If you think production car hoods are all boring, you’re not alone. Many car owners have also tried to replace their hoods with some different kinds of material. In this context, it’s plexiglass; can you create a custom car hood with plexiglass?
Since plexiglass is many times more impact resistant than glass and a lot lighter than steel, it is one of the best materials for car hood replacements. If you’re willing to pay the premium for this synthetic glass-like acrylic, you’ll have a light car hood that also looks great.
In this article, you’ll learn why plexiglass may be a good material for your car hood. Also, you’ll learn about some other materials you can use for your car hood other than plexiglass, and why they’re compelling options.
What Can Car Hoods Be Made of?
When choosing a material for your hood, you want one that won’t weigh your car down, while providing sufficient cover for everything under the hood. Since it’s one of the things you’ll be seeing most often, you don’t want one that looks bad.
Also, choosing a heavy material for your car hood is objectively terrible. Since heavy materials will negatively impact efficiency and performance, you want to choose something lighter than industrial steel, but with comparable durability.
To save you the stress of having to search for a material to replace your car’s hood, I’ll give you some recommendations. These materials are all better than plexiglass but may cost higher.
If you want a glass surface as your hood, fiberglass will serve as a great alternative to plexiglass. Compared to other materials that can be used as a good replacement for your vehicle, fiberglass is relatively lighter and cheap to produce.
On the negative side, there is a high quantity of bad fiberglass products on the market. This situation is a result of continuous demand for cheaper fiberglass, pushing manufacturers to build and sell cheaper and lower-quality fiberglass products.
To counteract this problem, it’s important to prioritize quality over price when choosing a fiberglass product for your hood. Buying from established manufacturers with plenty of positive reviews will make a better purchase than snagging the cheapest ones on the market.
Polyurethane is another excellent-looking, albeit less-popular alternative to plexiglass. This material is favored less than most alternatives due to its weight. If you don’t already know, heavier materials weigh down the car, consuming more energy in the fuel.
While polyurethane may not be one of the lightest materials for making car hoods, it scores points in durability. It also has superior aesthetics and flexibility to fiberglass, making it not only easier to install, but also looks objectively better.
If you prioritize better looks over your car’s weight and efficiency, you’ll love a urethane hood better than any other material available on the market. Since polyurethane isn’t popular by any means, it shows how much people value fuel efficiency.
Polycarbonate is the most popular material for making car hoods, and that’s because it’s doing a lot of things right. Polycarbonate is vastly similar to plexiglass, but it has a bluer surface, making it quite easy to tell them apart.
There are advantages to using either glasses, and there are also downsides. In terms of raw strength and impact resistance, polycarbonate is more durable. It is about 250 times as durable as standard glass, while plexiglass is only about 17 times as strong.
However, polycarbonate isn’t scratch-resistant as it scratches quite easily. Also, plexiglass has better clarity and transmits more light, making it look aesthetically better than polycarbonate. If you want better looks, you should choose plexiglass, but polycarbonate is more durable.
4. Carbon Fiber
Carbon fibers are neither glass nor steel, and they have a weight advantage over both of those materials. With a carbon fiber hood, a vehicle can cut off 50 pounds of weight, which is nothing short of incredible.
One disadvantage of choosing a carbon fiber replacement for your car hood is the cost. While they’re better than most other materials for car hoods, they also cost significantly higher.
The weight advantage doesn’t make carbon fiber a weaker material by any means. They can be as durable as steel, depending on the build quality, but with a lesser weight footprint. All of these contribute to making them one of the most common hood replacements.
What Is Plexiglass?
Plexiglass was invented in 1901 as a better alternative to glass. Unlike the standard glass, this glass-like material doesn’t break or shatter as easily. It wasn’t until 1933 before this material broke into the market and started to enjoy widespread popularity.
Plexiglass isn’t related to glass, except they’re both somewhat translucent. It is a kind of acrylic designed to have all the positive properties of glass while getting rid of all negative ones.
With higher impact resistance than glass, plexiglass has seen widespread usage over the years across multiple industries. Since it has all the qualities required in a decent car hood, car owners use it as a translucent replacement to the boring steel hoods from vehicle manufacturers.
Can You Put a Plexiglass Hood on Your Car?
Plexiglass isn’t exactly glass. It’s an acrylic, precisely made from the polymers of methyl methacrylate to be stronger than regular glass. Plexiglass was manufactured due to the need for a material with the translucence of glass in a more durable package.
Since plexiglass is especially durable and shatter-resistant, it’s used across many different industries, and also in vehicles as a hood. It is stronger than most materials used to make car hoods right now, and it’s not insanely expensive.
If you’re thinking about making your car hood replacement with plexiglass, it isn’t a terrible idea. Since plexiglass is plastic, which is naturally lighter than steel, it shouldn’t add a literal ton to your vehicle, reducing the weight and improving its efficiency.
The fact that plexiglass can be used to make car hoods doesn’t mean you should always use them. There are better, lighter, and more durable alternatives to plexiglass that make better material for your car’s hood.
However, if you want translucent material that doesn’t shatter upon impact, plexiglass may be your best bet. It’s also cheap and can be bought off Amazon. If you’re willing to get your hands dirty and you have a few hours to spare, you can install the plexiglass hood yourself with little help.