It is not surprising that we will all give an affirmative answer when asked if we clean our cars. It is more of a surprise when quizzed about how you wash what's under the hood of your car, the engine. Over 50% of people do not know how to clean car engine compartment, the other 50% have never even thought of trying it out.
The car engine functions as the heart of every vehicle, its importance cannot be overemphasized. It is a complicated machine, designed with the intent of converting heat from burning gas into another force/energy which facilitates the movement of the wheels. We can clearly see how important the car engine is; it fully deserves to be regularly washed and be stripped of all the oil, dirt, dust, grime, etc.
"Of what benefit is it, washing a part of the car only seen by me", this is another puzzling question that makes one think washing of the car engine is useless. Although it can only be seen by you, it still shares the same washing benefit as the rest of your vehicle. Cleaning prevents damages.
A car engine having heaps of dirt around it is prone to premature and unnecessary wear around the pulleys and bearings. The dirt mixed with oil and grit could even go as far as hiding serious problems, like gasket leaks, which we know would be very detrimental.
Cleaning and washing your car's engine may look very tasking, this article would be looking at the various simple ways in which you can wash the massive hunk of metal under your hood in an efficient manner while making sure nothing happens to the engine itself.
Keeping your engine bay clean is just as important as cleaning the body
Steps to follow before beginning the car engine compartment cleaning
The first ideal step is to pick an appropriate day with nice weather. It is best if you pick a warm day with low humidity and some wind. The wind will surely assist in the quick drying of the engine compartment and the cleaning.
It is generally advised that you allow the engine to cool-off completely if the car was already in use before the cleaning operation. This is to help mitigate unpleasant instances of burns from the hot metal engine, as well as to protect the engine from temperature shock that may result from pouring cold water on the hot engine block.
The following steps should also be followed before the cleaning operation commences,
Disconnect the Battery Terminals
An important step to efficient engine washing is to disconnect the negative battery terminal or cover the entire battery with a bag. You can even have the battery removed if you'd prefer and have it replaced after completing the cleaning job. Water is an incredible conductor of electricity, thus it would be a bad idea to allow it to get anywhere near the battery.
This is to make sure you or any other person around you do not get exposed to the risk of an electric shock caused by a short-circuit.
First, disconnect the battery terminals
You may remove the battery altogether before you begin cleaning the engine bay
Covering up parts
The next step is to cover the parts under the hood that might get damaged or cause problems to the car when exposed to water or other cleaning fluids. Parts such as sensitive electrical components, ignition wires, and engine electronic control units should be carefully and properly covered before cleaning begins. If your hood appears to have an engine air intake, it is also vital to cover it up.
If you're confident of being absolutely careful with your rinsing, then this step could be skipped but we advise against it. Covering up these parts would allow you clean and rinse more confidently without being afraid of causing damage to parts of your vehicle engine or other sensitive components.
After carrying out the steps mentioned above, you are now set to begin the cleaning properly. We have outlined the recommended steps to follow in doing a thorough and decent engine cleaning job below.
Steps to follow when implementing your car engine compartment cleaning
A quick pre-rinse (with a water hose) should not be underestimated as it does so many necessary things. It helps kick out some loose dust and any foreign matter available. A pre-rinse also makes it easy for the engine degreaser (degreasers are a powerful cleaning agent that are used to cut grease, oil, dirt, and any other grime) to spread around evenly. Lastly, a pre-rinse prevents the degreaser from drying out fast. How essential and vital a pre-rinse is.
It is now time for the application of the engine degreaser, you should use a degreaser instead of your regular car-wash soap because of its ability to do away with oil and grime.
Degreasing removes oil dirt a lot more easily than the normal car wash solution
Make sure you increase the quantity of degreaser on parts that are very nasty and oily (like oil pan). After applying the degreaser thoroughly, it is wise to let it sit for some time, so as for it to intensively remove all surrounding filth.
Depending on how dirty your engine is, it could be necessary to use a wash brush in scrubbing, especially parts like the valve cover known for being coated with oil and dirt.
A soft brush with synthetic (not metallic) material would go a long way in facilitating the work of the degreaser and doing away with the heavy coats of oil and grime. Do not hesitate to apply for more degreaser if needed.
Use a soft brush to scrub off the dirt
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A standard hose would be appropriate in rinsing after thorough scrubbing has been done. The entire engine compartment must be intensely rinsed, (you should do this from back to front) leaving no trace of the degreaser behind.
If step 4 was skipped, try not to directly spray water on the electrical components, ignition wires, and engine control unit. The quantity of water sprayed should be reduced in areas which you are sure won't get dried easily.
If possible a compressed air should be used in blasting all nooks and crannies of the engine compartment. If it's not available, a rag, cloth, or towel should be used in wiping everything within your reach. Efficient drying would not only remove water but will also remove any stubborn dirt remainings.
Use a clean and dry cloth to perform this job
This is the next and final step, but it is one cleaning step that is not so popular with Nigerians. However, this another very important cleaning step with well-documented benefits, especially when it comes to protecting the metal parts of the engine from corrosion and dirt settling.
Thus to make the engine compartment shine and glow, some parts need to be carefully polished. For the metallic part, the job of a metal polish would be needed to brighten it up. Polish should be applied thoroughly and continuously until the polish begins to turn darker, this will alleviate the beauty of the engine compartment.
After this step, we are safe to say that the engine compartment has been properly washed and cleaned without incurring any damages.
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Washing other vehicle parts without washing the engine is like bathing without brushing the teeth. Just like brushing the teeth, a spotless engine is necessary. It is not only attractive and aesthetic but will help prevent future damages.
But before we go, check out this video
The Safe Way To Clean Your Engine Bay!