Engine Detailing

Take care of engine and it will take care of you!

Compared to all the car waxes and polishes on the market, there are surprisingly few engine products. Could it be that shiny paint is more important than a clean engine? No way! The engine is the heart of your car; it deserves just as much TLC as the exterior.

 

If the engine is clean, chances are you’re the type of person who takes meticulous care of your vehicle, both mechanically and physically. And doesn’t your car just feel better when it’s clean?



 

Prepare to Clean


Your engine is largely waterproof but, as a precaution, you should cover the sensors, the distributor, engine air intake, spark plus openings, and anything electrical. Use foil or plastic bags. You’re not trying to keep all the water out; you just don’t want to flood anything.

 

Next you should start the engine for a couple of minutes to warm it up. You definitely don’t want it to be hot – you just put plastic bags on it! Warming the engine just a little will help loosen grease and grime for easier removal.

 

Rinse down the entire engine bay with water to remove any loose debris. You can use a nozzle if you like, but avoid the jet setting. Blasting the engine could loosen some connections or hoses ever so slightly. Running water is fine.



 

Degrease


Now you’re ready to get down to business. Pick a starting point and spray down the engine with an engine cleaner and degreaser. (Don’t spray the whole engine compartment at once. Because the engine is warm, areas could dry before you have time to clean them.) If your engine has decorative aluminum or chrome parts, avoid letting any engine cleaner dry on them as they will spot.

 

Many degreasers on the market sacrifice safety for performance and you end up with a smell so strong it makes your eyes water. Instead, choose a degreasing cleaner that is water-based or citrus-based. These products work just as well and they are safe on rubber hoses and the environment. DP Engine Degreaser is a great engine degreaser and it’s much more pleasant to use. Allow the degreaser to soak for a few minutes (not too long, it will dry).

 

Use a brush to gently scrub heavily soiled areas of the engine. A long-handle, soft-bristled brush is the best option to avoid scratching anything. Besides, your engine cleaner has done most of the work; you’re just giving it a helping hand. The EZ Detail Brush is perfect for this job because the long stem is flexible and the soft nylon bristles are chemical resistant.

 

Be sure to clean the back wall of the engine compartment, the hoses, fluid tanks, and the perimeter of the engine bay. If you get engine cleaner on paint, it’s okay but it will remove wax. When you’re finished detailing the engine, reapply wax to the affected areas.



 

Rinse and Dry


After you’re finished cleaning the engine, hose it down with plenty of running water. Your plastic bags or foil are still in place so you can really soak the engine to get all that grime off.

 

Check your work. If you see any spots you missed, spray them with degreaser and give them a gentle scrub with the brush. Rinse.

 

Allow the engine to dry for a few minutes. It shouldn’t totally self-dry – you’ll get water spots – but a lot of the water will run down and drip onto the ground. Now use a waffle weave towel to wipe down the engine compartment. If you have a blower, that’s even better. Use an extension attachment and blow water out of crevices and hard-to-reach areas.



 

Dress to Protect


Now you should apply a protectant to the engine components. This area gets quite hot and the rubber hoses and plastic shields will benefit from a coat of protection. Use a rubber and vinyl protectant on anything plastic or rubber.

 

Apply a paint sealant to painted surfaces. Since you probably won’t wax your engine compartment very frequently, a paint sealant will offer you more durability.

 

If you have aluminum or chrome parts in your engine compartment, apply a metal sealant to prevent corrosion.

 

After the first engine cleaning, subsequent cleanings are much easier and less time-consuming. Even at its worst, your engine won’t take more than an hour to clean and, as your mechanic might tell you, it’s time well spent.