It's important to clean your car from the inside out. However, most motorists only clean the interior and exterior body parts of the car. They tend to neglect the engine bay itself from under the hood, believing that only a mechanic has the right to touch that.
Contrary to popular belief, engines don't need oil or dirt on them to work properly. An aesthetically clean engine can actually be more efficient to use and undergoes less wear-and-tear to boot.
Tidying Up Your Engine Bay without Ruining the Internal Car Parts
- Afraid to Ruin the Engine: Most beginner or amateur motorists wouldn't even dare touch the engine bay save for the few times when their battery is discharged and in need of a recharge. With proper knowledge and presence of mind, you should be able to clean your engine bay without ruining your engine or putting water in places where water shouldn't go.
- Wash Your Engine Bay on a Warm Day: Washing your engine bay on a warm day allows you to ensure that the water adequately evaporates after you're done cleaning. Since you'll be putting water where it's not designed to go, the ability to dry it off is essential. Also, you should limit your water usage to ensure fast evaporation as well.
- Remove the Negative Battery Terminal: Like when you're taking off a car part in order to install a new one, it's essential to always remove the negative battery terminal first before doing anything to your engine bay.
- Mask Off All Sensitive Electrical Components: Use tape and plastic bags to mask off all sensitive electrical components and their sensors. The main ones you should take care of are your distributor and alternator. Even if they can get wet from rain, avoid spraying them directly with water that could conduct electricity and cause a short circuit.
- Use a Garden Hose with a Nozzle Attachment or Pressure Washer: Hose down the engine bay without soaking it excessively. If you're experienced or confident enough with your cleanup skills, you can also use or rent a cheap pressure washer in order to efficiently clean away dirt and oil.
- Get a Degreaser to Spray the Engine Bay Down: Dilute a degreaser with tree parts water and spray the engine bay down with it. Squeeze the trigger and let go repeatedly. Do repeated squeezes and work back to front, hitting the firewall first before the nooks and crannies. Make sure your degreaser doesn't dry out as you go about your engine bay cleanup.
- Agitate Stuck-On Areas with a Soft Nylon Brush: Use this brush to scrub the stubborn clumps of dirt, sludge, and gunk. This can be in areas like the valve cover and the like. As for metal parts like the heat shield or the top of the intake manifold plenum, use an aluminum brush instead to lift off dirt. Air-dry the bay afterwards.