How to Clean Your Car’s Engine

open car hood clean engine

A well-kept car is the secret to a happy, long car life. When your car is fresh, shiny and clean from the inside-out, it may almost feel like it’s brand new. But if you really want to step up your car maintenance, cleaning your engine might be a worth a try.

If you’ve never given your car engine a good cleaning, here’s a step-by-step process to help you get started:

  1. Make sure the engine is turned off and cool
    Car and Driver's website recommends turning off the car, flipping the hood, and allowing the engine to cool for at least 15 minutes before you start cleaning your engine, as hot engine components can burn you and be damaged if sprayed with cool water.

  2. Remove plastic hood covers
    According to CAD, removing any plastic covers under the hood and negative terminal from the battery will help protect the electrical components from getting damaged if they get wet.

  3. Cover electrical components
    Using plastic bags to cover any sensitive electrical components (i.e. battery, ignition, wires and engine control unit) can enable you to clean the engine more thoroughly with less risk of damage.

  4. Degrease the engine
    Spray the entire engine with degreaser.

  5. Scrub the engine
    If necessary, you can use a small brush to scrub your engine to work in the degreaser and clean the dirt and grime.

  6. Rinse and dry
    Remove excess water and grime with a towel or rag.

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