When purchasing a carbon fiber hood, particular care should be given to the fit and finish of the prospective hood. Carbon fiber hood designs are often subject to less than reputable manufacture, resulting in a hood that fits poorly and has a less-than-quality finish. Seek out a manufacturer with solid credentials and a quality return policy. Ensure that the manufacturer of the carbon fiber hood uses high-quality carbon fiber and not just a carbon fiber look on a fiberglass hood.
Many people are opting to go with a carbon fiber hood due to its light weight as well as its strength. Carbon fiber has a distinctive appearance that is nearly impossible to replicate if it is damaged. This makes initial fit and finish very important. A carbon fiber hood that requires extensive sanding to fit will give a less-than-desirable finish and appearance.
On a vehicle which may be used to compete in automobile shows or contests, it is important to match the color of the carbon fiber hood to any other carbon fiber components in use on the vehicle. Carbon fiber can vary in appearance from a light graphite color to a darker black. Using multiple shades of carbon fiber on a vehicle can be grounds for points deductions in the appearance category. It may be wise to compare the color of the components prior to purchasing them.
A carbon fiber hood will often be offered in two different weights. Many companies offer a light-weight racing version as well as a heavier street version of the same hood. The light-weight hoods often will not stand up to the rigors of daily driving and road conditions and should not be used on a street-driven vehicle. Conversely, a street hood is much heavier and may crack or break instead of flexing under the strains of racing action.
When using a carbon fiber hood on a street-driven vehicle, care should be taken to ensure that the hood has provisions for a factory stock latching system. In many cases, a non-conventional latching system will need to be fabricated. This should be considered prior to purchasing the hood and examination of the proper skill and location to create a latch should be carefully considered.
Many vehicles are complimented by the addition of a carbon fiber hood. The appearance can set an individual vehicle apart from the crowd and offer uniqueness to a vehicle. An improperly-fitting hood can remove any sense of style from a vehicle. Also, an improperly latched hood can open during operation, causing very expensive damage to the vehicle and could even cause a fatal crash.