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How To Clean Your Engine Bay

If you want your car to continue running at its best performance and want to mitigate any unwanted breakdowns, simply clean your engine bay using these easy methods.

By Ryan EppsPublished 6 years ago 5 min read

It's okay, some people have the cluttered bedroom that never gets de-cluttered, yet even more have a kitchen that looks disastrous if at all even a kitchen. But, when it comes to vehicle care and car's prolonged livelihood, the engine bay is the one place you do not want to ignore. Keeping that lovely bay clean is actually one of the many things people tend to not do when driving a car for a long period of time. This not only damages the car, but also leaves it in a rather poor condition for too long a time, which you simply want to avoid.

When clean, your car engine can cool effectively and there's a lot less wear on car components like bearings and pulleys. There are a bunch of tips and guides as to how to clean your engine bay the best way and the right way, but if it's your first time you may want to have a professional do it while you watch on; otherwise be safe and stay clean! Follow these steps to ensure you clean your engine bay not only the correct way, or even the safest, but the most long lasting way around.

Disconnect the Battery

First thing's first, when you're about to clean your engine bay, you don't want to fry your engine or completely screw up the entire car by spraying water and soap over the most important components in the entire machine! Older cars will need covering plastic to protect the alternator, carburetor, and distributor, while newer rides will need just the alternator covered.

Make sure to avoid extremely damaging the vehicle and injuring yourself severely by disconnecting the battery and any other unwanted catastrophic mechanic parts. Disconnect the negative terminal first before anything, but for a full fledged guide on how to do this, read how to disconnect a car battery.

Ensure Engine Is Cool

For the same reasons you don't want to go spraying water on connected batteries and other dangerous equipment, don't start shooting water off when the car engine is hot as a skillet. This is seriously ruin your ride and possibly even destroy it for good.

If your car engine is too hot, or the whole entire bay is squelching, just wait a bit and allow everything to cool first before proceeding. This is just one of those easy-to-know ways how not to wash your car.


Obviously, number one thing you'll need to do is hose it down, but top this off and start early simply by lightly spraying the engine. If you're using a pressure washer, keep it on low or at least a lower setting as you spray the engine to make sure you don't damage sensitive electrical parts.

Don't apply any soap or degreaser just yet. All you're doing right now is knocking off any dust and grease still clinging to engine parts and other undercarriage areas. To clean your engine bay as best as possible, a quick pre-rinse is necessary, so don't ignore this crucial step.

This is and will be your very best friend along the road to clean your engine bay. While Gunk makes some truly good stuff, there's also Chemical Guys and various scrubs that can come in handy when it comes time to finally wipe away all that mess from under your hood.

Spray the engine with just a little of this stuff and continue the process to ensure your engine bay not only looks clean, but remains so in the long run. Nasty parts, like those under real hard-to-reach surfaces need this stuff the most, so keep that in mind during the process.

Low-Pressure Rinse

After letting the degreaser air dry, you'll want to lightly rinse everything away. This will probably pick up the most dirt, grime and all the filth in between, so make sure you're not too close to the vehicle when preforming this method.

While using a power washer, just simply spray back and forth over the engine bay. It's literally that simple to clean your engine bay. Interestingly, cars whose engines have not been cleaned in over 300,000 miles will probably need another application of degreaser or car soap, as well.

Personal Inspection

This sounds like a pretty mundane or otherwise useless step, which it can be—but trust me, it goes a long way in ensuring your engine bay looks more than fabulous. Check everywhere from your battery and carburetor, to under the engine bay itself.

You don't want excess grime or any kind of dirt getting inside valves or in the engine itself, so keeping an eye on how you clean will also make sure you're not ruining the car further if you're performing the methods incorrectly.

Automotive Car Wash Soap

Apply this once you've finished rinsing and applying degreaser as much as you possibly can (or need to, at least, don't overdo it). If you want to clean your engine bay as best as possible, car wash soap is your best bet, but you can always use 3M's Car Wash Soap if need be.

While engine degreaser and soap don't normally go well together, if you've applied the degreaser and let it sit for a while, you should be fine and the soap actually does help keep your engine secure from mold and other degrading buildup.

Final Rinsing

If you thought you couldn't get enough rinsing, well think again. When you have to clean your engine bay, which is the dirtiest area of your car, rinsing it non-stop is the key to success.

Just make sure for this third and last time that you remove the plastic fuse box cover or distributor cap, so sensitive electronics don't get effected. Hand wash all of the dangerous equipment that could still be grimy and pop them all back into place for the final few steps.

Dedicated Plastic Cleaner

Once everything is put back into place and all of the engine bay looks sparkling new, get yourself some plastic cleaner to polish scratches away and restore the shine of those rusted and dulled parts under the hood. It's probably the easiest job when you have to clean your engine bay, and shouldn't be avoided if you want a real sleek looking engine bay.

Here are the best 2018 plastic cleaners, but you can also use a metal polish, as well, when trying to get metal bits clean. You'll also need a terry or microfiber cloth in order to polish surfaces as best as possible.

Enjoy Your Work

Once complete, re-check it again to make sure everything is still operational and working fine. Also, reattach the car battery and other parts you may have taken apart to clean your engine bay.

Then, it's all smooth sailing from here. This is one of the best and easiest ways in how to make your car last longer, so don't avoid this crucial of car maintenance tip. Ride around in your whip to see just how clean that engine bay sounds.

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About the Creator

Ryan Epps

A cosmic adventurer rendering wayward letters into infinite lengths of conception and prose, like quantum streams of pneumatic information

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