Clean freak or not, you have probably at least thought about cleaning the engine of your car. Seeping oil, fluid spills and just everyday road grime can get so thick it can cover the entire engine. More than just looking disgusting, an engine covered in grease, gunk and grime will also run hotter and consume more fuel. If the engine of your car is a greasy mess here is a simple step-by-step guide on how to clean your car engine:
Degreasers are available as either solvent or water-based formulas, and both will work on a dirty engine. It is important to note that all engine degreasers call for careful handling to protect the environment, even the ones labeled as “biodegradable” or “environmentally safe.” This is because while the degreaser itself may be safe, once it starts to work on dissolving the grease it becomes “hazardous waste.”Solvent-based agents work faster and tend to be more effective on dissolving heavy grease buildup, but typically have a stronger unpleasant smell. Either water-based or solvent degreasers can be purchased at local department and auto-parts stores.
Having the needed supplies on hand before you start the project will save you both time and frustration. In addition to the degreaser you will need:
• A drip pan and absorbent mats to catch waste-water runoff
• Nylon brush
• Blue painters tape
• Plastic food wrap
Prep the Engine
Cover all electrical wires, coils and connectors with plastic food wrap and then wrap a piece of painter’s tape over the plastic so as not to forget to remove the food wrap when finished. Degreasing agents are most effective when the grease is soft. Start the engine and allow it run for five to 10 minutes. Turn off the engine off and allow it to cool down just until you can hold your hand on the exhaust manifold for four seconds. As a word of caution, never apply flammable solvents to a hot engine. Place the drain pan and absorbent mats below the engine compartment and apply the degreaser as directed.
Cleaning the Engine
1) Pretreat the areas with the heaviest accumulations of grease first and then apply a coating of degreaser to the entire engine.
2) Allow the degreaser to sit on the engine as per the manufacturer’s directions and rinse with warm water. Retreat any stubborn areas, scrub lightly with the nylon brush and rinse again.
3) Remove the plastic wrap and dispose of the mats and wastewater in the pan as per local regulations.