How To Effectively Clean Your Car Engine Bay

If you’re one of the third of UK drivers that prides themselves on driving a spotless car, chances are you regularly give your bodywork a thorough wash and the interior a good hoover and clean. But is that where your automotive hygiene comes to a stop? 

If you regularly pop your bonnet, chances are you’ve been struck by just how dirty, oily and greasy the engine bay is – especially in comparison with the rest of your pristine motor. Now, cleaning the engine bay can be daunting; after all, you don’t want to disturb any important parts. Yet, done right, and with enough care, you can make sure it looks immaculate – perfect for showing off your V6! 

Get the right tools and equipment 

If you clean your car at home, chances are you already have all the correct tools and equipment.

  • Car washing soap or degreaser
  • Hose
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Trim restorer
  • Car cleaning wipes
  • Safety glasses
  • Small brush or pipe cleaners
  • Brushes (plastic or metal)
  • Microfibre towels
  • Large plastic bags or sheeting

Prepare your engine bay for cleaning

To clean the engine bay without affecting parts or performance, it’s important to prepare it right.

  1. Warm the engine for 30 seconds to loosen any dirt – the intake should be cold enough to touch.
  2. Disconnect and remove the battery to stop the risk of electrical components getting damaged.
  3. Check all caps, hoses, and other non-fixed parts are tightly secured.
  4. Cover the engine with the plastic bags or sheeting to protect important parts such as the engine control unit and ignition wires.

How to clean the engine bay

First things first, put on your safety glasses and pair of specialist gloves to protect your skin against potentially irritating cleaning products – you’ll thank us later.

  1. Using your vacuum cleaner and a brush, remove any dirt and debris from the engine. Scrub lightly – too much force and you could damage engine parts.
  2. Using the hose on a weak setting, wash the interior side of the bonnet and the engine bay, taking care not to get water in the brake fluid, power steering, or engine oil reservoirs, or on the distributor, spark plugs, or alternator.
  3. Use car cleaning wipes to remove dirt from engine parts. 
  4. Spray car soap or degreaser across painted and metallic surfaces.
  5. Clean the soapy surfaces with a microfibre cloth. Use the small brush or pipe cleaners to get inside any snug engine spaces. Rinse down the parts you’ve just cleaned with your hose.
  6. Remove the plastic from the engine and clean it using car cleaning wipes. If the grease is particularly tough to remove, spray on degreaser and clean it off with a microfibre cloth.
  7. Clean any rubber and plastic surfaces with a water-based trim restorer and synthetic brush (oil-based products may damage them), then clean off the soap and grime with a cloth.

Your car’s engine bay should now be sparkling clean. Reconnect the battery and remove any plastic bags or sheeting, and you can drive away happy in the knowledge your engine is spotless.

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