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Ultimate Guide: How to Clean Exhaust Tips (Step by Step)

It’s not uncommon to have the tip of the engine rusting with prolonged engine use. After combustion, the carbon is drained by the combustion gas from the engine, and some of the vapors are buried inside. The carbon produced from high-performance vehicles accumulates fast, creating black ringing around the exhaust tip. This black soot dries up onto the metal ejector tip, and an ordinary car wash will not altogether remove the black carbon buildup.

This blog post will tell you the best ways of cleaning and protecting the dirty exhaust tip using some handy tools.

Set Yourself Up for Success

The most advanced car designers will use the highest-end materials to create squeaky clean hoods. Below is the necessary tool to return chrome mufflers to a more comfortable condition. The fact that it’s a mistake to pick anything else will cause you to lose money. Avoid compromises with this material especially cleaning brushes and polishes. Discounted materials damage the car and also degrades its looks.

Tools You Need to Clean the Car Exhaust Tips.

  • Running water and hose
  • Automotive Metal Polish
  • Cylindrical Wheel Cleaning brush
  • Degreaser or all-purpose cleaner
  • Blackfire all-metal sealant
  • Several Old Microfibre cloth and car soap
  • 0000-grade automotive steel wool
  • Gloves

Steps to Clean the Car Exhaust tips:

Here are the steps to clean the car exhaust tips:

1. Use Soap and Water to Start With

If your exhaust tips are dirty, start cleaning them using soap and water. I think you should use a bucket to clean the wheels. Take your old washing cloth or microfiber towel as an exhaust tip cleaner.

I recommend you use a bucket for cleaning the wheels.

Keep in mind that the vehicle’s paint will have black dust and dirt traces. The process is quite muddy, so it’s essential to avoid staining your clothing and hands.

2. Using Degreaser and Tire Brush

As the goal was to remove all the grime and dirt. Using the wheel cleaner or degreaser is highly recommended to clean the pipe internally using a tire brush. Once you apply the soap and degreaser, pour water to rinse it. Now par dry using a dry towel.

3. Using Automotive Steel Wool to Get Rid of Heavy Buildup

A dedicated exhaust cleaner is the best way to get rid of tough stains on stainless steel and chrome exhaust tips. Apply the automotive steel wool and metal polish afterward to maintain the polish.

4. How Steel Wool to Get Rid of Excessive Dirt

Using steel wool is the best bet to get rid of tough stains. Apply gently grade 0000 steel wool after spraying the exhaust pipes with wheel cleaner or degreaser to remove carbon buildup.

Abrasive Steel wool effectively removes the carbon buildup, which metal polish alone cannot do. Polishes are consist of light metal abrasives that can help you with light buildup only.

5. Apply Metal Polish to Restore Luster and Shine

Due to oxidization, the metal looks cloudy or hazy. Using the light metal polish helps restore the luster of dirty exhaust tips. Any time using something more challenging like steel wool, you should finish using a metal polish to eliminate any tiny scratches from your pipes.

For painted exhaust tips, avoid metal polish or abrasives. These polishes are meant for stainless steel or chrome. Use the soap and water along with a degreaser. Avoid scrubbing with the brush as it can scratch the matte or black finish.

What are the Metal Polish Choices with Me?

Borla is an excellent exhaust cleaner for titanium or chrome tips and pipes. If your exhaust pipe has stubborn stains, this exhaust cleaner is an ideal choice to remove such stains that are not otherwise not removable with soap and water.

You can use it safely for motorcycles, cars, and other metal surfaces. It can efficiently cut through all oxidation to restore its original shine. Especially if you own Borla Brand exhaust, this exhaust cleaner is an ideal choice.

Nevel Dull is another reliable product that is much more affordable as well. You can use it on the chrome bumpers or other areas you need to polish up.

How Do I Protect my Exhaust Tips?

If you want to protect your exhaust tips for a longer time, consider using wheel sealant. It adds a layer of protection but needs to polish regularly. Blackfire is a good choice as a sealant that reduces the buildup.

One Last Resort

If your exhaust tips are beyond their original replacement and cannot be replaced, they will make aftermarket exhaust tips you can buy online. I recently purchased a couple of aftermarket tips for an old Chevy pickup that was pretty inexpensive and easily assembled. You must have a suggestion that fits your tailpipes. The straps are easy to hold using a socket wrench.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use to Clean Exhaust Tips?

You should use soap, water, and fine wire wool grade 0000 as the primary materials to clean the exhaust tips.

How Do You Remove Carbon Buildup from Exhaust Tips?

Carbon build-ups can be removed using brass synthetic wools and metal wools from exhaust tips. From stainless steel, brass, and chrome, the polishing powder is a good choice that provides scratch-free cleaning.

Does WD 40 Clean Exhaust Tips?

Using WD40 on the warm exhaust tips works magically. However, avoid hot exhaust, as WD 40 is flammable.

How can I make my Exhaust Tips Shiny?

Metal polish is a reliable way to make exhaust tips shiny.


The importance of maintaining the exhausts clean is an aspect often forgotten. When burnt, carbon produce bluish hues of gradient-like colors, it impacts the exhaust polishing and make them appear dirty. I’d just use degreasers with water to remove carbon deposits. Using sealants to avoid any dirt clogging. However, using steel wool and metal polish will usually yield what you want – clean exhaust tips free from dirt and carbon.

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My Name is Christopher Angels, and I am a postgraduate in mechanical engineering. Cars have always excited me as a child, and soon I decided to dive into the world of cars by pursuing mechanical engineering. I also worked as a Mechanic for over 3 years to understand Cars' anatomy and how each part contributes to its working.

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