Is Detailing a Car Engine Worth the Effort?

Engine check sign

If car engines came with a wash label, it would be along the lines of “hand wash, but only if you know what you’re doing.” But that’s just the thing; the owner manual doesn’t say anything about cleaning the car’s engine. That’s why you should let the professionals at your local car and engine cleaning service handle this particular task.

A quick wash with soapy water, followed by a rinse, might get the engine clean and sparkling, but there’s one small problem. It will leave you with a glistening engine that won’t start.

But, should you be cleaning the engine?

A car’s engine compartment is highly susceptible to corrosion, which implies that it’s not meant to handle a lot of water. That begs the question, should you be cleaning the engine in the first place?

Yes. Keeping the engine compartment cleans comes with numerous advantages. For starters, the car looks well-maintained and even looks newer. Secondly, the cleaning process removes gunk formed by grease, dirt, and oil to give it a clean, shiny look.

Away from the aesthetics, cleaning the engine eases the car maintenance process. If the engine is clean, you can identify where the grease or oil is coming if ever the engine springs a leak. You can wise up to the source of the problem, such as a leaky valve-covered gasket quickly. This lets you tend to the minor problems quickly before they compound and cripple the entire engine.

Again, the degreaser used in the cleaning process strips the engine of oils and grease. These hydrocarbons accelerate the wear and tear on the rubber and plastic part of the engine. Eliminating them can help lower your car running costs by reducing your repair needs.

Should you pressure wash the engine?

Absolutely not. You might get away with occasionally driving through a puddle or a flooded road, but your car’s engine won’t survive the pressure washer. Pressure spraying a hot engine with warm or cold water may cause it to cool down too fast, which might lead it to develop cracks. Again, the water might leak into the engine sensors or the alternator, leading to severe malfunctions.

Still, the high pressure from the washer might push the gunk and dirt onto the engine belts and cause them to squeak. If you’re unlucky, the water might force its way through into the induction system through the air cleaner. If the water gets into the cylinders, you could be looking at some extensive damage to your engine.

How should you clean a car engine?

Mechanic checking the engine

If you must clean under the hood, forget the hose pipe and grab a rag and water-soluble degreaser. Avoid solvent-based degreasers as they don’t do a thorough job. Alternatively, you can use a vacuum fitted with a small nozzle, a toothbrush, or an air compressor to get to the hard to reach places.

This method is preferable to blasting the engine with a high-pressure hose, which carries the risk of water and moisture damaging the electrical systems and parts of the car. You need a gentle touch and precision when detailing a car engine. Anything short of that spells a disaster and could lead you to incur expensive repair costs.

Detailing a car engine is a delicate process that requires a little bit of knowledge and expertise. If you’re not too sure of your ability to get it done, you’re better leaving it to the professionals.


About Faye Gonzales 1659 Articles
Meet our chief explorer, Faye Gonzales. With over a decade of travel experience, Faye is not only a passionate globetrotter but also a loving mom who understands the unique needs of family travelers. Her insights into family-friendly destinations and travel tips make her a trusted guide for parents seeking memorable adventures with their children.