How and Why You Should Clean Your Engine Bay
By Joel Ilton on Monday, 22 August 2016
The more you drive your car, the more dirt and grime will accumulate in the engine bay of your vehicle.
Engines can start looking dirty very quickly, especially if it is leaking fluid or has recently had repair done, and not cleaned down properly.
If you plan on selling your vehicle, or just want to take pride in all aspects of your car, cleaning the engine bay is a simple and easy job that you can perform yourself in as little as half an hour.
The first step is finding somewhere suitable to clean your engine bay.
It is illegal to dump contaminated water into city drains, which includes oil, coolant or de-greaser, so you will need to find a suitable location to carry out the clean.
Most self-serve car wash services have a provision to allow engine bay cleaning, or placing a plastic sheet under your vehicle that will allow runoff to be collected in a container and disposed of properly, are simple solutions around this.
It is best to allow the engine to sit for a short period of time, to let the engine cool down.
A hot engine will cause the de-greaser and other cleaning agents to dry quickly, and leave unsightly spots all over the engine.
You will need certain products to carry out cleaning of the engine bay. These include:
- Scrubbing brush
- Gloves and Safety glasses
- Engine Degreaser
- Plastic bags
- Water, preferably a pressure washer or garden hose
- Spray bottle
Using the plastic bags, cover up any components that you would like to keep dry, such as the alternator, coil and spark plugs.
Getting water in these components may cause damage or starting issues, so it’s best to keep them nice and dry. Be sure to remove the plastic bags after you’ve finished!
It’s time to start cleaning! Firstly, rinse the engine bay down with the high pressure washer or hose, starting at the back and working your way forward, making sure to cover as much as you can.
Have the pressure washer on a lower setting, as having high pressure may force water into connectors and other components, which may cause issues.
Once you are happy with the rinse, mix your de-greaser and water in a bucket, and apply with a scrubbing brush, making sure to work on stubborn marks.
Allow the de-greaser to sit for a few minutes, to give it a chance to break down the dirt and grime.
While this is happening, fill a spray bottle with the de-greaser mixture, and spray around the perimeter of the engine bay, making sure not to spray it directly on the paintwork.
Once it has sat for a few minutes, grab your pressure washer or hose, and rinse the de-greaser solution off.
If there are any problem areas, focus on them with the spray bottle and scrubbing brush until they are clean. It’s now time to let the engine bay dry.
The easiest way is to leave the bonnet open, especially if it is as warm sunny day.
You can also use compressed air to remove the water, if you have access to it. Now that the engine is dry, it is time to remove the plastic bags.
You can also buy special rubber and vinyl protectant especially for engine bays, to give the plastics a showroom shine!
Once you feel that you have removed all the dirt and grime form your engine bay, you can feel proud that you have the best looking engine on the street!
Carrying out this cleaning routinely will keep the engine bay looking new, and will help to track down any leaks, and show prospective buyers how much you have taken care of your car.
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