How to Clean Your Car’s Engine Bay, and Keep it Clean

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How to clean car engine bay

Your engine bay is one of the most critical parts of your car. It houses your engine, transmission, battery, and other vital components that keep your vehicle running. 

Unfortunately, it is also one of the most neglected parts of your car. Many people never clean their engine bay, and as a result, it can become a breeding ground for dirt and grime. This can lead to corrosion and, eventually, component failure.

So, how do you clean your car’s engine bay? 

  1. Prepare your gear and let your engine cool.
  2. Remove dry debris, dirt, and loose dust with a brush or vacuum.
  3. Unhook the car battery terminal, and protect electrical components with a plastic covering.
  4. Apply a degreaser and scrub with a detailing brush. 
  5. Rinse with a pressure washer or steamer, and wipe dry with microfiber towels.
  6. Reattach the car battery terminal and finish up.

Let’s get started.

Step 1 – Prepare Your Gear and Let Your Engine Cool

Cleaning car engine bay

Before you can start cleaning your engine bay, you need to prepare properly. Begin by making sure your engine is cool. If it is not, you could cause serious injury to yourself and damage your engine. 

Next, you will want to ensure you have all the necessary tools and supplies. This includes:

  • Protective Gloves 
  • A Blower or Vacuum Cleaner
  • Plastic Coverings
  • Degreaser
  • A Steamer
  • A Microfiber Cloth

Once you have everything you need, you can move on to the next step.

Step 2 – Remove Dry Debris, Dirt, and Loose Dust With a Brush or Vacuum

Remove dirt dust debris with brush

The next step in cleaning your engine bay is removing any accumulated dry debris. This includes things like leaves, needles, dirt, and dust.

To do this, you can use a blower or vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment. If you are using a vacuum cleaner, be careful not to damage any sensitive components. Applying too much pressure could move them out of position or worse. 

Remove dirt with vacuum

Step 3 – Unhook the Car Battery Terminal, and Protect Electrical Components With a Plastic Covering

Since you will be cleaning around the battery, you must disconnect it before proceeding. This will protect you from any electrical shocks.

Unhook your car battery

To do this, simply locate the positive terminal on your battery and remove the cable. Once the cable is removed, set it aside in a safe location. If possible, pull the entire battery out of the engine bay so you can clean under it.

At this point, it’s also a good idea to cover any sensitive areas of your engine bay with plastic. This will protect them from any degreasers or water that could potentially damage them. 

Which Components Should You Cover?

The following components should be covered with plastic before you begin cleaning:

  • The car battery (if you could not remove it)
  • Ignition wires
  • Engine control unit
  • The air engine system

Step 4 – Apply a Degreaser and Scrub With a Detailing Brush

Apply degreaser with detailing brush

The next step is applying a degreaser to your engine bay’s various rubber and plastic components. This will help break down any grease or grime that has built up over time.

When applying the degreaser, be sure to work in small sections, starting with the underside of the hood. After applying the degreaser to your hood, you’ll use a brush to agitate the dirt and grime. Then, rinse the area with a steamer and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth to remove any residual grime.

Repeat this process for the rest of your engine bay, working in small sections until you have degreased the entire area. Remember to get into all the nooks and crannies where dirt and grime tend to accumulate.

Step 5 – Rinse With a Pressure Washer or Steamer, and Wipe Dry With Microfiber Towels

Rinse with steamer

After you have degreased your engine bay, it’s time to rinse it off. You can do this with a pressure washer or steamer. If you are using a pressure washer, be sure to use a low setting so you don’t damage any sensitive components.

Once you have rinsed off the degreaser, dry the area with microfiber towels. Make sure to remove all the water so your engine bay is completely dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 6 – Reattach the Car Battery Terminal and Finish Up

Reattach car battery terminal

Finally, once you have degreased and cleaned your engine bay, you can reattach the positive terminal to your battery. To do this, simply locate the terminal and reattach the cable. After ensuring the connection is secure, your engine bay is now clean and ready for use!

How to Keep Your Car’s Engine Bay Clean

Cleaning your engine bay is only half the battle. Keeping it clean comes down to some easy habits, including:

  • Parking in a garage or using protective coverings 
  • Washing your car regularly 
  • Getting your car detailed. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these tips:

Park in Garage or Use Protective Coverings

Park in garage or use protective coverings

The best way to keep your engine bay clean is to prevent dirt and debris from accumulating in the first place. One way to do this is by parking your car in your garage.

This will shield your engine bay from the elements and make it easier to keep clean. Of course, not everyone has a garage or access to one. In this case, you can still use protective coverings to help keep your engine bay clean. However, when using protective covers, be sure to secure them properly so they don’t blow away in the wind.

Wash Your Car Regularly

Wash your car regularly

Another way to keep your engine bay clean is by washing your car regularly. This will remove any dirt or debris that has accumulated on the surface. You’ll need to use a hose, car wash soap, and a microfiber cloth to properly wash your car.

First, start by hosing down your car to remove any loose dirt or debris. Next, apply the car wash soap to a microfiber cloth and use it to wash the surface of your car. Finally, rinse off the soap with a hose and dry your car with a clean microfiber cloth.

Get Your Car Detailed

Get your car engine bay detailed

Perhaps the best way to keep your engine bay clean is by getting your vehicle detailed on a regular basis. This process involves thoroughly cleaning and polishing the surface of your car – including the engine bay.

Professional detailers have the knowledge and experience to properly clean your car without damaging any of its components. If you don’t have time to visit a detailer, you can always contact a mobile detailing service that will come to you.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your car’s engine bay is a crucial part of car care. Not only does it improve your car’s appearance, but it also helps prolong the life of your engine and other components. Use the tips and tricks mentioned above, and you’ll have no trouble keeping your engine bay clean and looking its best!

If you’re interested in scheduling a professional detailing service, contact Big’s Mobile team today. We’ve detailed thousands of vehicles throughout the Puget Sound area and the greater Los Angeles area. We know what it takes to get the job done right. From the engine bay to complete interior and exterior detailing, we have you covered.

Please contact us on our website or call (425) 243-9155 to get started. 

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These blogs are meant purely for education and demonstration purposes. It contains only general information and may not account for specific issues related to your particular vehicle or situation. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. Read full disclaimer.

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