Today, a clean engine bay will make it easier to conduct repairs or maintenance. So, if you have taken a long time since you cleaned your car engine then you should take a bit of time to allow the degreaser to soak through the grime and even use a bit of elbow grease to brush-off any deposits of oil. Additionally, it’s best to clean your car-engine and engine-bay before washing your vehicle to ensure that you wash-off and rinse-off any degreaser that may reach painted sections of the car. Likewise, washing a car-engine regularly will prevent rust from developing. So, in this post we are going to provide you with some of the best tips on how to thoroughly clean your car engine.
STEP-1: How To Protect & Prepare A Dirty Car Engine:
-Remove any debris caught in the engine bay: Before you start cleaning the car-engine, remove any leaves, grass, twigs or other debris from the engine bay. In fact, this debris can become an issue and even cause fires if left to sit on the engine or electrical system for long. Additionally, try to look for small animal nests as the weather becomes cooler. It’s also common for pine needles and leaves to fall into the engine bay and that’s why it’s very important to remove such debris.
-Protect any electrical systems of the car: A vehicle has different components of electrical systems which may include: battery, fuses and a lot more. So, these systems should be properly covered to prevent any major damages by water.
-Disconnect the car-battery: Spraying water directly into the engine-bay could cause some of electrical-components to arc, blow fuses or cause other damages. So, prevent this by loosening the bolt on the negative terminal on the battery and sliding the ground cable off of the terminal. You may choose to disconnect the positive terminal as well to remove and clean the battery outside of the engine bay. In case you leave the battery in the vehicle, then tuck the ground cable to the side to prevent it from coming into contact with the terminal.
-Cover any exposed wiring or electronics: Although a car-engine is fairly waterproof, wrapping plastic around some electrical components can offer you a higher degree of safety. So, try to cover the spark plug inlets, loose wires and the distributor cap if your vehicle features one. In fact, small plastic bags or plastic cling wrap work well in offering protection from water.
-Let the engine run for 5-minutes: The grease on the engine will be much easier to remove when heated. So, start the vehicle and allow it to run for about 5-minutes. This will allow the engine to get to normal operating temperature and loosen any stuck on grime. However, don’t leave the engine running for too long because you may burn yourself when you begin to clean the engine.
STEP-2: How To Degrease The Engine:
-Apply a good-quality degreaser to the engine: There are several brands of engine degreaser you can select from. So, spray the degreaser on the engine from the bottom up to ensure total coverage. However, always read the instructions on the degreaser you purchase to ensure you use the best method for the specific cleaner.
-Avoid splashing the degreaser on painted components: Engine degreaser can actually remove clear coat from paint and that’s why you should be extra careful not to overspray while covering the engine. However, if you happen to get any degreaser on the fenders or other painted areas, then rinse it off quickly to avoid damaging the paint. All in all, rinse-off any degreaser from painted surfaces as quickly as possible to avoid removing shine from automotive paint.
-Allow the degreaser to soak in for 3-to-5 minutes: Engine degreaser works by eating away any stuck-on grime on the engine. So, for fairly dirty engines 3-to-5 minutes is sufficient to loosen up stuck on grease and oil. For dirty engines, allow the degreaser to soak for 5-minutes before rinsing. The longer the degreaser sits, the better job it will do. In fact, after 5-minutes or so, the degreaser will start to drip off of the engine.
-Get a stiff bristled brush to scrub stuck-on grime: With the degreaser still soaking on the engine, use a stiff bristled or steel toothed brush to scrub away any large deposits of grease, burned-oil or grime. In fact, it should break loose fairly easily with the degreaser already applied. However, remember to wear eye-protection while scrubbing the engine to avoid getting the degreaser in your eyes. You should also wear gloves to prevent prolonged contact with the degreaser on your skin. All in all, you will need to scrub the engine if it has unusual large deposits of stuck-on grime.
-Rinse the engine using a regular hose: Don’t use a high pressure hose to rinse the engine because it may disconnect wires or penetrate the plastic you used to cover electronics. So, use a regular garden hose with a nozzle set to stream water in-order to rinse the engine effectively and remove most of the grime. In case you rinse the engine completely and it still looks dirty, reapply the degreaser and allow it to sit for another few minutes.
-Finish by washing the car: After rinsing the engine off, you should begin washing your car immediately since this will ensure that you clean any engine degreaser off any painted components before it has the chance to do any significant damage. However, make sure to a different bucket, sponges, rags and towels on the body of the vehicle. Additionally, wax any areas of the car that may have come into contact with the degreaser.
STEP-3: How To Clean Specific Engine Components:
-Use a wire-brush on the battery-terminals: Battery terminals often corrode which can lead to issues with the electrical system of your car. So, remove any cables on the battery and use a wire-brush to scrub the terminals until they are clean with exposed metal. Additionally, soaking the ends of the battery cables in an anti-corrosion chemical like CLR can help ensure a strong electrical connection.
-Apply some baking-soda & water to battery acid: In case the battery has corrosion caused by leaking battery-acid, then you can neutralize it by using a combination of baking-soda and water. So, pour a bit of baking soda into a bucket of water and mix it thoroughly. After, dip your brush in the mixture and use that to scrub the battery terminals and any other areas acid may have leaked. In fact, baking-soda makes an effective cleaning solution and neutralizer for the battery acid.
-Use a stiff bristled brush & sponge to clean plastic parts: The plastic parts of your engine like covers and reservoir-caps may be difficult to scrub clean. So, begin by using a stiff toothed, plastic bristled brush along with car wash soap or degreaser. Once the hard-to-remove grime is off, use a sponge with car wash soap to remove any remaining grime before rinsing the pieces with water. You may also choose to remove the components for cleaning out of the engine-bay. Lastly, avoid using steel toothed brushes on plastic as it may cause scratches.
-Use a brake-cleaner to spot-clean any grime deposits: Brake-cleaner actually breaks-up any grime and evaporates quickly. So, insert the straw into the nozzle of the brake cleaner and direct it at hard to clean spots or areas where the grime is particularly thick. After, use a hard toothed brush to scrub the grime away hen spray it again with the brake-cleaner to rinse it.