Cleaning Your Engine

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated May 25, 2010)

2

We have all heard the horrendous news about rising gas and oil prices. One of the best ways to help conserve gas, and therefore money, is to make sure that your vehicle's engine is properly cleaned. By cleaning your engine on a regular basis, and making sure that you do it properly, you are taking steps to ensure that your engine works the way it should. Unfortunately, cleaning an engine is not the same as cleaning the seats or windows in your car. Have no fear! Using this guide, your engine is going to be the cleanest it has been since you bought the car.

Thing to get:

  • Goggles or other eye protection
  • Grease cutting dish detergent
  • Engine degreaser (obtained from car parts stores)
  • Stiff bristled brush (plastic, not metal)
  • Garden hose
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Duct tape
  • Plastic bags

Things to do:

  1. Collect all the materials needed and move your vehicle to a place where you can rinse it. The best location would be at a do-it-yourself car wash, although this might cost you a little more money since you are going to be using their water system. The important thing is to do this somewhere that can handle the drainage of a lot of oil, sludge, and dirt. By moving the vehicle you are also going to warm it up a bit, which is what you need to do. Do not drive too far, or allow the engine to warm up to complete operation temperatures (water and heat don't mix well, and you could end up damaging something).
  2. Remove the terminal cables from your battery. Remove the negative cable, then the positive. You do not want to let the water hit the terminals if the cables are still connected as it could cause a short or some other damage. Remember, water and electricity do not play well together. Take plastic bags and duct tape and cover any electrical systems that are exposed.
  3. Using the plastic bristled brush, or maybe a large paint brush, remove any loose debris, dirt, and gunk from the engine's surfaces.
  4. Create a cleaning solution by using detergent and water. Mix 2 cups of detergent for every gallon of water. After mixing, brush the solution onto the engine. Take special care to apply and work it into the dirtiest areas.
  5. Using either your water hose or the pressure hose from the car wash, rinse off your engine completely. Apply the engine degreaser as directed on the back of the package. It is important to follow the directions as closely as possible to avoid causing any damage to your vehicle.
  6. Rinse off the engine degreaser and allow the engine to dry completely. As the engine is drying, completely remove the plastic and duct tape. You need to remove this, or you could end up with melted plastic on your engine block, and that is a completely new problem to deal with.
  7. If the engine is not completely dry prior to you restarting the engine, you may notice that it is running roughly. It should return to normal once the engine has completely dried out.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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Comments for this tip:

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What is 8 - 1?

2012-08-26 00:01:37

Ricky D. Earp

This is the biggest pile of horse manure I've seen in years! I've been a DIY auto mechanic for 48 years now (I can and have dropped engines in a driveway and replaced it the same day and re-built automatic transmissions myself) and if an engine has 2" of dirt, grease and oil caked on it, or is showroom clean, it won't make ANY difference in how it runs, how long it will run, or the fuel economy it gets. How clean the engine is INSIDE, where you can't see, is what makes the difference. Instead of cleaning the outside of your engine, change the oil every 3000 miles with a new oil filter, check your air filter every other oil change and replace at least once a year, and your engine will last longer than the body. My '85 Camry that will roll-over to 1 million miles next week and I've never opened the engine shows I know a heck-of-a-lot more about engines than this goober.


2012-08-25 23:51:05

Quentin

Terrible advice, you should have your engine compartment cleaned by someone that knows what they're doing .. it's not expensive.


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