad smaller than what you expect. In that case, some of the louvers that we have reviewed earlier will be a better choice.
Verdict: This looks stylish, is inexpensive and you can choose the color to match your vehicle. Cannot go wrong with this.