7. How to Clean Your Car's Engine Bay1

How to Clean Your Car’s Engine Bay

Read Time:5 Minute, 48 Second

When your car is clean and shiny, don’t you feel good? You might even think that a well-kept car drives better when you see it rolling down the street or parked in your driveway. But if you truly want your vehicle to be beautiful, you must also take care of the muck and grime inside the engine. Even though the engine bay is shielded from the elements—at least not from above—debris and dust still enter the space through openings near the hood and the front of the car. Cleaning your engine might seem difficult; how do you wash a sizable piece of plastic and metal?—but following these 10 steps can turn the job into a simple afternoon task, and a very satisfying one. Here’s a quick and effective engine cleaning method.

Tools Required

  • Assortment of stiff fiber-bristled brushes
  • Blower or compressor (optional)
  • Drip pans (if working at home)
  • Dust mask
  • Garden hose (if working at home)
  • Garden watering wand (if working at home)
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Screwdrivers
  • Shop vacuum (if working at home)
  • Spray bottles
  • Wire brush
  • Wrenches

Materials Required

  • Absorbent pads (if working at home)
  • Degreaser
  • Electrical tape
  • Plastic bags
  • Zip ties

How To Clean Your Car’s Engine Bay

Step 1: Schedule

Preferably, choose a warm day. The engine and its components will dry out more quickly after cleaning in warmer weather, especially when there is little humidity and some wind.

Step 2: Cool

If the car was moving, raise the hood and give the engine at least 15 minutes to cool. In addition to burning you, hot engine parts are also susceptible to being damaged by rapid contraction if they are sprayed with cool water.

Step 3: Remove

Any plastic covers under the hood should be removed. These can each be scrubbed independently. Additionally, take the battery’s negative terminal off. This will lessen the risk of the electrical parts becoming damaged if they get wet. If you’d like, you can also remove the battery, but we’ve cleaned many engine bays without doing so.

Step 4: Cover

Cover any delicate electrical parts, including the engine control module, ignition wires, and battery, using plastic bags. You should also cover any exposed engine air intakes if there are any under the hood. You can skip this step if you’re confident that you’ll be meticulous about your rinsing. But if you shield these electronics, you can clean more thoroughly without having to worry about breaking something.

Step 5: Degrease

Spray degreaser liberally throughout the entire engine compartment. Any household degreaser, including those designed specifically for cleaning engines or kitchen appliances, will function. We have used Simple Green because we like its environmentally friendly recipe. Make sure to cover every square inch; don’t hold back.

Step 6: Scrub

It might not be necessary to scrub, depending on how dirty your engine is. The valve cover, for example, may have years’ worth of caked-on dirt and oil. To effectively work the degreaser in and remove the gunk, use a small brush with synthetic, not metallic, bristles. If more degreaser is required, add it.

Step 7: Rinse

A standard hose will also work, but you can use your power washer on a low setting. Or you could use the sprayer at the neighborhood self-serve carwash. Wash all of the degreasers out of the compartment by rinsing it thoroughly from back to front. Avoid spraying water too heavily into areas that won’t dry quickly or directly onto electrical components.

7. How to Clean Your Car's Engine Bay2

Step 8: Dry

You can remove extra water by blasting air into the crevices if you have access to compressed air. If not, use a shop towel or rag to wipe everything that is within your reach. This will help remove any remaining grime in addition to removing the water.

Step 9: Replace

Remove the bags covering the electrical components and reinstall the battery’s negative terminal.

Step 10: Repeat

Avoid letting your engine compartment become overly dirty in the first place if you want to make this project simple. Your engine will look cleaner with only an hour’s worth of work if you degrease it quickly once or twice a year. Even though the engine in your vehicle won’t ever look as attractive as the one in the picture above, having a clean engine bay will make you happy.

How To Choose A Location

The dust from an automobile’s engine bay contains substances that are hazardous to the environment. Neither the wet nor the dry versions of these materials ought to be permitted to enter the storm sewer system. We’ll go over how to gather and manage these materials so that they can be disposed of at a hazardous waste collection site if you decide to clean your engine bay at home.

You can go to a self-serve car wash if you don’t want to clean your engine bay at home. According to the law, these facilities must recover, clean, and reuse water in a closed system that collects and filters dangerous materials for secure disposal. One warning: the water pressure at a self-serve car wash is much higher than that from your garden hose, so use extreme caution when cleaning the engine bay.

Other Tips For Cleaning Your Car’s Engine Bay

Clean on a warm day with low humidity and moderate wind

It’s also necessary to decide when to clean the engine bay of your car. The best conditions are warm days with little humidity and a light breeze. To schedule a suitable time for your engine cleaning, keep this in mind and pay attention to the weather reports.

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

Give your car some time to cool down before cleaning after you’ve just gone for a run in it. Do not forget to raise the hood and wait at least 20 minutes. If not, using cold water will cause it to contract, which could lead to injury from the still-hot engine or engine ruin.

Cover any delicate, modified parts of electronics

Use a plastic sheet or plastic bag to cover any electronics that have been modified or added to your car. Aluminum foil is another option. Given that the cleaning process involves water, it is crucial.

Run the engine to let it heat up and dry completely

You can go one step further to ensure there is absolutely no leftover water after you have finished detailing the engine bay of your car and allowed it to dry. Start the car and let it run for a while to get warm. This is an easy but very efficient way to get rid of any and all leftover moisture.


It is no longer necessary to worry about this if you know how to properly clean a car engine bay. Simply keep in mind the above steps.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any additional queries or ideas you’d like us to address. Please get in touch with us soon.

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