Now before we go into this it’s important to remember this isn’t the only way to clean an engine bay. There is steam, pressure washing and snowfoam. Each has its own risks and rewards.
The purpose of this is to show an easy and safe way to do this often overlooked task.
What do you need:
- Super de-greaser
- Rubber & plastic wax
- Small brush
- Scrub pad
- Water source
- Air drier (optional)
Step 1 remove loose dirt & check
Start by removing any obvious build up of leaves, litter or anything else that can be picked up by hand. This can cause problems later if you are forcing air to dry as they can dislodge and become dangerous in some cases if they blow back at you. Also leaves for example can clog natural water drain channels.
Check all fluid caps to ensure they are tight and no water can get inside. Also look for exposed plugs or even disconnected plugs. You may need to bag up or ensure certain areas do not get wet but for the most part plugs are completely fine as long as that are connected where they should go.
Air filters and inlets should be checked. If you have an exposed element air filter this should be sealed with an air tight plastic bag before cleaning. Do not spray water into air intakes either.
Step 2 the cleaning
Ensure the vehicle is off and engine is not at operating temperature.
Start by misting over super degreaser at your chosen dilution or neat if the bay is heavily contaminated. Make sure you are wearing gloves here as degreaser is strong stuff.
Super degreaser is a water based product so completely safe compared to solvent based degreasers which can be flammable.
Make sure everywhere is covered then spray some product in to the brush or scrip pad and begin working in a methodical pattern to cover and cleanse everything. Hoses, brackets and bolts get them all!
Using an open hose or low pressure begin to rinse away the product. Make sure it doesn’t dry in anywhere.
This process usually takes a good few mins but is essential as you do not want to leave any detergent behind which could dry on with engine heat.
This can be fine by hand with towels, some run the engine which personally I’m against but it’s down to preference.
In this video we use a concentrated warm air supply courtesy of a BLO AIR-GT but the Air-S is also ideal.
The warm air actually removes water not just pushes it around which is great and the high pressure quickly disperses it making this part fairly quick and easy.
After cleaning the plastics will look a bit dull and lifeless. This is where the amazing plastic and rubber wax comes in!
Simply dab an applicator into the pot and spread over the plastics, rubber and pipes ensuring it’s evenly applied. Wait 10 mins for the wax to cure and then you’re good to go. A little rapid detailer is great for the painted areas including under side of bonnet and that’s it!