How to Clean a Car’s Engine

A well-maintained vehicle appears great moving down the street or sitting in a driveway, and of course, it drives better. However, if you want to have a beautiful ride and a car that is free from rust, you need to get rid of grime and dirt from your vehicle.

Dust and debris may creep into your engine chamber through openings around the bonnet and the car’s front end. Although cleaning your engine may sound daunting, following these simple steps can turn the work into an easy and satisfying afternoon task.

Here is how to clean your engine fast and efficiently.

Schedule for a cleaning

Choose a warm day. Warmer weather, specifically low humidity with a bit of wind, can help dry the engine and its components after cleaning.

Cool the engine

If the vehicle was running, open the bonnet and let the engine cool for about 15 minutes. Besides burning you, hot engine components can be damaged by rapid contraction when splashed with cold water.

Remove detachable parts

Detach any plastic covers beneath the bonnet or any removable parts, such as the carburetor. You can clean such parts separately. Remember to disconnect the negative terminal from the battery to prevent the damage of electrical components in case they get wet. If you would prefer, you can also remove the battery, though you can clean the engine chamber without doing so.

Although most modern cars use fuel injectors instead of carburetors, there are still carbureted engines out there. Carburetors help in controlling the fuel flow. Hence, to make sure your engine is running smoothly, you are required to keep your clean carburetor. Some of the recommended carburetor cleaners include:

  • Throttle Body & Body cleaner
  • Gumout Jet Spray Carb
  • CRC Carb & Choke Cleaner

Cover exposed electronics and wiring

Cover any sensitive electrical component, including the engine control unit, battery, and ignition wires with plastic bags or cling wrap. In case there is an open engine air intake beneath the bonnet, you need to cover that as well. If you feel you can be extra careful with your cleaning, then you may skip this step. Nevertheless, protecting these electrical components can let you have a more thorough cleaning with less damaging risk.

  • Plastic cling wrap or bags work well to give protection from water
  • Refer to your car’s service manual if you cannot find the spark plug inlets.


Using a degreaser, thoroughly spray the whole engine compartment. You can use any household degreaser, whether a purpose-made engine degreaser or a kitchen Degreaser. Quick Job’s All Purpose Cleaner is another approved degreaser that can help you achieve professional outcomes. Ensure you have covered every square inch of the engine.

Here are some advantages of using a Quick Job Degreaser:

  • It is economical.
  • Concentrate. Meaning you can custom blend it to suit your requirements.
  • It is safe for you, your car engine, and the environment.
  • It is non-flammable
  • It does not release toxic fumes while you are detailing your car
  • It gives a thorough clean to your engine.


Depending on the amount of dirt on your engine, scrubbing may not be necessary. However, some parts, such as the valve cover, might have years of caked-on dust or oil. Use a small non-metallic synthetic bristles brush to move in the degreaser and clean out the grime. If needed, add more degreaser.

Rinse your car

Use a power washer or a standard hose on a light setting. You can also use a sprayer at the local Do it Yourself car wash. Wash the whole compartment, starting from the back to front, while cleaning out all the degreaser. Avoid direct spray to the electrical components, and try not to spray much water to parts that may not dry fast.


Use compressed air to blow air in the crannies and nooks to eliminate excess water. However, if you do not have a compressor available, dry what you can reach with a shop rag or towel. This step may not only eliminate water but can also help get rid of any remaining gunk.


Re-attach the battery negative terminal and uncover the plastic bags covering the electrical components.


In the first place, the best way to make this project easy and efficient is by preventing your engine compartment from accumulating too much dirt and debris. A fast cleanup every year or two can help you keep your engine clean with less than an hour of work. When you follow these simple steps to clean your engine steps, a happy feeling is guaranteed for you by a shiny engine bay.

Related Posts

By my name jessi