Engine detailing is quite different from other maintenance on your car but it’s just as important. Not only does engine cleaning make it look better but when you learn how to clean a car engine it will also run better!
So why should you bother to learn how to clean a car engine? Most people just take their engine for granted until it breaks down or starts making noises. But grime from the road and atmosphere can build up in the engine compartment, especially with today’s smaller engine casings. Dirt allows the heat to concentrate inside the compartment, damaging hoses and plastic parts. If you’re old enough you probably remember buying a spare hose for your engine for a couple of bucks; today’s molded hoses can cost over $100! Engine cleaning protects your engines non-metal parts and protects them from excessive heat.
The first thing to do when learning how to clean a car engine is to consult your manual! If there is a cleaning product or ingredient you should avoid, the information will be there. It may even give you some tips on engine detailing.
An important part of engine detailing is to be sure that your car is in an area where the dirt and engine cleaner agents won’t get into the aquifer or the sewer system. If there is no place like that at your home, drive to a self carwash so that products can drain safely off your engine! Learning how to clean a car engine involves protecting the environment as well as your own satisfaction.
Warm the engine slightly, not to operating temperature but just so that it is warm to the touch. This will help soften the grime and grease and make engine detailing a little easier by allowing the engine cleaner better permeation. Turn off the engine and remove the negative battery cable; cover anything that has exposed electrical components with plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Do the same with the air intake and carburetor if it’s an older engine; you can use aluminum foil or plastic to shed the water and protect it.
Now, brush excess dirt and particulates off the surface. You can use a stiff brush that you use for painting or a plastic bristle brush for this part of engine cleaning. An air compressor will blow away lots of the stuff sticking to your engine, as will a leaf blower or hair dryer.
Mix your grease cutting soap, Simple Green or commercial engine cleaning solution according to instruction then brush it onto the warm engine. You may have to gently scrub the engine cleaner into some places that have more stubborn dirt and grease deposits. Take care not to let the soap dry during engine cleaning! Let the engine cleaner solution soak for a few minutes then rinse the engine with a garden hose or similar source. If there is dirt or grease remaining, apply more engine cleaner and scrub if you have to then rinse.
Some cars have recessed spark plugs so be sure that you soak up any water that may have pooled there or any other places. Use that air compressor or leaf blower to blow off any excess water. Leave the hood up and let the engine dry.
If your car’s manual says it is safe, apply engine protectant to repel dirt and grime and make future engine detailing easier. See how simple it is to learn how to clean a car engine? You’ll love the results!
Looking for a complete kit to detail your own car? Check out Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit