You may be like most people and almost always keep both the interior and exterior of your car sparkling clean and never forget to get an oil change when it is time to, but did you know that cleaning your car’s engine is just as important? The engine and engine compartment need to be cleaned in order for the car to run as best it can. Below are steps to take in cleaning your car’s engine compartment and motor.
1. Cleaning Preparation
Any debris you may have stuck in between you vent openings, hood and grill should be removed as best you can. Compressed air helps clear out debris quickly, if you don’t have access to compressed air, this step only requires a small hand brush. Once you have removed the excess debris, next you must prepare your engine to get wet. Things like the exposed wiring, cover sensors, spark plug openings and the distributor need to be protected. For this you can use plastic baggies and rubber bands or household tape. The engine does not need to be waterproofed, but rather kept from getting soaking wet. Most engines are waterproof, using baggies is an extra precaution.
2. Loosening the Grease
This is an easy step, start your car up, letting it run for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the oil, grease and other muck that has accumulated to loosen. Other than helping to get rid of grease, having warmed up your engine will make your degreaser products work better.
3. Engine Degreaser
As far as engine greasers go, for this step you will want to make sure to have a citrus or water based cleaner. You can use petroleum based products which work quickly, but they may tear up your rubber seals and hoses. The degreaser should be applied starting from the bottom so that it will not drip down on you as you clean the engine. Over spraying the degreaser must be avoided as it can and will remove the wax on your fenders. Covering your fenders beforehand or spraying slowly and carefully will keep you from having to re waxing later on. Once the degreaser has been applied, the fenders, grille and hood need to be hosed off. Depending how clean or dirty your engine is, you will need to let the degreaser soak, cleaner engines require three minutes, dirtier engines need about five minutes for everything to loosen. If you only have light or moderate buildup, you won’t need a hand brush, if your car has heavier deposits, use your parts brush, trying to reach all parts of the engine with its long handle. A little car wash solution is helpful in removing heavier soil before hosing down.
4. Hosing Down
Once the degreaser has soaked in, the engine must then be hosed off. You should not use a high powered, high pressure nozzle hose as your electrical connections may suffer damage as a result. A regular garden hose will do, if you have an adjustable nozzle, use the “stream” setting.
The engine’s heat will help it to dry fast, air drying is not recommended as spotting results. Rather, after letting the heat dry the engine for a few minutes, wipe it down with a clean microfiber cloth.
Lastly, if you want to go the extra mile, once you have dried your engine spray it down with an engine cleaner. Brand name engine cleaners can be purchased at auto supply shops and stores, after spraying wipe of the excess protectant and buff to get that extra gleaming shine.