Did you know that the average driver puts 15,000 miles on their vehicle annually? However, most drivers don’t know the importance of cleaning a car engine.

Have you noticed a drop in your car’s power and gas mileage? Do you know how to safely clean a car engine to keep your vehicle running smoothly?

The following car engine cleaning guide will explain everything you need to know. Read on to learn how to maintain your engine for maximum efficiency.

Scheduling Your Cleaning

how long does a car engine last

It’s good to clean your car’s engine 1 to 2 times each year. Cleaning reduces wear on different cables and pulleys. It can also help find leaks and other issues that require an engine tune.

It’s ideal to choose a warm day for your engine cleaning. Warm weather, low humidity, and a little wind will help dry the engine and parts afterward.

Cool Down Your Vehicle

Open up the hood of your vehicle and let the engine cool down for about 15 minutes. Hot engine parts can burn you during cleaning.

Hot engines can also be harmed by fast contraction when sprayed with cold water. So, a cool-down period is very crucial if your vehicle was just running.

Removing Parts

Make sure to remove any plastic covers found under your vehicle’s hood. These parts should be scrubbed and cleaned separately.

Next, remove the negative terminal from your car’s battery. Doing so will help guard the electrical parts from any damage if they get wet.

Covering Parts

Covering Parts

Use plastic bags to cover and protect electrical parts like the battery, ignition wires, and the engine control unit. Be sure to cover the exposed engine air intake if your vehicle has one.

You can skip this step if you plan to be extremely precise and careful while cleaning but it’s best to take precautions.


Spray the whole engine compartment thoroughly with a degreaser. Make sure to apply the degrease generously and cover every inch.

Any standard household degreaser will work just fine. Examples include kitchen cleaners or specific engine degreasers.


You may not need to do any scrubbing depending on how dirty the engine is. But areas such as the valve cover often have years of oil and dirt buildup.

Use a small brush with synthetic bristles and avoid metallic bristles. The brush will work with the degreaser to clear away any gunk.

Rinse and Dry

Rinse and Dry

Use a standard hose or power washer on a low setting to rinse your engine. Rinse the whole compartment from back to front until the degreaser is gone.

Use a towel or rag to wipe down everything you can reach. You can also use compressed air in tight spaces if it’s available. Finally, reinstall the battery’s negative terminal and remove any plastic bags used for covering parts.

Ready to Clean Your Engine?

Now you how to safely clean a car engine in a few simple steps. Remember this guide to help extend the life of your engine and avoid costly repairs.

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