Engine Bay Detailing – Ultimate Engine Cleaning & Protection
Is It Safe To Detail Your Engine Bay?
Detailing the engine bay can often seem overwhelming and potentially scary but in reality it’s one of the easiest areas to care for. With minimal effort you will be amazed at how affordable it is to get your engine bay look like new again. The process should only take 20 – 45 minutes depending on how dirty the engine bay is.
Engine Detailing Procedure
Many people don’t detail their engines simply because they don’t understand the process of how to do it, and they’re afraid of damaging something. The truth is that your engine is a lot more resilient than you give it credit for. You can wash and detail your engine without much fear of ruining anything. You just have to remember that you are detailing and not putting out a fire. Don’t soak the engine with degreaser or use the hose at high pressure. Engine detailing takes a little finesse to do a good job.
- First you should remember that you never detail a hot engine. The best time to detail your engine is in the morning when it has been sitting all night.If you throw cold water on a hot engine then you run a much higher risk of causing damage. You definitely want to make sure the engine is cool before you start work. Some detailers recommend warming the engine to loosen build-up but it should only be slightly warm. If its too warm, the degreaser will dry and spot engine surface.
- Before you begin detailing, cover the alternator, any exposed filters, and the engine’s air intake.Those are the areas that you really don’t want water or degreaser pooling in. Cover your exposed air filter with a bag, then be sure to remove the bag before you start your engine. You might also want to consider any other areas of the engine that might not be water friendly. If you have done any custom work then you may have electrical connections or gauges that you want to cover. Just think about what you wouldn’t necessarily want to get too wet. You can always hand clean those areas after you get the rest of the dirt out. Remember: Use only as much water and cleaners as needed to get the job done.
- Start by degreasing the perimeter of the engine bay. The painted surfaces are fine to use degreaser on, but it will remove wax. Make sure you get the fluid containers and hoses degreased as well. Those are areas that usually get extra dirty. Spray down the firewall at the back of the engine bay and be sure to get as far down as you can. Degreaser won’t do the whole job for you, but it will certainly make things easier. To get the degreaser off you simply need to rinse it with a slow stream of water. You can use your thumb over the end of the hose to create a little pressure, but for the most part the degreaser will do the work and get the dirt off. Anything that doesn’t come off can just be wiped down. Again, a clean engine doesn’t come in a bottle or a can. You usually have to wipe it down by hand in order to get the engine really looking good.
- After you have rinsed what you can, the rest needs to be done by hand. It is best if you have a wash mitt that is specially designated for engine detailing. You don’t want to use the same one for the engine that you would use for the rest of the car in order to prevent cross-contamination. For crevices and any areas that you can’t reach by hand, a flexible engine detail brush will come in handy. Wash the perimeter of the engine and make sure that all the dirt is gone. You can also begin washing toward the middle of the engine where you may not have sprayed any degreaser. Some of the fluid containers and caps may need a little extra elbow grease, so make sure you get those areas as well. Some areas may require you to use detailing brushes to get the grime off. Always use soft bristled brushes and never use brass or stainless steel ones. Those will scratch plastic and paint and really take away from the look of your engine. You may need to mix some soapy water in a spray bottle to assist in your detailing. That helps get the areas that need to be hand detailed. Just have plenty of shop towels handy to wipe down the areas when you are finished. You may also want to designate a few microfiber towels for engine detailing. and use your old towels for engine duty.
- The engine needs to be dried before proceeding with wax or protectants. Use if you have one at your disposal. This blower will get water out of places you can’t reach with a towel. You can use compressed air to blow water out of crevices.
- After you have cleaned all the dirt off, it is time to shine it up. You can actually wax the paint if you want to, but you may want to use a high quality sealant instead. The engine bay gets way too hot for a carnauba-based wax to last very long. There are waxes made for hot areas so you’ll have no problem with durability.
- To shine up the plastics and hoses you can use a quality rubber/vinyl protectant. Wipe down the hoses and all plastic surfaces to make sure they are protected against heat and stains from grease or dirt.
Your engine will look so much better if you take a few minutes and clean it up. A 15 year old vehicle doesn’t have to have an engine that looks 15 years old. Once you get the engine clean once, maintaining it with regular wipe-downs is much easier.
How Often Should You Detail Your Engine Bay? The engine bay should be detailed every 3 – 6 months to keep it clean and well protected.
Engine Bay Detailing
Next to your paint, your engine is one of the most expensive parts of your car. It may even be the reason you bought the car to begin with. You just had to have that big block muscle car or that turbo charged power wagon. You spend thousands of dollars over the course of your vehicle’s life servicing the fluids, maintaining the paint and interior, replacing the tires, and everything else involved with car ownership. After years of ownership and tens of thousands of miles behind the wheel, what does your engine look like now?
Why Is It Necessary? Helps prevent accidents!
Some people wonder why engine bay cleaning is needed when it’s hidden, anyway.
Think of the engine as the heart of a vehicle. Now think of that muscle that beats inside your chest. Eat the wrong kinds of foods, live a sedentary lifestyle, smoke, drink booze and you have the perfect recipe for a heart failure.
Similarly, if you don’t pay attention to your vehicle’s engine, you are setting it up for failure, which can lead to regrettable and costly consequences. One of those consequences is engine fire.
How does it happen?
No matter how much you care for your vehicle, bad connections, oil seals, and engine gaskets will degrade due to leaks. And where there are leaks, an engine fire is bound to happen.
- Approximately one in seven fires responded to by fire departments across the nation is a highway vehicle fire. This does not include the tens of thousands of fire department responses to highway vehicle accident sites.
- Sixty-one percent of highway vehicle fires and 35 percent of fatal highway vehicle fires originated in the engine, running gear or wheel area of the vehicle.
- Insulation around electrical wiring (28 percent) and flammable liquids in the engine area (18 percent) were the most common items first ignited in highway vehicle fires.
So how can engine bay cleaning prevent an engine fire from happening? It helps you identify where the leaks are. Once you do, you or an expert can perform the necessary repairs.
It also Increases the resale value of your vehicle: Vehicle buyers nowadays are smarter. Like you, they want to get value for their money, especially when they’re considering second-hand cars. They are not satisfied with the way it looks from the outside. They check what’s on the inside, too.
Dangerous Curves Auto Detailing offers professional engine bay cleaning and detailing. Call today to book your engine detail. 910.769.0503