So, you washed your car’s interior, exterior, and interior, and you are driving around town when your car suddenly starts to cough and sputter. Like any other machine, your car’s engine and its engine compartment also need cleaning for it to run like it just rolled out of the showroom. Following are steps to follow on how to clean your car’s motor and engine compartment.
Cleaning your car’s engine is not hard—it involves just a little elbow grease.
Step 1: Preparing the car’s Engine for Cleaning
Try to remove any debris trapped in your grill, hood, or vent openings. If you have access to compressed air, the job is quick; if there is no easy access, not so much. All you need, though, is a small hand brush to do the job. Following debris removal, it is time to prepare the engine for getting wet. Cover sensors, exposed wiring, the distributor, and spark plug openings. Plastic baggies work well for this job and need only a little tape or rubber bands to stay put. You are not looking at making the engine waterproof; you just want to prevent most of the water from getting these items soaked. Your engine is most likely waterproof from the factory; baggies are an extra precaution.
Step 2: Loosen the accumulated grease.
Talk about an effortless step! Start your car and let it run for 5–10 minutes. This loosens the accumulated grease, oil, and other stuff stuck on the engine. In addition, a warm engine works well with degreaser products.
Step 3: Applying Engine Degreaser
Make sure you buy a water- or citrus-based cleaner. Petroleum-based products work fast but are also harsh and degrade rubber hoses and seals. Apply the degreaser from the bottom up so that while you are working on cleaning the engine, the degreaser won’t drip down on you. Also, keep in mind that if you overspray the degreaser, it will remove the wax from your fenders. Cover them or spray them very carefully so you don’t have to deal with re-waxing chores. After you apply the degreaser, hose off your fenders if they were not protected. Other areas that need hosing off include the hood and grille.
If your car’s engine is clean, let the degreaser soak in for about three minutes. Very dirty engines need five minutes for the degreaser to loosen everything. For moderate to light buildup, there is no need to use a hand brush. For heavy deposits, use a parts brush (it is long-handled) so you can easily reach all parts of the engine. When using the brush, use a little car wash solution so that the brush’s agitation has a little help in removing heavy soil before you hose down the engine.
Step 4: How to Wash a Car’s Engine
Once the time is up for the degreaser, you have to hose it off. It is best not to use a high-pressure nozzle, as it may damage electrical connections even if you cover them. A regular garden hose with an adjustable nozzle set at “stream” will work well.
Read more: Why Is The Check Engine Light On?
Step 5: Drying Your car’s Engine
The heat from your engine helps it dry quickly. Never let your engine air dry, as it spots. Instead, after a few minutes of letting the engine dry itself, wipe it down with a clean microfiber towel.
Tip – After you dry your engine, spray it with a brand-name engine cleaner. Wipe off any extra protectant and buff to a showroom shine.
Q: Why should I clean my car’s engine?
A: Cleaning your car’s engine can help improve its performance, prevent buildup of dirt and debris, and enhance the overall appearance of the engine compartment. Removing grime and contaminants can also make it easier to identify potential leaks or issues during inspections.
Q: Can I clean my car’s engine myself?
A: Yes, you can clean your car’s engine yourself, but it requires careful preparation and proper execution to avoid damaging sensitive components. If you’re not confident or comfortable doing it yourself, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance.
Q: What materials and tools do I need to clean my car’s engine?
A: Here are some common materials and tools you may need:
- Engine degreaser or engine cleaner
- Brushes (soft-bristle and stiff-bristle)
- Plastic bags or waterproof covers
- Water source (garden hose or pressure washer with low pressure)
- Towels or rags
- Rubber gloves
- Eye protection
Q: How do I prepare my engine for cleaning?
A: Before cleaning your car’s engine, follow these steps to prepare:
- Ensure the engine is cool and has been turned off for a while.
- Cover sensitive electrical components, such as the air intake, distributor, and exposed wiring, with plastic bags or waterproof covers.
- Disconnect the battery or cover the battery terminals with plastic wrap to prevent water damage.
Q: What is the recommended process for cleaning a car’s engine?
A: Here is a general process to clean your car’s engine:
- Start by spraying a suitable engine degreaser or cleaner onto the engine, focusing on areas with heavy grease or grime buildup. Follow the product instructions for application.
- Use a soft-bristle brush to agitate and scrub the degreaser, paying attention to hard-to-reach areas and crevices.
- For stubborn areas, you can use a stiffer brush, but be cautious around sensitive components.
- Rinse off the degreaser and loosened dirt using a gentle stream of water from a garden hose or pressure washer set to low pressure.
- Avoid spraying directly into sensitive electrical components or intake areas.
- Dry the engine bay with towels or rags, taking care to remove excess water from components and connectors.
- Remove the plastic covers or bags from sensitive components and reconnect the battery if disconnected.
Q: Are there any precautions or risks to consider when cleaning the engine?
A: Yes, there are a few precautions to keep in mind:
- Avoid spraying water directly into electrical connectors, the air intake, or sensitive components to prevent damage.
- Use a gentle stream of water to rinse off the degreaser and dirt, avoiding high-pressure settings that can force water into unwanted areas.
- Take care not to dislodge or damage any wires, hoses, or connectors while cleaning.
- Always follow the instructions provided by the degreaser or cleaner manufacturer.
If you’re unsure or uncomfortable, consider seeking professional help to avoid potential damage to the engine or its components.
Q: How often should I clean my car’s engine?
A: The frequency of engine cleaning depends on various factors, such as driving conditions, climate, and personal preference. As a general guideline, it is recommended to clean your car’s engine every 1-2 years or as needed to maintain its appearance and performance. Regular inspections can help you determine when cleaning is necessary.