How To Super Clean Your Engine Bay
Hey, guys here today I’m going to show you how to super clean your engine bay. Super clean that you’ll be able to eat off of it. And no I am not joking. I got comments from you asking, what’s the best way to clean your engine? And, I got so many requests from you guys. So that, this became the most requested topic ever. As usual, I’m going all out in this content. You know different vehicles with different engine compartment setups that are dirty in different ways. Look here is the drift sting which has a dirty engine that’s covered mostly in grease and oil. Here is the Jaguar V6, we have the classic daily driver dirty engine bay. That’s just dirty from well driving it daily. Then there is a truck with a dirty engine that’s covered in mud. Which was from driving through a puddle or two. And finally look to this van that’s over 20 years old with over three hundred thousand miles on her. And, not only is this engine bay dirty. But we have a bunch of rusted parts that I’m gonna show you how to clean up, to make this engine look great. The best part is after following this content you’re going to be able to super clean any engine and make it look brand new just like you saw. We will use these common products: We have some microfiber towels, which you buy in bulk because we’re going to be using a lot.
- Different brushes & paint markers.
- Cleaning wipes
- Spray wax,
- Trim restore
- And, Soapy water.
All these products are inexpensive, and I’ll try to give the link of them in the product description below so that you could easily find them. let’s begin. The engine bay super clean process is really simple, here’s the breakdown.
- We’re going to prepare the engine to get cleaned
- We’re going to do a dry clean
- A wet clean
- Drive the engine off.
- and at last, we’ll detail it.
Doesn’t worry I’m going to explain each step as we go through it. So let’s get started. The first step is the preparation step. Although it seems simple it’s important to have all your cleaning supplies laid out right next to your engine. That’s going to make it a lot quicker to clean the engine and a lot more enjoyable because your products are going to be right there for you to use. It’s also a good idea to put on some gloves to protect your hands from chemicals and oils. And put on some safety glasses just in case some dirt splashes in your face. Now, what you want to do next since we’re getting the engine wet you want to isolate the power source, which is the battery by disconnecting it. And most of your batteries in the engine bay are easy to remove it because that’s going to make it so much easier to clean this area over here and get to the hard-to-reach spaces. But no matter what even if you keep your battery in the car, make sure you disconnect the positive and negative leads. We’ll completely isolate the battery from the rest of the car and the whole point of disconnecting your battery is peace of mind. Everybody’s biggest concern when you’re cleaning the engine bay is getting water in something that you shouldn’t and then it shorts out. But with the battery completely disconnected there’s no electric running through any of this, so you can’t short anything out. So there’s a lot less to worry about and then when we’re done cleaning and detailing the engine we can make sure everything is dry and then reconnect the battery and we’ll be good to go. Finally, the last thing for our preparation step, even though we disconnected the battery there are still some components that we don’t want to get wet. Sure you could get them a little wet but you don’t want to get them soaking wet. For example, we have the alternator, we also have the distributor, in the car we could have two distributors, but what you want to do is you want to follow your spark plug wires and this is the electronic distributor. If you want you can press down on the caps and make sure that they’re forced all the way down that helps keep water out. But these are water sensitive. Following the spark plug wires we could come over to the spark plugs and on the engine, the spark plugs are at the top. In most cases when the spark plugs are at the top you want to be careful because the water could sit in those spark plug wells, and when water collects there it doesn’t easily dry out and you could have issues when we reconnect the battery. So, again these components can get splashed with water. But the idea is we don’t want to soak them with water if we could help it. Another engine bay that’s becoming a lot more common is one that’s covered in plastic. And usually, these plastic covers are protecting whatever you don’t want to get wet. So we just want to make sure we don’t get water behind the plastic. And with that being said everything under the hood, is designed to get wet. That’s why you could drive your car through puddles in the rain without worrying about anything. The only difference is we’re going to be spraying water from the top. But we’re going to be doing so with a light shower, we’re not using a pressure washer.and the reason why are these connections share their watertight but over time with heat-cycles with vibrations these become less and less waterproof. So we don’t want to shoot pressurized water into them. even if it doesn’t damage the sensor any water that gets in here, even in small amounts will cause corrosion and then over time you’ll run into issues. The one last thing we want to be careful that you don’t really think about but you definitely don’t want to get water in your engine oil dipstick sometimes it popped up.so you just want to make sure you push that all the way in so we don’t get water in the engine oil. The same thing goes for your brake fluid reservoir make sure it’s completely tight .and your power steering reservoir again make sure it’s tight and finally if you have an automatic transmission and a dipstick make sure that dipstick is pushed all the way in. and with that, we are done with the preparation step. so let’s move on to the next dry clean step. The next step is to dry clean the engine and that’s exactly how it sounds before we get the engineer at all. With the engine completely dry we’re going to clean it. Reason being is a lot of the dirt and debris that gets on the engine is just dust and road grime that settles on the top of everything. So, before we get water on here and get it completely soaking wet and then that water pushes the dirt into places we can’t easily reach we’re going to clean it. And to do that its really simple we’re going to be using brushes. First, see there’s a lot of dust gets your dust mask on.and it really doesn’t matter what brushes you use. I like to use these brushes because they have a long handle. You could get into those hard-to-reach spaces but we have a toothbrush, we have regular paintbrushes if that’s what you could find and then we have metal wire brushes, and in a second, I’ll describe to you why we’re using that. So these brushes are being used to agitate all the surface dust. But how do you remove that? well, there’s a couple of ways. and it depends what you have. I personally like using a vacuum. That way you could suck it up and we’ll also use this later to help dry the engine. But if you don’t have a vacuum then you could use something like a leaf blower. Or, you could use one of these attachments on an air compressor to blow away all that dust and dirt. Let me show you how this works, we’re using a vacuum and a brush together, although the dirt here is pretty loose already and could just be sucked up. But where the dirt isn’t least like around the sensors are hard to reach places work that brushes in there and agitates the dirt. So, it becomes lose and then you have the vacuum right there just suck it up. You might not think this is doing much. Look! this is before the dry clean, And this is after. That’s all from just using a dry brush. So now you’re going to want to brush off as many surfaces in the engine bay as you can. This whole process is pretty quick and it only takes about five minutes. It’s definitely helpful to have a few different sized brushes. Brushes are great but it could be hard to reach into the tight spaces. So an air nozzle like that connects to an air compressor works awesome to get even more dust out of the engine bay. And look at all that dust getting blown out. Another option is to use a leaf blower which also works well. And with some vacuums, all you have to do is flip the hose around. It’ll blow the air out instead of sucking it in. That’s all it takes to dry clean an engine. and we get a lot of the surface dust off the engine before we get it wet. Now I’m done with this engine it’s completely dry cleans. But one thing I want to mention, we have this intake here which is metal it’s aluminum but it’s in pretty good shape. It’s also a small part of the engine. On some cars like in the Jaguar, we have a large metal intake, this is aluminum and you saw before there’s discoloration on it stains. It’s pitted and corroded and it doesn’t look good. And since it’s such a big part of how this engine looks. It’s important that we clean this. Here we’re going to be using that is, a metal wire brush and it’s pretty simple. We just rub the metal wire brush back and forth. You could do this entire job with a metal wire brush. But this is pretty big so if you have a rotary tool with a metal wire attachment will make cleaning this a lot easier. It also tends to come out a little bit shinier when you’re using the rotary tool rather than by hand. You want to make sure that you’re careful around any plastic bits, like sensors or rubber hoses. And look at how much better that looks. Now once we clean the rest of the engine bay, it’s going to look even better want to know what here you go this is what it looks like with a nice and clean engine bay. You can see that aluminum really sets it off and makes it look great. But you don’t necessarily need to clean this in every car. For example, I already super clean the engine in this Ford Fiesta and I didn’t touch the aluminum at all and this still came out great. And in this van, the engine bay doesn’t have a lot of aluminum, but what we do have is aluminum right here for the lettering. and I think if we polish this up it looked good against the black intake. So it just takes a few seconds to run the wire wheel across this and clean it up, really nice. And for just a couple of seconds of work look at how good that looks and once we clean this up and get that dark black the silver and black contrast is going to look awesome. and that is all for step two dry cleaning your engine, a couple of brushes dusting the engine off vacuuming it up. And that gets us ready for the next wet cleaning step. Our third step, the step that gets everybody nervous, is the wet cleaning step. This is where we take a hose and we wet down the engine bay. But you don’t have to worry. I’m going to show you everything you need to know, so you don’t damage your engine. This is actually a lot easier than everyone makes it out to be. Now, a common question is, should you clean the engine when it’s warm or cold? The answer to that is, you could clean it when it’s warm or cold. If you’re going to clean a warm engine just put your hand on top of it and make sure you could comfortably keep it there. If it’s too hot just let the engine cool down. You don’t want to put cold water on a hot engine because it causes the metals to contract quickly, and that could either warp or crack engine parts. A warm engine is definitely better to clean on than a cold one because all that dirt grime and grease comes off easier when it’s warmer. Just think about cleaning dishes you clean dishes with warm water, not cold water. But you can clean an engine when it’s cold. In this case, I’ll be cleaning a cold engine. So you’ll see how it comes out. Let me show you what we’re going to be using to clean it. Again not too many materials. We have our hose, we have the cleaning wipes, soapy water, a garbage bag, some microfiber towels, an assortment of brushes, and pipe cleaners. The first thing we’re going to do is grab our garbage bag because we’re going to be cleaning the top first. We’re going to be working our way top to down, everybody forgets to the hood. but that’s a pretty important part. So what you want to do is to cover the bulk of the engine. You don’t want a lot of water getting on top of the engine. It’s okay to get off to the sides. But you definitely don’t want to soak the top of the engine. This goes for any engine you’re cleaning, whether in a truck, an engine that already has a plastic cover or an engine that’s mostly covered by the wiper shroud. you should always cover the engine to play it safe. So, for the wet clean process first, we’ll clean the hood. And then we’ll clean the outside of the engine bay, then we remove the garbage bag and clean the actual engine itself. So let’s get back to the must thing to start cleaning the hood. First, you want to hose down the painted surfaces on the hood and that garbage bag is working great to keep that engine dry. Since our hood liners dirty rinse that off as well, but if your hood liner is sagging or looks delicate don’t get it wet because water only makes it worse. Look this one’s in good shape so have no problem spraying it down. Next, grab a degreaser like soapy water and spray down the hood liner and painted surfaces. With the microfiber towel simply wipe down the painted surface and remove the dirt and grease. it should come off pretty easily. If your hood liner is really dirty use some carpet cleaner and lets it soak. Carpet cleaner works great on hood liners. Finally, rinse everything down with water and watch all the dirt away. Now you can still see some stains over here I’ll show you how to fix that in our last step. But for now, let’s go clean the engine bay. Before removing the bag we want to clean the entire outside of the engine bay. So pick a side to start on. I’m going to start and work my way around the first to rinse down the part of the engine bay to remove all the surface dirt. Don’t use a high-pressure jet-setting which could force water into electrical connectors. Next, grab a cleaning wipe and wipe down the easy-to-reach surfaces. The cleaning wipes not only absorb the dirt but it helps to remove the oils and grease. You could tell this is getting clean because check out how dirty the wipe is. We want to rinse away all that dirt that we loosened up. And then grab your favorite degreaser. In this case, I’m using soapy water which is just a squirt of dish soap and the rest filled with warm water. Generously spray down the entire area and I like using dish soap because it’s strong enough to clean the grease. But it also won’t degrade the metal or the rubber or plastic surfaces in the engine bay. Then grab a brush and wipe down every surface that you could reach. The more surfaces that you could brush the cleaner the finished products going to be. So, for any really tight spots, you could grab your pipe cleaner and these works awesome for getting into those spots that you can’t normally get into. And finally, we just loosened up all that dirt which is still sitting in that engine bag. So, to remove it rinse it away with the hose now repeat this process for the rest of the engine bay. Spray it down, wipe it down rinse spray the degreaser agitate with a brush and then rinse it all away. Each side should take about five minutes to thoroughly clean. And it’s really not difficult to do. And with everything around the engine bay cleaned up, now we want to carefully remove that bag, so you don’t get water all over the engine. Look the bag trick does a great job at keeping your engine dry. At this point, we’re at the hardest part of this whole process. We’re going to be cleaning the engine and we have a big v8 engine here so we have a lot of areas to cover. If you have a smaller four-cylinder engine it’s a lot quicker. But as you can tell we have a ton of hoses and wires and just a lot of little crevices to get into to get this clean. So that could get overwhelming real quick. But I have a bunch of tips and tricks that I’m going to show you. To make it so it’s not that bad, and the first one has split the engine down the middle and pick a side to start cleaning on. So I’m going to start on the passenger side and I’m going to be working my way from the front to the back. And the tricky part to this is we can’t use a hose to rinse down the engine. So, we need to have good access to clean the engine. But you could see we have this intake in the way. And you can just work around it but it’s pretty big and it’s made difficult to clean here. So let’s remove it just disconnect the two sensors pop off a couple of hoses and remove the intake which gives us a lot more room. And the benefit is that we could clean this out of the car. More importantly, now we have a lot more access to the passenger side of the engine. So I’m cleaning the actual engine. First, clean off any grease and oil with your cleaning wipes. We have a pretty thick layer of grease here but it’s coming right off with the wipes. Removing the thick grease like this is going to help the engine cool more efficiently because grease acts as a layer of insulation between the engine and the cold air around it. Check out all that grease we removed. Next, spray down the area with soapy water, and since we’re only using a fine mist we don’t have to worry about damaging anything. So you could spray it everywhere. Then use a brush to agitate all the dirty surfaces and for any surfaces that you can’t reach. You can use the pipe cleaners and get into the really tight spaces. If you don’t have a pipe cleaner to clean the hard-to-reach areas and the little tight surfaces. I’m gonna show you something to use that everybody has, and that is a toothbrush. So wet down the surface and the stiff bristles do a good job at educating that dirt and cleaning it out. A toothbrush also works really well on those tough to clean wiring harnesses. After loosening up all that dirt, we need to somehow remove it. With all the other parts of the engine, we just used the hose and rinsed it all away. But unfortunately, we have a lot of electronics. we have the spark plug holes and just things we don’t want to get soaking wet. So, instead of using the hose, we’re going to be using a microfiber towel and we’re going to wipe everything down. That way the towel is absorbing both the soapy water and the dirt and grease we loosened up. So basically we’re cleaning and drying at the same time. and you can’t worry about getting the microfiber towel dirty, that actually means that you’re wiping away the grease. You could deffer that is what a new microfiber towel looks like and what the other one that we’re drying with looks like. So instead of all the grease being stuck on here, it’s getting sucked up into our microfiber towel. Now some spaces like back in there are really difficult to get into. so a little trick grabs your pipe cleaner and then grab your microfiber towel and wrap it in the pipe cleaner and now you could force your pipe cleaner back there and make it easier to get to the hard-to-reach spaces. Alright, with all that dirt and grease gun and cleaned up check that out that is looking so good. And we haven’t even detailed it yet. So that’s just clean once we detail, it’s going to look brand-new. So I’m just gonna real quick clean this up just like we did the other side. And with that our engine and engine bay are clean. So let’s move on to the next step. Now after cleaning we’re left with a wet engine bay so grab a microfiber towel a nice clean one and start drying everything down. This is actually a pretty important step. You want the engine to be completely dry before we move to the next step which is detailing. And one thing you’ll notice as you’re drying your towel is going to start getting dirty. So you’re also picking up that extra dirt that you might have left behind. And as you’re drying, you might see a spot that we totally miss, so just get in there with your towel if you need to grab some soapy water and clean it up. And finally, as you’re drying, you might encounter a spot where you have puddled water and also missed too. Make sure you dry those areas out good because you don’t want any standing water for when we put the battery back in. So get your towel in there and absorb it or a little trick that works really well if you have a vacuum just sucks that water right out. So dry the entire engine bay absorbing as much water as you can. There we go with our engine completely dried. We are ready for our last step which is easily the most rewarding step. Our final step is the detailing step. But before we detail the engine bay don’t forget we have to detail the hood now washing this hood didn’t come out as clean as I wanted it to. One thing you could do which looks awesome is pop off these clips and remove the hood liner. Since we already clean this and it’s completely dry. I’m going to be using a black non-flammable fabric dye to restore the hood liner. Obviously, you don’t have to do this if your hood liner isn’t bad. But this is going to make a huge difference for mine and also they discontinued this for my car. So you can’t even get a new one if you wanted. And this is turning out nicely. Now as we let this dry let’s detail the rest of the hood. Grab your favorite spray wax and just spray all the painted surfaces. We’ll go all the way around. After we’re done spraying, grab a microfiber towel and we’re just going to buff in that spray wax, right into that paint. Since we have our spray wax already now we could spray down all the painted surfaces in our engine bay. And then buff that wax into the paint. And this is not only going to protect the paint but it’s going to make it a deeper colored. Now that all our painted surfaces in the engine bay are detailed. It’s time to detail all the rubber and plastic surfaces. And in order to do that we’re going to be using a water-based trim restorer. This dries non-greasy so it won’t collect dust. It restores the deep black color in the rubbers and plastics. And it actually protects the rubber and plastics as well. And a mistake I see all the time please don’t do this, don’t use wd-40, don’t use motor oil, don’t use any oily or greasy products in your engine bay. Not only is it going to collect dust, but it’s gonna damage the plastics and rubbers. So don’t use these. Be sure to use a trimmer store that’s safe on plastics and rubber. And what I like to do I like to pour a bunch of the trimmer store in one little spot like that. Then grab a clean brush get some trimmer store on your brush and we’re going to start on one side and work our way around. So we’ll start back and start brushing it into the plastics and rubber. As you spread the product thinly and there’s not enough just dab your brush into more and spread it around. Right now don’t worry about getting smooth coverage just make sure everything you want to be covered is covered. On complex surfaces like the top of the distributor, the brush is gonna make it possible to get complete coverage. Just spend some time and work it in there good. And when you’re doing this you wanna make sure that you don’t apply any product to the belt by mistake. Any product that gets on the belt cause the belt to squeak or even worse slip. After you’re done applying the product early let it sit and soak for about 10 minutes. After letting this sit for a few minutes grab your microfiber towel and buff off all the plastic pieces that we put trimmer store on. The idea is we let the products soak into the pores of the plastic and rubber. We’re removing that top layer so it doesn’t collect dust and so we could even it out. You could basically rub down every surface you touched with the brush. To keep track of the parts you buffed with the towel. I work on one side of the engine, and then when I’m done I move to the other. Now after buffing the entire engine bay, this is looking amazing! check that out. and you could stop here. But, I have one more step that I like to do using paint markers to really set this apart. And what we want to do is, we want to look around the engine bay and just look for parts that look rusted or both that just don’t look good. For example, there’s one right here. a rusted bolt like this just ruins the look of your perfectly clean engine compartment. So grab a metal wire brush and just clean off that rust and then grab your paint marker and cover that rust in black paint. And I know that doesn’t seem like much but a little details like that make all the difference. And since we have the paint markers out, I have one more quick tip that’s really going to make a difference and that is working with faded lettering. Although this doesn’t look that bad this washer fluid the only cap is faded. So you can grab your paint marker and just color the raised letters only, and look at that. Attention to detail like that is really set your engine bay apart from everybody else’s. And with that. Man, just look at the engine, it’s so clean we are almost done. We just need to put a couple pieces in that we took out so let’s go do that. Let’s add our cleaned intake, and our cleaned battery, and we can’t forget about our hood insulation, that looks so much better than before. Look at that and just to test the car starts up with no problems, no check engine lights. There you go and that is how you clean your engine bay. This takes about two hours total to do. And it’s really simple. Just take your time and have fun with it. and you’ll get results just like this. This engine looks brand new. not only does this look good but all the rubber and the plastic is protected. plus you have an engine bay you could be proud of. If you really wanted to it’s so clean you could eat off of it. As well as all the products I used in this descriptions are linked, so you could easily find them. Hopefully, the topic was helpful if it was remembering to give it a thumbs up, also you can share this to your own timeline. The button beside this is to help you to do that. finally, if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below.