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How to Clean a Car Engine Bay without Spending Too Much Time

how to clean a car engine bay

Cleaning an engine bay sounds like the kind of car care task that you leave to the professionals. While this is certainly an option, not everyone has the money and time to seek out service providers.

Oftentimes, we want to be able to wash the engine bay for our precious car and pamper it on our own. In that case, it is important to know how to clean a car engine bay properly.

No car owners wake up one day and become magically equipped in this regard. Engine bay cleaning requires time and effort not only in execution but also in initial learning and familiarizing. It is far from an easy task. But it is very worth it.

Once you master cleaning a car engine bay, you will be able to take good care of your car and simultaneously save money from going to the professionals. If you are ready to do just that, continue to read. In this article, we will outline all the materials you need to wash an engine bay, like an engine bay cleaner, and the steps you need to take.

In short, what you have to do is:

  • Put on protective gear and set up for the cleaning
  • Get rid of all the loose dirt and dust using a brush
  • Apply the degreaser and scrub the hood’s underside
  • Rinse the degreaser off using a garden hose or power washer
  • Apply the degreaser and scrub the rest of the bay
  • Rinse the degreaser off with water from a hose or washer
  • Dry the water with an air blower or compressed air and towel
  • Reinstall the battery leads and return the original set-up

You will learn the rest as you read. So, what are you waiting for? Go on!

What You Will Need to Have

engine-cleaning

Before jumping into any action, you need to prepare a few items:

  • A pair of goggles and gloves
  • A soft cloth and microfiber towel or cloth
  • A degreaser
  • A synthetic brush, soft-bristle brush, and lug nut brush
  • A garden hose or power washer
  • An air blower or cans of compressed air
  • Plastic bags/sheets or aluminum foil

What You Will Need to Do

cleaning-an-engine-bay

To clean a car engine bay effectively, read this section carefully and follow along.

Step 1: Put on protective gear and set up for the cleaning

To start, put on your eye protection and a pair of gloves. Then, locate the battery leads under your hood and disconnect them. Upon disconnecting, be sure you use a towel or cloth for insulation before setting them aside. Go through all the lids and caps, making sure that they are properly sealed. The engine oil dipstick should also not be loose.

Step 2: Get rid of all the loose dirt and dust using a brush

Brush off any loose dirt and dust with the synthetic brush you have prepared. Get rid of all the visible particles and be very meticulous so you will not carelessly miss any. If you pick up a lot of filth, be sure to rinse the filth and avoid re-spreading the contaminants.

Step 3: Apply the degreaser and scrub the hood’s underside

Begin with the underside of the hood. Use the degreaser that you have prepared and spray it evenly. Give it at least two to three minutes to settle and work its magic. Next, use the soft-bristle brush to scrub gently in side-to-side or up-and-down motions.

If the stains are extra stubborn, this step will take longer. But do not be discouraged. Rest assured that the results will be worth it. Be patient and scrub well. Also, do not apply too much force. It is tempting, but trust us, you do not want to accidentally damage the engine bay, cause abrasion, or leave scratches.

Step 4: Rinse the degreaser off using a garden hose or power washer

Once you have gotten rid of all the caked oil and greasy gunks, you can move onto rinsing. Use the garden hose or a power washer in light mode. Note that the latter is a bit riskier as it can peel off coatings of surfaces. Therefore, if you are “better safe than sorry” type of person, then use the standard hose. Rinse until all the degreaser is gone.

Step 5: Apply the degreaser and scrub the rest of the bay

Now that the underside of the hood is clean, proceed to rinse the lower compartment in the engine bay. Apply the degreaser as you did with the above step. Then, scrub to remove the nasty build-ups. Use the lug nut brush to get into the nooks and crannies.

Step 6: Rinse the degreaser off with water from a hose or washer

Again, rinse thoroughly. Wash away the degreaser but be careful not to spray directly at any electrical components. Otherwise, you have a risk of causing permanent damage to them. Then, you will have to shell out a lot of money for repairs and replacements.

Step 7: Dry the water with an air blower or compressed air and towel

At this point, you are close to finishing. Dry the water with an air blower or cans of compressed air. Afterward, go over the entire bag one more time with a fresh microfiber towel of cloth. Remove the excess water completely.

Step 8: Reinstall the battery leads and return the original set-up

To complete, reinstall the battery leads. Remove any protective covers that were used. In essence, you are returning the bay to its original set-up. Everything should look the same, but only this time, everything is clean!

That’s it! Like we said, only 7 simple steps to clean a car engine bay properly. Given how quick and straightforward these steps are, you may even be looking forward to cleaning your own engine bay right now.

Other Tips

Clean on a warm day with low humidity and moderate wind

Choosing when to clean your car’s engine bay is also necessary. Warm days with low humidity and moderate wind are best. So, keep this in mind and follow the weather news to schedule a good time for your engine cleaning.

Allow the engine to cool down if you are cleaning right after a run

If you are cleaning right after you have taken your car out for a run, give it time to cool down. Remember to pop up the hood and wait for at least 20 minutes. Otherwise, you can be injured by the still-hot engine or ruin it by contraction when using cold water.

Cover any delicate, modified parts of electronics

If your vehicle is modified or includes delicate electronics, then use a plastic sheet or plastic bag to cover them. You can also use aluminum foil. It is critical since there is water involved in the cleaning process.

Run the engine to let it heat up and dry completely

After you have finished detailing your car’s engine bay and have waited for it to dry, you can take an additional step to guarantee that there is absolutely no excess water left. Simply start the engine and let it run to heat up. This is a simple but quite effective method to get rid of any and all residue moisture.

Conclusion

Knowing how to clean a car engine bay is very important, and no longer an issue that you have to worry about. Just remember all steps above.

If there are any other questions you want us to address or thoughts you want to share, feel free to leave a comment. We look forward to hearing from you!

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