A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Engine

Are you thinking of cleaning your car engine? The best way to do it is to get a professional engine cleaner service to do it for you. Some service providers don’t even require you to go to the shop to get engine cleaning. You can book their service, and they’ll come to you.

But just in case you prefer to do it yourself or want to learn how to do it, here’s a step-by-step guide to cleaning your car engine. Before that, though, here are some engine cleaning tips. 

Engine Cleaning Tips

Remember the following tips to make engine cleaning easier and to avoid damage. 

  1. Light and Space

You need adequate light and space to clean your engine correctly. You need light to be able to see clearly, and you need room in which to manoeuvre.

Park your car somewhere that will give you sufficient light and easy access to your car engine. This could very well be your garage, but if your garage is dark and tight, take your car out to your front yard or the driveway. 

  1. Collect Waste Water

Depending on where you live, it may be illegal to let your wastewater run off the gutters. In this case, you should collect your wastewater for proper disposal. 

  1. Cool Engine

Make sure the engine is cool before you start washing it. You know your physics. Washing the car engine while it’s hot could lead to damage. 

  1. Power Off

Turn off your engine before you clean it. You must not wash your car engine while it is running. 

Engine Cleaning Steps

When you’re ready, do the following to clean your car engine. 

  1. Gather Your Tools and Equipment

You need the following equipment and tools to clean your car engine.

  • Baking soda or CLR
  • Anti-corrosion spray
  • Acid-proof battery box paint
  • Degreaser spray (could be an engine degreaser or all-purpose cleaner)
  • Battery post cleaner
  • Different sizes of non-metallic brushes
  • Pressure washer
  • Plastic bags and tape
  • Soft, clean towels
  • Air compressor
  • Water
  • Gloves

Once you have everything ready, glove up and start. 

  1. Remove Your Battery

If your battery has a cover, lift and remove the battery cover. Next, disconnect the battery cables. Once you have disconnected the battery cables, lift the battery from the battery tray, take it out, and place it on a convenient surface.

Important note: Follow the negative first rule when disconnecting battery cables. In other words, disconnect the negative terminal first before you attempt to disconnect the positive terminal. Doing it the other way around could short the circuit and electrocute you.

Of course, when it’s time to reconnect the battery cables, do the reverse. Connect the positive terminal first before you connect the negative terminal. 

  1. Clean the Battery

If the battery posts, connectors, and battery tray show signs of corrosion, mix baking soda and water to create a thick paste. Spread the baking soda paste onto the battery posts or terminals, inside the battery cable connectors, and onto the battery tray. This paste will neutralize spilt acids, if any. 

  1. Clean the Battery Tray

Using a metallic brush, scrub the corrosion off the battery tray. 

  1. Clean the Battery Posts

Using a battery post cleaner, clean the battery terminals. Clamp the business end of the battery post cleaner, the one with the steel brushes, onto a battery post and twist it around the terminal several times to scour the post. Repeat the procedure to clean the remaining battery post.

If you don’t have a battery post cleaner, you can use a small metallic brush or even sandpaper to scrub the corrosion off your battery posts. 

  1. Clean the Battery Connectors

Next, scrub the inside of the battery cable connectors using the wire-brush end of the battery post cleaner or any appropriately sized wire brush. 

  1. Wipe Dry

Once you have scrubbed sufficiently and removed the corrosion off your battery terminals, connectors, and tray, thoroughly wipe them dry using a clean towel. You can also use an air compressor to dry everything. 

  1. Protect

Once everything is dry and clean, coat the battery tray with acid-proof battery paint or anti-rust coating to protect it from further corrosion. Make sure to let the battery tray dry completely before putting the battery on it.

You should also spray the battery posts or terminals with anti-corrosion solution or corrosion inhibitors

  1. Clean the Engine

Now, you’re ready to clean the engine. To do this, follow these procedures. 

  1. Cover the Parts That Can’t Get Wet

Take some plastic and tape and use them to cover and secure the parts that must not get wet. These include the alternator, distributor, and air intake system. 

  1. Apply Degreaser

Spray degreaser over everything in the engine bay. 

  1. Scrub

Using a non-metallic brush, gently scrub the grime and grease off the engine’s exposed parts. Use smaller brushes to clean the dirt off tiny nooks and tight spaces. 

  1. Rinse

Use a power washer to rinse the engine clean. Make sure to use only as much pressure as necessary to provide sufficient rinsing force. Be careful to stand at a proper distance and orient the nozzle properly. If you stand too close and are not cautious about the direction you’re spraying, you might get sensitive electronics wet and force water into the carburettor.

If you don’t have a power washer, use a hose to rinse the engine bay. 

  1. Dry

Use compressed air to dry everything in the engine bay. Confirm that you’ve adequately dried everything and that water did not pool anywhere. 

  1. Wipe

Using a clean cloth, give everything in the engine bay a wipe to ensure that everything has properly dried. 

  1. Uncover

Remove the tape and plastic covers from the parts you covered. Now you’re ready to put the battery back. 

  1. Replace the Battery

Put the battery back onto its tray and replace the connectors, positive terminal first. 

Engine Cleaning Can Be Tedious

As the above discussion shows, you can clean your engine, but the process can be pretty tedious. And if you are careless, you might do some damage. If you want a clean engine but are unsure about cleaning your engine yourself, you can get a professional engine cleaning service to do it for you.

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