Car engine. It’s a world of greasy grossness nobody wants to deal with. But you gotta if you want a car that runs smoothly.
Whether you want to get a good price for a car sale or want to keep your engine in tip-top shape, the steps that we will discuss in this post will help you learn how to clean engine parts properly.
Things You’ll Need:
- Degreasing product
- Drip pan
- Three 3-packs of absorbent mat
- Plastic wraps
- Wire and nylon brush
- Wire brush
- Garden hose
- Motor oil
How to Clean the Engine in 10 Simple Steps
Step 1: Heat up the engine.
Degreasers are most effective with a warm and soft grease. Start the engine, let it run for around five minutes, and then turn it off. Let it cool down until you can safely touch the exhaust manifold without burning yourself.
CAUTION: Never spray cleaners (especially flammable solvent ones) on a hot engine. Seriously don’t!
Step 2: Cover up.
Cover up all of the coils, ignition wires, electrical connections, distributor, carburetor, and air intake systems with plastic wraps. Then seal vacuum lines and PCV valves.
Step 3: Soak the runoff.
Get your drip pan and lay out the absorbent mats. Then slide the drip pan under the engine to soak up the runoff.
Step 4: Prep the tough areas.
Your engine most probably has areas with thick, baked on crud. Grab a wire brush and brush up those areas. This will break up the thick crud and make the degreaser’s job easier. Make sure to brush gently or use a nylon brush when brushing plastic components.
Step 5: Apply the degreaser.
Now that your engine is ready, grab your degreaser and spray it over the entire engine. Read the user manual or the cover of the degreaser to know the recommended time you should leave it to soak. This is usually around 10-15 minutes.
For very greasy areas, spray additional coats and brush it up.
Avoid spraying the degreaser on painted components as this can remove the clear coat from the paint. In case you accidentally sprayed the degreaser on a painted area, rinse it off quickly.
Note: It’s best to wear eye protection and gloves to avoid getting the degreaser on your eyes and skin.
Step 6: Rinse it off.
After the recommended soaking time, rinse off the degreaser using a regular water hose. Avoid using a high-pressure hose as this can harm engine parts.
If the engine or parts of it still looks dirty after rinsing off the degreaser, reapply the degreaser and let it soak for a few minutes.
Step 7: Remove the plastic wraps.
Don’t forget this! Remove the plastic wraps from all the electrical connections.
Step 8: Spray motor oil.
To prevent rust in your engine, spray it with a quart and a half of 5w-30 motor oil.
Step 9: Run the engine idle.
Once the engine is rinsed and the plastic wraps are taken off, run the engine idle for around 15 minutes.
Step 10: Dispose of the mats.
Place the wet malls in a sunny spot to allow the sunlight to dry up the water. Then dispose of the mats as per local regulations.
How to Clean Engine Parts
Some engine components need a little extra attention, so here I will share how to clean engine parts the right way.
Battery terminals: Battery terminals are often the first parts to corrode, which will lead to problems with the electrical system of your car. Remove the cables on the battery then use a wire brush to scrub the terminals clean. It may also help to soak the ends of the battery cables in an anti-corrosion formula to maintain a strong electrical connection.
Battery: If the battery has corroded parts caused by leaking battery acid, what you can do is neutralize it. Mix a bucket of water and baking soda, dip your brush, and scrub the parts with battery acid leaks.
Plastic parts: Plastic parts like engine covers and reservoir caps are much more sensitive to corrosion than metal ones, so you need to use gentler tools in cleaning these. Use a nylon or stiff bristled brush. Scrub the plastic parts with car wash soap or degreaser. Once the grime is removed, soak up the rest of the grime with a sponge with car wash soap.
Here’s another tip how to clean your engine using a Steam Cleaner. You might find it useful. It’s here.
And that’s how you clean engine parts properly. It gets easier as you get used to it. If you have any questions at all, hit me up in the comments section below.