How To Safely Wash Your Car’s Engine

It’s easy to know when your car needs a trip to the car wash. Helpful neighborhood kids are quick to help you out by writing “wash me” in your cars dust build up. However, when it comes to washing your car’s engine, out of sight may mean out of mind. A clean engine performs better, plus engine leaks and build-up can make an engine more flammable on a hot day, so washing your engine once or twice a year is a good idea. Here’s a few tips for how to safely wash your car’s engine.

  • Location – You don’t want to be responsible for sending car engine sludge into the water supply, so consider taking your car to a car wash where their water drainage is filtered and cleaned.
  • Hot, But Not Too Hot – A warm engine is a little easier to clean, but a hot engine is a nightmare, so let the engine run for about a minute before cleaning it. If you’ve driven your car across town to get it to a car wash, you’ll need to let it sit and cool off first.
  • Electricity and Water Don’t Mix – Be sure to safely disconnect the battery and cover all the exposed electrical components of your car’s engine. If you have an older car, you will also need to cover up the air intake (or breather) and the carburetor. If you’re not sure whether these need to be covered in your engine before cleaning, ask your mechanic the next time you take it in for an oil change, and they can show you where it is and how to cover it.
  • Get Cleaning – First, brush off any loose debris or dirt. Then use dish soap mixed with water to help clean the grease off the engine. Use a brush to really scrub areas with built up grime. Rinse the soapy water off with a hose. For the metal components and engine block, consult your owner’s manual, which will likely recommend an engine degreaser available at your local car parts store. Rinse your degreaser off and let your engine fully dry. Don’t forget to remove whatever plastic you have used to protect the electrical components in your engine, and of course, reattach your car battery.

If you would like help understanding more about your engine or have repairs and maintenance that need done, please contact us.


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