Is your car over 5 years old? Theres a good chance it is, considering that the average age of a car on the road in the US is 11.4 years old. After thousands of miles driven and a multitude of services having been done, your engine bay is likely ridden with grime and dirt. Ive broken down on the side of the road a few times myself, and the last thing I want to do when Im in dire straits is get covered in car grease.
A clean engine bay will not only prevent you from getting greasy in a rut, but will also help your engine run at a cooler temperature and help keep everything else running smoothly. Cleaning your engine bay can be a quick and easy job, or you can go further and finely detail the bay almost as easily with just a little more time- for even greater satisfaction.
Im going to expound on the proper procedures in depth- you can decide how far you want to go with it based on your own standards/preference.
These are the supplies you will need; a vacuum, a leaf blower/air compressor, microfiber cloths, soapy water, degreaser, general cleaning wipes, and a versatile scrubbing brush.
Optional supplies that can take it to a higher level are; brushes assorted by size, pipe cleaners, a metal wire brush/rotary tool, and a toothbrush.
Questions you may have about cleaning your engine could be;
How do I make sure I don’t damage the electronics? Does anything need to be covered or taken out? What products are safe to use? Does the water temperature matter?
These are all common concerns, and I will be sure to cover them throughout the description.
To begin, you’ll need to get prepared. Cover your eyes and hands and collect the necessary supplies. Disconnect and remove the battery. Tightly shut all of the reservoir caps.
Next, you’re going to do a dry clean. There’s likely going to be a large amount of loose dirt and debris that can be easily brushed loose and vacuumed right off.
After vacuuming, take your air blowing device- an air compressor works best but a leaf blower or vacuum on the blow setting could also do the job- and blow away the excess debris you’ve brushed off. If there is any dull aluminum or metal, it can be brought back to life by scrubbing it with a metal wire brush or a rotary tool with a wire wheel. Youll want to blow off the loose debris after this step as well.
Next comes the wet. Any water temperature will be okay if your engine is cool, but warm water will make the washing easier. If your engine is hot, wait until you can rest your hand on the engine block until you put any water on it. If it’s warm, you may proceed- but only with warm water, as cold water on a hot engine could result in cracked or warped parts.
Be sure to cover the engine prior to spraying anything, as the electrical parts within such as the alternator, distributor, and spark plug wells should all be exposed to minimal water.
Spray the entire exposed bay down with water, and use a cleaning wipe to sop up the excess water and lifted dirt. Spray all over again, with degreaser this time, and use your brush and/or pipe cleaner to scrub all of the surfaces. Rinse with water, and wipe away anything thats left with a microfiber cloth.
Next, take the plastic off of the engine. Removing the intake can make this part much easier, so do this if youre confident in properly removing and replacing it. This should be evident, but removing any parts from your engine bay should always be done with care.
Now, start by cleaning the top layer of grease off of the tubes and such around your engine with cleaning wipes. Lightly mist the area with soapy water and agitate with a brush. A small brush or pipe cleaner would be the best size for this area. Absorb the soapy water and dirt with a microfiber towel, being sure to soak up any excess moisture. A vacuum with water capabilities would work wonders to get any leftover water out of hard to reach places.
To finish, buff the entire surface with a cloth until a delightfully alluring gleam is achieved, and thats a wrap!
Your engine should now be looking just as fresh and new as it did when it was a wee babe!