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How to Dress Up Your Challenger’s Engine Bay

By:  Connor MC  / Sep 17 2019
How to Dress Up Your Challenger’s Engine Bay)

One of the most frequently overlooked areas for any appearance mods is under the hood – why upgrade something that’s rarely seen, right? But the Dodge Challenger comes equipped with either a 3.6L V6 or a Chrysler-classic Hemi V8 engine, so why not make its setting as attractive and impressive as it sounds?

Shop Challenger Engine Dress Up

Keeping your engine bay clean is critical for a show Challenger, but isn't exclusive to trophy-winning. Color coordinating your Challenger's oil cap, radiator cap, etc. is not only satisfying to look at, but routinely cleaning your engine will increase your chances of finding any problems before they get too serious.

Challenger Dress Up >

Dressing Up Your Challenger in a Nut Shell

For the show-car, an engine bay facelift is basically a must: you are there to show off after all so go big or go home. And if we’re being honest, if your daily driver is indeed a Challenger, you’re probably not one to blend in with the crowd. That said, if you’d rather not deviate too much from your stock setup, there are still small yet elegant ways to add personal touches to your Challenger. 

Most dress up trim pieces and accessories will be a simple and very cost effective means of customizing and enhancing the overall style of your engine bay, and the really good news is most are a simple bolt-on application complete in minutes. The hardest part might be deciding on your color scheme: do you color match to your body or opt for contrast? Brushed steel, shiny chrome or complete blackout? Factory fresh appeal or full-on attention-grabbing showstopper style? Dealer’s choice as they say, and here we dissect how to make the engine bay of your dreams a reality.

Caps and Dipsticks

For a first foray into the world of under hood accessorizing, caps and dipstick handles are a good place to start. The stock caps and dipstick are nothing to write home about. They look exactly the same as the caps and handles of a 1990's econobox (at least those could be considered "vintage"...). Switching them out for new pieces are a small yet noticeable upgrade and a great way to add a pop of color and touch of class under the hood. 

Most oil caps will be a direct fit replacement for the stock, while coolant or brake fluid reservoir caps may instead mount on top of the existing factory pieces. Other caps to switch up include the high-pressure A/C port, power steering, transmission, and washer fluid caps, as well as shock tower covers. Materials range from stainless steel to chrome, and premium billet aluminum. They are also available in a range of colors; with and without vinyl or carbon fiber inlays; and can also come with the option for custom engraving. If you’re looking to swap all your caps in one go, which may be more cost-effective in the long term, opt for a 7, 9 or 13-piece cover set. 

With the dipstick, either the stock handle can be switched with a new one, or the whole dipstick itself can be replaced. Again here, the spectrum of materials, color, and design is vast but whatever you choose, its fair to say that ditching that unsightly yellow OEM plastic will immediately have a noticeable impact on the overall aesthetics of your engine bay.

Valve Covers 

As they sit front and center, customizing the valve covers is another of the more immediately recognizable engine bay transformations and can be one of the most budget-friendly. For the DIYer, for $30 or less, vinyl decal overlays in the color of your choice can highlight the HEMI, SRT or 392 lettering and stripes embossed into the factory covers. Alternatively, a can of heat-resistant paint can quickly revamp the covers themselves. Either of these methods allows you to switch up your color scheme as frequently as you might like, or is just a cheaper way to figure out your preferences before making it 100% permanent. 

If you’d rather swap out the covers entirely, there are high-end customized upgrades like a billet aluminum cover - something that will drastically add some pop to the near all-black factory scheme.

Engine Covers

One of the final steps in dressing up an engine bay are covers, which are normally a peel-and-stick decal or direct bolt-on install for parts like the fuse box, battery, manifold baffle, plenum, and the ABS module. These trim piece decals are available in carbon fiber, stainless steel, chrome or billet aluminum finish, and can feature a coat of OEM colour-match paint. Covers also frequently feature the Mopar, HEMI, Dodge or Challenger logos and lettering, and can be further customized with your own personal preference (Scat Pack Bee or the SRT Hellcat for example). 

There are some unique cover offerings as well, such a Plexiglas and stainless steel combination for the intake, as well as an LED illuminated HEMI logo on a perforated stainless steel fuel rail/coil pack cover. While certainly more expensive than a decal, these covers look and feel sturdy and authentic.​

Hood Struts 

Lastly, we have hood struts: a clean and classy way of showing off your newly accessorized engine. Installing in pre-drilled holes in the Challenger’s body, gas-charged struts allow for easy opening and a smooth silent closing of the hood. They negate the need for the basic OEM hood prop, so there will be nothing blocking the view of the engine as well as improving accessibility for everyday servicing and more in-depth engine work. Most struts will feature a standard black finish, but the addition of logo decals or, for those with a bigger budget, color matched billet aluminum can definitely boost their wow-factor.

Engine Hoses

Last but not least are the plain black OEM hoses and wire looms. These items can easily be dressed up without the need to change any wiring or hoses at all. Rather, a classic upgrade for engine-fluid related hoses (thinking radiator hoses here) is to get a braided stainless-steel overlay that slips over the factory hose. This adds bling and does away with the mess (and cost) of replacing the hose altogether.

Furthermore, all of the black wire looms can be replaced with a wire corrugated colored variety. While time consuming to replace them all, the result is a vastly unique looking engine bay that was achieved without much negative effect on your bank account.

Fitment includes: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, SRT-8, RT, SE, SXT, RallyeRedline, ScatPack, Hellcat, GT, TA, Demon