Engine degreasers are not just products that keep an engine looking nice and thereby appealing to the vanity of the car’s owner. No, these products also help to eliminate the gunk and grime that can actually reduce the efficiency of the engine and shorten its lifespan. Therefore, we consider engine cleaning to be something that all car owners should do regardless of whether they’re driving a new sports car or if they driving an older used car. In this guide, we’re going to help our readers not only find the best engine degreasers currently available, but we’re going to show them how to use it to great effect.
Engine Degreaser Buying Guide
The first part of this article is a buying guide that should help everyone buy engine degreaser for their vehicle. Since degreasing a car’s engine can be tedious, to say the least, the consumer should make sure they buy a product that makes the job easier and less unpleasant. With that said, below are some of our recommendations for making that happen.
First, Choose The Type Of Degreaser
Probably one of the first things that the consumer is going to want to do is decide on what type of engine degreaser they need. For all intents and purposes, engine degreasing products come in one of two different types. There are petroleum-based products and water-based products. Let’s examine each of these types to determine their pros and cons.
These products are usually cheaper because petroleum is one of the strongest cleaning products available for an engine and the manufacturer doesn’t have to add extra cleaning agents like they do with water-based formulations. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the smelliest. They can also be extremely abrasive, so the consumer is going to want to make sure that they take extra care when using them.
Water-based formulations are gentler than petroleum-based ones, and they tend to not smell as bad either. They also tend to have a higher price-tag than their petroleum-based cousins. They also tend not to be as abrasive, so they’re safer to use around plastics, aluminum, and chrome. And because they’re water-based, they tend to be easier on the environment as well.
Second, Decide On Its Value
The next thing that the consumer is going to want to think about is the product’s value. In other words, does a particular brand deliver more per ounce than a comparable product? Usually, the larger the container of degreaser the consumer buys the cheaper the price tag, so that should be considered as well.
How To Clean Your Car’s Engine
Once the consumer has determined what engine degreaser is right for them and has purchased it, it’s now time to use that product effectively. Below are the steps for properly cleaning an engine to keep it in good condition now and into the future.
Step One: Pick The Right Day
The first step to properly cleaning your engine is to choose a day that’s warm but not too humid. This will allow the engine to dry quickly after the cleaning process.
Step Two: Make Sure The Engine Is Cool
The consumer should also make sure that their engine is completely cool. If the car had been running, open up the hood and allow it to sit for at least 30-minutes before attempting to clean it. After 30-minutes has elapsed, if the car’s engine is still hot, then give it a little bit of extra time to ensure that it won’t burn the person cleaning it.
Step Three: Prepare The Engine
The next step is to prepare the engine. This includes removing the negative battery cable connection so damage to the electrical system won’t occur if something accidentally gets wet. It also means removing plastic covers from under the hood. Now’s also the time to cover sensitive electric equipment with plastic bags. That includes the battery, the engine control unit, and ignition wires. Also, make sure to cover the engine air intake as well.
Step Four: Use Your Degreaser
Following the manufacturer’s instructions, thoroughly spray the engine with the degreaser. Make sure to cover every square inch of the engine to get the maximum results from the product. If using a petroleum-based product, be careful around aluminum, plastic, or chrome parts that could potentially be damaged by the degreaser.
Step Five: Scrub The Engine
Using a scrub brush with nylon bristles, scrub the caked-on oil and grime from the engine. If necessary, add more degreaser to the engine. Be sure to never use a metallic scrub brush when cleaning your engine, always use one with synthetic bristles for the best results.
During this step, you can also wash the plastic covers that you previously removed. Be sure to wash those in the sink using soap and water as a degreaser could potentially damage them.
Step Six: Carefully Rinse The Engine
Using a standard hose or a power washing on the lightest setting, carefully but thoroughly rinse the engine. Start from the back and work your way to the front, taking extra care to avoid spraying delicate electrical components and areas that won’t dry quickly. When all of the degreasers have been removed from the engine, you can then move on to drying it.
Step Seven: Dry The Engine
Now is the time to allow the engine to dry. You can just leave the hood up and allow the engine to dry naturally, or you can use compressed air to remove any excess water. In some instances, it might be a good idea to use a shop towel to remove any lingering water and/or grime.
Step Eight: Put The Engine Back In Order
Now that the engine is clean and dry, it’s time to restore things back to normal. This includes replacing the plastic covers that were originally removed from the engine and hooking the battery back up. This is also a good time to take a hard look at the engine. If the engine looks clean, then your work here is done. However, if there is still remaining grime, then the process may be repeated again.