For one, a properly cleaned car means it belongs to a responsible owner. A clean car and car engine mean that the car runs smoothly; hence problems are usually avoided. And lastly, who else doesn't want to ride a shiny car that looks and feels like new?
While I always advocate car cleanliness, there are still other skeptics when it comes to cleaning their car, especially with the car engine. The car engine is a very delicate area wherein some sections need to be free from any moisture and residue. These residues may cause harm and slowly deteriorate the engine, which later on causes more problems and, at worse, an accident. This is why some are very apprehensive when it comes to cleaning their engine at the carwash.
Chemicals and dirt can mix to form a layer that is difficult to remove and can cause issues as it hardens over time. While there is little need to wash and clean your engine daily, having a regularly scheduled trip at the carwash should be made every few months.
Read this on how to clean engine without water
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How To Wash A Car Engine At The Carwash
Before doing anything with your car and its engine, my advice is to check everything under the hood first and see what is going on. Inspect everything and see what happened inside that compartment. If you see some areas that need taking care of like the battery corrosion, I think it is time that you have your car checked and serviced at the nearest shop. They can easily help you deal with those issues.
If you only see clumps of dirt and grease all over the place, I highly suggest that you prepare yourself for a trip to the carwash. While many would suggest that you immediately head down to the carwash, there are still things that I advise that you do. The first thing that I do before heading to the carwash is to remove any sort of debris or large residue that is trapped in the grill or vent openings. This will make the cleaning process a lot faster and more efficient.
While the car does not always need to be cooled down before washing the engine, it also does not help to introduce cold water to a steaming engine.
I always tell my regulars to take the time to prepare your car before entering the carwash. You can either park the car to the side first and let it cool down for a while before entering the carwash or do it first thing in the morning. Lastly, before starting your carwash, make sure that all the vulnerable sections of your car, including areas in your engine, are properly covered and secured.
Apply Engine Degreaser
If you plan on manually washing your car at the carwash, you can purchase an engine degreaser, but I use a water-based cleaner. Usually, a petroleum-based degreaser has faster action, but it can also deteriorate the rubber hoses and seals in your engine much faster.
When applying the engine degreaser, I suggest that you start from the bottom and work your way up to the top. This way, I will not have any issues with the degreaser dripping down on me. Once the degreaser is fully applied, I like to take time to let the degreaser soak in for a full five minutes. For heavier deposits, I use a brush to help reach the different areas of the engine.
Washing Your Car Engine
After the degreaser has fully set, I would then use a low-pressure spray with the right temperature and power to clean the engine. This way, I would protect the electrical components of the engine and prevent them from any damage even if it is protected by a covering. I do not suggest using a garden hose, but if you have to, make sure that you are using an option with the lowest pressure possible, or you can play around and see which pressure suits you best.
To dry the engine, I just turn up the engine and let it dry on its own. The heat from the engine tends to help it dry off quickly. I also advise avoiding letting the engine dry at room temperature as it will create some spots. Finish off with using a microfiber towel to wipe off any residual moisture. Then, you can top it off with any engine protectant, so it has that shine as if it was new.
And there you have it; your car engine should look good and shiny as new once you're done with the cleaning. There is nothing that can give you peace of mind than having a newly cleaned car engine.
James is a certified auto technician specializing in commercial vehicles. With 30 years of experience under his belt, James has encountered almost every type of automotive issue there is! Besides his day job at the repair shop, he is also an amateur race car driver.