Douse the engine bay with water.
The first step to an engine compartment cleaning is to do a pre-rinse. This often skipped but very important step will do your engine bay wonders. If you fail to do a pre-rinse and directly applied soap, chances are it would dry out fast. Plus, a good engine bay degreaser will spread faster on a wet surface. So, never skip this step. It’s important.
Never pour cold water on a cold engine bay. Based on our experience, it makes the entire thing more prone to damage. Instead, wait for it to cool down. Put drip pans on the bay to protect the gutters from the chemicals that will drip down when you pour water all over the car. Also, place some absorbent pads if you have them.
Don’t throw the pads and the pans away. There are centers who accept these so try Googling if there’s one near you.
Protect the engine’s sensitive parts.
When your engine bay, it’s important that you protect your battery from getting wet. To do this, either take it off the bay completely or wrap a protective cover around it. This step is also necessary to your safety as car batteries tend to be electric and are dangerous when wet. For newer cars, just protecting the alternator would do. Just be careful with the fuse box and the other parts inside the engine. You can pour water on them but be gentle and don’t pour too much. However, for old cars, protect the distributor, the carburetor, and the alternator.
Power washers make engine compartment cleaning a breeze. However, don’t put the settings to high. Just keep it low. That should be more than enough water pressure to push the dirt out of your engine bay. High-pressure water wouldn’t help much. It would just pulverize the dirt and place it somewhere else.
Use a good engine bay degreaser.
Now, ready your favorite engine bay degreaser. If you don’t have a preferred one yet, start searching online. Degreasers are the best way to clean engines. Car soaps are great and all, but they don’t stand a chance against tough dirt like grime and oil. A good engine bay degreaser can clean your oil pan and your starter spotless. They’re applied just the same but can give you better results. Just read the label on the bottle before putting in on your bay. You can also brush them if you think simple application can’t do the job. Use wash brushes. Those are really gentle and won’t damage any surface.
Rinse the engine and assess your progress.
Use your power washer and rinse your compartment. Asses whether or not you’re happy with how clean it is. If not, pick up your brush and get back at it. However, if you like what you see, then move on.
Use an automotive soap for a thorough clean.
For a cleaner and better result, use an automotive soap. It’s a typical car wash engine cleaner Just use it like a regular soap. Apply it on a mitt and scrub your entire engine bay, then rinse.
Rinse the engine and unpack the parts.
Pick up your power wash and rinse everything again. Remove the protectors that you wrapped around your engine’s parts. If you want to clean them too, call a professional to do it. They’ll do it when the engine is dry and safe. Once that’s done, just tighten them back into the engine.
Apply some additional car wash engine cleaners.
Use a metal polish to restore your engine’s metal parts to their original shiny state. Scrub it into the metal until it turns dark and then wipe it off. For the plastic parts, you need to use a plastic cleaner. Use a microfiber cloth to apply it on. This will make your engine’s plastic parts look like they’re brand new again.
That’s it. You’re done. Now that you know how to clean an engine bay, you can regularly do it by yourself to keep your ride on its best condition.