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How to wash your engine? A step-by-step guidance

Car Engine Problems

If you're looking for how to wash your engine, here's all you need to do:

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  • Step#1: Pick your day
  • Step#2: Allow your vehicle to cool down
  • Step#3: Take out plastic covers
  • Step#4: Cover sensitive components
  • Step#5: Spray a degreaser
  • Step#6: Scrub dirty areas
  • Step#7: Rinse with a power rusher
  • Step#8: Reconnect the components that you took out

It's very common for drivers to clean up the exterior of their vehicles but have you ever heard that you also need to clean what's under the hood? Yes, what's under the hood does not get exposed to dirt coming from the outside, but there is a very high chance for debris and contaminants to make their way to the engine’s bay through the openings and the front of your vehicle.

That's why automotive experts recommend performing an engine cleanup once in a while, depending on your environment and your mechanic's recommendations. However, if you don't follow the proper instructions to wash your engine’s bay, you might introduce some damages that could cost you thousands of dollars down the road.

This article provides you with a step-by-step procedure for washing your engine properly without causing any damage to the internal components.

Why do you need to wash your engine?

Before we discuss the details and the procedure for washing your engine, it is good

  1. Enhance your engine’s performance

One of the first benefits of regularly washing and cleaning your engine’s bay is enhancing performance. However, when dirt and debris make their way to the engine, they can accumulate and impact the engine performance from many different points. In addition, there's a very high chance for the dirt to get inside some of these sensitive components, sometimes in severe scenarios.

  1. Increase your vehicle's value

If you're planning to sell a used car, having a cleaned-up engine’s bay informs the potential buyer that you've been taking good care of what's under the hood. Therefore, if you want to maintain a specific ask price, it's worth performing a quick clean-up and washes to your vehicle’s engine’s bay.

  1. Reduce overheating

When dirt and debris build up inside the engine, they increase the temperature and might majorly interfere with overheating problems. However, many engine cleanings services claim that their service results in a coolant engine, which means fewer damages.

On the other hand, some experts indicated that the increase and debris might not be a strong reason to cause engine overheating. Typically, engine overheating happens due to problems with major internal components like the cooling system or the engine oil.

  1. Detect problems early

Automotive experts suggest that whenever you detect an internal problem early, there is a very high chance that you will solve it without needing to pay thousands of dollars in repairs because you will most likely not need to replace major components.

That's why when you perform engine cleanups, you'll get an idea about any signs of internal leaks or early symptoms of broken hoses. This way, you can detect the problem in reach to your mechanic before it's complicated and becomes a major issue. Some only, when cleaning or engine, you'll look at some of the belts and the other accessories that might be minor but could result into significant damages if ignored broken.

How to wash your engine?

Now you have a good idea about the benefits of washing your engine, let's take a closer look at automotive expert’s recommendations on how to wash your engine:

  1. Pick your day

Scheduling the right time for washing your engine is extremely critical when it comes to achieving the best results. Therefore, automotive experts recommend choosing a day where the temperature is not very high but it's not very cold. Also, you don't want to have a lot of humidity outside because it might cause moisture to build up inside the engine and cause some troubles.

  1. Allow your vehicle to cool down

When cleaning your engine, you don't want to work on it immediately, especially if you've been driving it. Therefore, it's recommended that you allow it to cool down for at least 15 minutes after the drive. Otherwise, you might cause some damage is to the internal components, especially if you are relying on cool water for washing your entrance.

  1. Take out plastic covers

Once your vehicles are called down, the next step is to remove any plastic cover and put it aside because you will be cleaning them up separately. Also, consider removing the battery because you don't want it to get damaged with water.

  1. Cover sensitive components

Obviously, your engine’s bay contains a variety of different components, and some of them might be OK with having some water running through them, but others might get damaged. Therefore, before starting washing the engine, you need to use plastic covers and plastic bags to cover any sensitive component around the engine’s bay. Even if you're not using water rinse, you still recommend that you cover some sensitive components to avoid dirt and debris from making their way to these components.

  1. Spray a degreaser

Once everything is covered, the next step is to use any degreaser suitable for cleaning up your engine. There are a variety of available commercial degreasers that you might be used for engines or any household usage. Keep in mind that some products are environmentally friendly that you might need to consider.

  1. Scrub dirty areas

After allowing the degrees or just set for a couple of minutes, scrubbing any dirty area is next. If you've been cleaning your engine bait regularly, you won't need to scrub a lot, but if your engine is extremely dirty, it might take you a little bit of time until you completely clean your engine.

It's recommended that you use a nonmetal brush to clean up the engine to avoid damaging sensitive components.

  1. Rinse with a power rusher

Once everything is cleaned up, you can finally use a small power washer by setting it up to the light settings and allow it to rinse the entire engine’s bay carefully. Ensure to get rid of any degreaser leftovers and dry your vehicle clip carefully with either an air blast or probably a microfiber towel.

  1. Reconnect the components that you took out

At this point, you can go ahead and reinstall the vehicle's battery or any plastic covers that you took out separately. Of course, you want to make sure that you clean the plastic parts carefully outside and dry them thoroughly before putting them back.

How much does it cost to wash your engine?

Typically, washing your engine should cost you between $100 and $400. Obviously, this price range depends heavily on your engine's pipe and the degree of contaminants around the engine. As you might notice, washing your engine will cost you some money, which means that learning about how to wash your engine might be worth it.

However, suppose you're not comfortable washing your engine without causing some damage with assistive components. In that case, it's better to leave it to professionals and have them carefully clean your car without causing issues. In addition, you won't need to wash your engine every day, which means it might be worth the investment without risking the internal components.

How often should you wash your engine?

Experts recommend watching her enter in at least two times a year. However, if you're driving in environments where there are many contaminants or dust nearby, you might need to wash the engine more often. Similarly, if your environment doesn't cause a lot of dirt or dust tickets at the coming later engine spade, you might not need to wash it that often.

Is it safe to spray your engine with water?

Many of the drivers reach out to us worried about the effect of spraying water on their vehicles. However, many older experts confirmed that there is no problem spreading your engine with water and cleaning it up this way.

Keep in mind that if you're driving a modern car, it might be equipped with many sensitive electric components. This will, before attempting to spring any water on your engine today, it's critical that you cover any sensitive components to prevent damaging it.

That's why it's recommended that you familiarize yourself with the different components around your engine’s bay by going through your vehicle's owner’s manual or probably watching some YouTube videos to get yourself an idea about what's inside the engine’s bay.

2021 best engine degreasers

If you're planning to clean up your engine, you might want to consider one of the following 2021 best engine degreasers in the market:

  • WD-40 Specialist Machine & Engine Degreaser Foaming Spray ($3.99)
  • WD-40 Specialist Industrial-Strength Cleaner & Degreaser ($4.53)
  • Chemical Guys Signature Series Orange Degreaser ($8.99)
  • Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser ($9.36)
  • Gunk Foamy Engine Cleaner ($10.24)
  • Griot’s Garage Engine Cleaner ($10.99)
  • Sonax Engine Degreaser And Cleaner ($11.99) – Best Engine Cleaner
  • Gunk Original Engine Degreaser ($12.93)
  • Meguiar’s Super Degreaser ($29.03)
  • Meguiar’s Synthetic X-Press Spray Wax ($30.93) – Best Engine Degreaser

What are the different types of engine degreasers?

If you are shopping for an engine degreaser, you will come across a different type, and each type comes with its pros and cons. Let's say closer look below:

  1. Environmentally friendly engine degreasers

As the name suggests, these engine greasers contain natural materials that don't harm the environment when you dispose of them. For example, you might come across some degreasers containing lemon juice, baking soda, or vinegar. One of the best things about these degreasers is that they're not toxic in cases you are worried about chemicals contained in the degreaser.

  1. Liquid engine degreasers

Some of the very powerful engine degreasers come in a liquid format to spray them directly into the engine’s bay. However, they can be a little bit dangerous because they might cause some skin burns if you're using them without certain protective gloves. Also, some of these powerful products might damage certain sensitive components inside your engine if sprayed at them by mistake.

  1. Ammonia-based engine degreasers

If you're looking for a less powerful and in degrees, you might consider one of the ammonia-based ones. Again, there is a good option, but they're not very effective when dealing with extreme dirt or gunk inside the engine.

  1. Foam engine degreaser

Another great option for cleaning your engine’s bay is the full engine degreasers. The best thing about them is that you can safely use them around electric components because you don't have to rinse them with water. However, they don't come as powerful as you expect, so they will not work on tough dirt.

  1. Petroleum-based engine degreasers

Finally, one of the very common engine degreasers that you might come across is the petroleum-based ones. Those are very strong, and they can take care of any leftovers off gasoline or any lubricant. However, petroleum-based degreasers are not super powerful when cleaning non versatile substances.


Maintaining a clean engine helps improve the engine performance, prevent complicated overheating, enhance the vehicle's value, and allow you to detect problems early to take care of them without needing to pay thousands of dollars in repairs.

This article provided you with a sub by step procedure on how to wash your engine yourself without needing a mechanic. This way, you can save a lot on labor costs.

Keep in mind that no matter how much care you put towards cleaning up your engine, if the engine has internal problems, it might not be worth the investment because repair costs might be extremely high. If that's the case, you might need to consider selling your vehicle and using its value towards a better car that doesn't have any problem.

Cash Cars Buyer is willing to remove your vehicle within one to three days only! Cash Cars Buyer is one of the top-rated car removal companies in the nation that guarantees to pay you the top dollars and provide you with free towing despite your living location around the United States.

Our process is very straightforward and doesn't take more than a couple of days to get your car removed safely and for the most money.

All it takes you is to:

  • Describe your car’s type and condition
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  • Accept the quote
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