How To Clean A Car Engine?
“Out of sight, out of mind” is certainly a truism when it comes to your car’s engine. How many of us wash, wax, and polish the paintwork, buff the wheels, and then completely forget about the heart of the vehicle—the engine.
Longevity is down to good maintenance, and thankfully it’s not that difficult to get both the engine and its compartment sparkling again: anyone can do it, it just takes a little graft.
So let’s take a look at the steps necessary to carry out a DIY car engine service.
1. Prep time
Step one is to blast away the debris and dust trapped in the vents, grill, and hood openings. The easiest way to do this is with compressed air. Use this and the job’s a breeze. But you can use a small hand brush to do the same—it just takes a little longer and you’ll work up more of a sweat…
Next, you need to protect the engine from the blast of water you’re going to eventually be spraying over it. Even if you’re not engine savvy this a pretty straightforward job, as in all reality a factory waterproofing was carried out when the car was produced. It’s just an added level of precaution.
To do this you need some plastic baggies and tape. Cover areas such as exposed wiring, spark plug openings, sensors, and the distributor with the baggies and hold in place with a little tape. It’s also recommended to cover the fenders because the degreaser in the following steps might strip the wax from the surface.
2. The easiest step of all…
Is to loosen the grease that’s accumulated around the engine. To do that you simply turn the engine on, let it idle for about 10 minutes, then turn off.
3. Time to get mucky
The next step is to apply an engine degreaser, but don’t let anyone tell you that a petroleum-based product is the best… It’s not! Sure, it does the job but it’s harmful to seals and rubber hoses. So be sure to use a citrus or water-based degreaser.
Spray the degreaser working from the bottom upwards to prevent being dripped upon. Wipe or hose off the hood and grill when done to remove any splashes.
How long you leave the degreaser on will be determined by how dirty the engine is:
- Clean engine: Around 3 minutes.
- Dirty engine: At least 5 minutes. In addition, use a long-handled parts brush to further remove the build-up of deposits.
4. Rinse downtime
Do this with a hose. A garden hose at a regular stream will ensure no parts get damaged.
5. Buff dry
Last of all dry the engine using a microfiber towel. It’s also good practice to spray with an engine cleaner for extra protection.
Of course, the alternative to doing the dirty work is to let the experts do it for you. Household name, Jiffy Lube, provides a convenient drive-up engine cleaning service in their many nationwide locations. Quick and easy, it’s the perfect solution for many of us when it comes to carrying out grubby but necessary car maintenance tasks.