When it comes a clean car engine you may also get a window cleaner for your car, many people are scared by the thought of cleaning a car engine themselves. Due to the many electric connectors and other moving parts that make up a car engine, the thought of detailing the motor makes most of us run in the opposite direction.
The good news is that despite all the bad information repeated by misinformed people, car engine cleaning is one of the easiest jobs in the area of auto detailing in general! A few simple steps will go far when it comes to engine bay detailing and cleaning. Follow along as we dissect this area of auto detailing so you can become part of the select group of people known as the informed, and enjoy the benefits first hand that a clean engine means!
A Clean Engine is a Happy Engine!
Just look at the difference between the before and after car engine pictures just below and tell me which you would rather see when lifting the hood to your car!
Engine Cleaning and Detailing Quick Review:
The analysis of a car engine.
Why would you want to clean a car engine?
Is it as difficult as it seems?
What is the best car engine cleaner to use?
What are the safe methods for a clean car engine?
Analysis of a car engine: Car engine’s today are not the car engines of yesterday. If you look at your car engine you will start to notice a few critical factors that actually make car engine cleaning and detailing safer and easier than ever:
Much of the engine is covered in plastic shrouding.
Electric connectors are fully protected with sturdy plastic housings and assembled using moisture protecting grease.
Electronic ignitions mean the elimination of traditional distributors and carburetors.
Alternators remain as the only sensitive area with the appearance of exposed wires, etc.
The good news is that any modern day car engine (referring to any car engine within the last 20 years) is extremely protected from water, dirt, and other harmful elements of car ownership in the real world. The alternator is about the only thing any lay person can identify that would represent some form of risk, and the good news is that alternators represent no risk from direct contact with water.
Why would you want a clean car engine: Admittedly many of my detail customers from my detail business do not even look under the hood of their own cars, but for many more people, a clean car engine is as important as a clean and detailed car itself. Beside the obvious, there are numerous reasons a person would want a clean and detailed auto engine:
I believe that mechanics treat cars relative to how your car has been kept up to the point they start to work on it. A dirty engine for many mechanics is a sign of a non-particular customer.
A clean engine reveals any problem areas of an engine when leaks of any kind occur such as oil or coolant leaks.
A person forgets to install engine oil cap and creates a mess throughout engine bay.
Dirt by nature will degrade anything and everything within your engine bay.
Is it difficult to clean car engine: No! The good news is that for most of your car engine cleaning chores, it is more about superficial dirt and oil. The days of thick, heavy grease on your car engine is mostly a thing of the past, and any car detailing tasks will be mostly about day to day dirt and grime that will build up in the engine bay over time. Automotive engine cleaning is as simple as these steps:
Spray engine cleaner or degresaser over entire engine and engine bay.
Spray to remove engine cleaner and dirt from engine bay and engine with water; either from pressure washer, self-serve car wash bay pressure washer, or water nozzle attached to your own garden hose.
Blow engine and engine bay area with leaf blower, or compressed air to remove excess water from engine before starting engine.
Start engine and run for 5 minutes to completely dry all moving parts.
Follow-up with engine dressing if desired.
What engine cleaner or degreaser works best: This is an area that doesn’t need to be over thought. Let me lay out the simple points you need to understand and consider when trying to decide upon the best engine cleaner before I get into my actual engine cleaner and steps I use professionally to clean and detail my own customers car’s:
Spray engine with degreaser; a cool to warm engine is preferred. An overly hot engine is not recommended as your engine cleaner will dry too quickly.
Keep chamois or micro-fiber handy to wipe off any over-spray from car paint; or, apply a layer of car wax to painted areas surrounding engine bay prior to spraying any engine cleaner to engine.
Manually agitate excessively dirty areas of car engine and engine bay area with brush for a really clean car engine!
Wash off with water either under normal household water pressure from garden hose, electric pressure washer, gas powered pressure washer, or self-serve car wash location with pressure washer accessibility. (adjust pressure by simply moving wand tip further from engine parts; use common sense here when working around sensitive parts.)
Don’t over-saturate car engine with water pressure. Use enough to do the job and apply caution to protected areas such as fuse boxes.
If this is your first time, you will be nervous. But go easy and work into the process little by little if you remain uneasy. Once again, I have done hundreds of engines in this manner and have yet to have any problems. I have also consulted with more than one mechanic and have verified my process.
Blow excess water from engine bay with leaf blower, or pressurized air.
Start engine and allow engine to raise to normal operating temperatures for complete and thorough drying of all engine components; I also switch the AC on so compressor engages and runs while engine is running. This only takes about 5 minutes of operating time.
Apply aerosol engine dressing shown below if desired for shiny appearance after engine is allowed to cool. This is what is going to make your clean car engine really pop!
Most cleaners with some form of degreaser will work.
The more dirt, grease, oil, and grime, the more you will want what would be called a heavy-duty degreaser.
If a cleaner will cut oil or grease, then you have to remember it will remove any wax you may have on your car’s paint. Care must be taken to keep engine degreaser off car paint. (Learn more on this below)
What is the Safest Method for Cleaning a Car Engine?
Glad you finally asked, as I will show you what I do and use professionally to get perfectly cleaned and detailed car engines. Let me add a few points before we get further:
Engines are made up of hundreds of parts; it would be virtually impossible (unless your car engine was already meticulously detailed) to think you could clean every individual part by hand for fear of getting your engine wet.
I realize that no matter what I say, there will always remain skeptics who will be forever fearful of getting their car engine wet. I still have customers who forever cling to the fear of getting their engine wet.
My clean car engine tips are based on twenty-plus years of professional detail experience.