How to Clean Your Engine Bay
You know the 'why', now it's time for you to discover the 'how'. Sure, cleaning your engine bay is a daunting task, but it needs to be done. Cleaning the rest of your vehicle while leaving your engine bay dirty is like taking a bath without brushing your teeth. A spic and span engine bay helps the engine operate efficiently, stay cooler, and keeps the resale value high. So without further ado, here's what you need to do.
The first order of business is to gather the following cleaning materials.
- Engine degreaser
- Plastic bags
- Water hose
- Scrubbing brush
- Rubber gloves
Before you start cleaning, ensure your engine is cool to the touch. A hot engine will cause the cleaning agents to evaporate quickly, which could leave unsightly dried spots all over. If you just came from driving, allow the engine 30 minutes to one hour to cool down before you begin.
After the engine has cooled, use the plastic bags to cover fuse panels, spark plugs, air intakes, and other sensitive components that you need to keep dry. Zip lock bags are good for his purposes, as will extra grocery bags for large components such as the battery terminals, alternator, or coil.
Once you're sure that you've wrapped up all sensitive parts in plastic, use the water hose to pre-rinse the engine bay. A quick and light pre-rinse will help get rid of loose dust and grit while enhancing the effects of the engine degreaser. Make sure to cover the entire engine bay with the rinse.
Now it's time to spray the engine degreaser liberally, especially on the dirtiest, oiliest parts. Let the solution sit for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the directions on the bottle. Use a scrubbing brush on stubborn dirt while spraying the degreaser to really loosen the stuff.
Rinse the degreaser using your water hose, and check your progress. If it still looks dirty, you may need to hit it with the degreaser again. If there are problem areas, focus on them with the degreaser and scrubbing brush, then rinse with water again.
After everything is clean and rinsed, it's time to dry the engine. You can use any dry cloth, or a vacuum set on reverse to blow the water droplets dry. After the engine has dried, removed the plastic bags. If the plastic-covered components need cleaning, put on your rubber gloves and clean them using a damp cloth.