Car CareHow to Clean Your Alloy Wheels
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When it’s time to top up your oil and fill up the screen wash, how good will it feel to pop open the bonnet and see a nice and tidy engine bay? No oil spills, no splashes and no mucky marks. Maintaining a clean engine will help prevent it from rusting and allow for inlets, outlets and passageways from becoming clogged with dirt and debris; keeping your engine performing better and lasting longer. Not only that, a clean bonnet will show that you’ve looked after your car, so it’ll add value to it if you’re wanting to sell it.
So, if you:
Then, keep reading…
Not all car engines look the same, but the tools we need to clean them are fairly generic. They’re affordable too and can be found in most high-street DIY stores. Here are the products we recommend getting:
When it comes to cleaning under the bonnet and extending the life of your engine, it’s not as simple as splashing water and spraying cleaning products around. From letting your engine cool to protect the electrical systems, there are many steps to take to help you stay safe and keep your car protected when cleaning the engine bay.
Although you’ve had to wait for the engine to cool down, it’s actually best if the engine is slightly warm, as the grime will clean off easier. If you can comfortably put your hand on the engine for 10 seconds, then it’s good to begin. Don’t forget, it’s never a good idea to put cool water on a hot engine as the change in temperature can cause parts to crack. Now you can start the clean…
As mentioned in the previous section, it’s best to remove the car battery and cover the electrical components like the alternator, distributor and spark plugs. The engine will need protection too. This can simply be done with a plastic bag and electrical tape. Don’t forget to tighten those caps and covers and cover any electrical sockets just in case.
Now everything’s protected, use a brush to gently dislodge dirt and debris. Use a vacuum to suck it all up or a leaf blower to get rid of it all. If the intake needs cleaning, use a wire brush for that stubborn grime.
Mix up a soapy water solution using warm water. Pop it into a spray bottle and moisten all exposed surfaces in the engine bay. The warm water will help prevent warm engine parts from cracking. Make sure not to spray the insulation blanket underneath the hood, as getting it wet can cause damage.
Pop down absorbent covers on the ground under the engine and next to your car. It can help prevent toxic liquids from running into drains or soil nearby.
Apply a degreaser over the parts you’ve just sprayed with warm, soapy water. Pay more attention to where the grime has built up. Leave for 10 minutes.
Use a microfibre cloth to remove the degreaser and loosened dirt on the easily accessible parts of the engine bay. And for those hard-to-reach places, use a brush. It’s much more eco-friendly to use a brush and reusable cloths instead of throw-away wipes that can only be used once.
Now, take your hose and wash down the inside of the bonnet and the outside of your engine bay. Make sure your hose is on a low-pressure setting and try to avoid the parts of your engine that are covered up with electrical tape and plastic bags.
Use cloths to clean away the grease and oil. You can use a brush and degreaser for those stubborn marks. A toothbrush might work for those hard-to-reach places. Dry the engine off with a microfibre cloth – they’re great for soaking up water. Remember not to use the pressure washer or hose on high setting on your engine as the high-pressure water might damage it.
Now your engine bay is all clean, use a clean microfibre cloth to soak up any moisture. You could also use an air compressor or leaf blower to get to those areas your cloth can’t. It’s now time to take off that electrical tape, too.
Now your engine bay is all clean, it’s time to get it looking as fresh as possible. Use a fabric dye to correct any discolouration of the bonnet liner and then use spray wax for cleaning. Those plastic and rubber surfaces can be brought back to their former glory with a water-based trim restorer; it’ll make them shine and protect them from deterioration too. If you have faded lettering on your engine parts, bring them back to life with a colour-matched paint marker.
Pop your car battery back in, take a step back and admire all your hard work!
Now your engine is all sparkling, I think we can all agree that a clean engine is a better engine. Not only will it take years off its age, but it’ll also help maintain your motor. Here are some extras to think about:
If left for a long time, grime and dirt can build up in your engine bay. That’s why it’s best to clean it regularly so you won’t have such a big job to do next time. Little and often is the way!
After you finish with the cleaning and you have dried the bay as much as you can, start your engine and let the increasing temperature clear the remaining moisture.
If you’re working outside in the open air, it’s important you pick a dry day. It’s best if it’s sunny too to allow for water to dry quicker.
Find a professional car cleaning specialist to take care of your engine bay.
If you don’t have the time to clean your engine bay, or you’re not confident in tackling it by yourself, why not leave it to the professionals? At Fantastic Services we offer a wide range of mobile car wash and car valet services in London that will get your engine bay looking brand new. And if you want to get that one step further, you can take advantage of our professional mobile detailing service to get your motor looking great, inside and out.
Have any car engine bay cleaning tips for us? Tell us in the comments section below…
Img Source: Shutterstock/Nor Gal