How to Clean Oil From Under Car? – The Best Way

how to clean oil from under car

Have you tried to remove caked on grease from engine with a rag and the results were not that great? If so, we’ve got the solution for you.

Cleaning it is an essential task – but we sometimes ignore it and let the oil buildup on our engine. If your car is not cleaned properly, then you will face many problems later on.

A car’s engine is the heart of your vehicle so it needs to be treated with utmost care. When it comes down to how to clean oil from under car, this step-by-step guide can be a life-saver.


What You Will Need to Clean Under Hood of Car


  • Degreaser – Removes grease and oils, and loosens any unwanted dirt and grime.
  •  Air Compressor – Removing dirt and drying the engine’s surface.
  •  Socket – Detaches the battery cable.
  • Engine Protectant – Provides a protective layer for easier cleaning moving forward.
  • Dip Pan
  • Clean Towel/Rags
  •  Trash bag
  • Masking Tape/Painter’s Tape
  • Brush with Stiff Hard Bristles
  • Power Washer/Water Hose

Ways to Remove Oil From Under Car

Step #1: Prep your vehicle and materials

On a spacious area outside or in your garage at home, make sure your engine is cool before you start to clean oil off undercarriage. If your engine is hot, turn it off and leave it for about an hour to cool down.

In the meantime, you can gather all the supplies that you will need to do your undercarriage cleaning and set down your dip pan that will collect the oil later.

Clean under hood of car and remove any unwanted dirt and debris from under your car so it will not obstruct the process when you clean oil off engine.

Step #2: Cover up the engine’s parts

Using an unused trash bag or other plastic, cover up the surrounding car parts, especially the electronics, to avoid spreading the solution and dirt later.

Use masking tape or painter’s tape to secure each bag from its place. This is the best way to avoid damaging any sensitive car parts such as:

  • Alternator
  • Air Intake System
  • Distributor
  • Battery
  • Fuse Box
  • Engine Control Unit
  • Sensors
  • All Electrical Connections
  • Spark Plugs
  • And other parts necessary

Check your car’s owner manual to locate each part and protect them properly.

Step #3: Disconnect other parts


Disconnect your car’s battery cables and remove your air intake filter and cabin filter (if exposed).

Using the socket you have prepared, use the correct size to unfasten your car’s battery cables. Remember to remove the negative cable first and then the positive cable after. Stay away from any metal for a few minutes to avoid experiencing a slight shock.

Cover the filter intakes with a trash bag and ensure that no water will be able to pass through. Once everything is removed, secured, and absolutely protected, you can proceed to the next step to clean oil from engine bay.

Step #4: Apply your Engine Grease Cleaner


Get under your car and spray your undercarriage cleaner degreaser. Apply it all over your car engine’s underbody avoiding the sensitive areas that we have mentioned in Step #2.

Cleaning underside of car will be easy peasy once the accumulated oil and dirt have emulsified. But if the oil and dirt are piled in a thick layer, let the solution work its job for about 20 minutes before you continue with the scrubbing.

Letting the degreaser sit for a few minutes will loosen the layers of oil stuck together making it easier for you to clean oil off bottom of car.

Step #5: Remove the Accumulated Oil and Dirt

Scrub off the oil and gunk using a brush with hard bristles. Apply some elbow grease to effectively remove caked on grease from engine.

You’ll want to make sure you get in all of those nooks and crannies, especially if you have some stubborn build-up hiding out there! You may want to repeat this step several times if necessary.

Rags and towels can also be an alternative to brushes if and only if the undercarriage has only minimal oil build-up. But it is still better to use a brush in order to scrub off the oil effectively.

Step #6: Rinse the Undercarriage of the Engine

Now that you have scrubbed clean undercarriage of car from the oil, it is now time to rinse out the grease.

You have to make certain that you remove grease from car parts but never hose down directly at any sensitive car parts and areas with tight gaps that do not dry quickly. If you are using a pressure washer, you must use the lowest possible setting.

You can also remove grease from car parts covered in plastic that was accidentally affected when scrubbing without water. Try dabbing a clean towel to the plastic covers and make sure you don’t apply too much force so as to not break the taped protection.

Step #7: Dry the Engine

After you clean oil off bottom of engine, you can finally dry the undercarriage. For quicker results, feel free to use an air compressor or blower to blow away all the water molecules and even the dirt in the surrounding area.

Using a clean microfiber towel or rag, pat the surface dry and check to see if there are no more leftover dirt and oil. If there is still noticeable oil build-up, you can repeat the process until clean.

Step #8: Apply Protectant to your Engine


Whip out your engine protectant and spray a nice coat of layer to your newly cleaned and dry engine.

Make sure you check the ingredients and product instructions before using them for safety purposes. You can also apply the protectant to vinyl, plastic, and rubber car parts but not the sensitive areas.

Truly a classic car protection tactic so you can guard your engine (and other parts) while making it easier to clean the next time you remove oil from under your car engine.

Step #9: Reattach the removed car parts and clean your area

Clean up the dip pan and properly dispose of the collected oil. It is important to not pour them down the drain or discard them on the street. You can keep them in a jar and surrender them to a car repair store for proper disposal.

Remove the plastic bag and tapes that you have used and properly return the removed parts to their original places.

Wipe off any leftover dirt from your engine with a clean towel and hooray- you are done!

Frequently Asked Questions


How do you manage a sudden oil leak?

Here are some quick fix solutions that you can do in case of a sudden oil leak:

  • Use an oil leak sealer to swiftly strengthen your gaskets and minimize any small gaps in your engine that may have caused the leak. If the gaps are too big, this method may not work; however there is no hurt in trying.
  • Tighten all the bolts from the oil pan, timing belt cover, and valve covers. Read your car owner’s manual first before doing this to make sure that you are tightening the bolts correctly.

If your problem is still not resolved, consult your mechanic to fix the problem.

How often should you clean the car chassis?

You can clean your chassis after every 3 months. But it may be more frequent if you have a lot of mileage on their vehicle.

Just ensure you regularly clean your car chassis. When you take care of your chassis, you are giving yourself the best chance of keeping your car in top shape for many years to come.

Is it OK to wash underneath the car?

You can wash your car undercarriage as instructed in the steps above but keep in mind that there are parts in which you cannot simply wet such as electronics.

As long as you know how to protect the vulnerable parts and avoid the areas that are hard to dry, you can go ahead and wash the underneath of your car.


Learning How to clean oil from under car may be intimidating at first but this skill is very useful in the long run.

Cleaning the oil before it gets worse can definitely save you and your car from possible future damage. Your car is a part of your home and a well-cared one is going to last longer than one that’s neglected. Don’t stress it and just clean it!

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