Car Care / Tech

Tech: Fun And Effective Engine Cleaning Tips & Tricks

The Wow Factor is important when it comes to engines. You want to be greeted by gasps, oohs, and aahs when you raise that hood at a show or at home among friends and neighbors. But engines are adorned with plastic covers, hoses, different types and finishes of metal… it’s a turkey shoot in there. Don’t worry, we got your back.

We have compiled some step-by-step cleaning tricks and tips that will help you make the proper impression. We tapped Sam Battersby, our product specialist and corporate trainer, to run us through the process on a 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution SE.

There are some things to know before you break out the tools and supplies. Be sure the engine is cool to the touch. If you’re going to wash your entire vehicle clean the engine first because overspray will make a mess of already clean body panels in and around the engine bay. Be aware that electronics in older cars may need to be wrapped with a plastic sandwich bag to protect against moisture. And finally, remember to start with the underside of the hood so dirty water won’t drop on your freshly cleaned engine.

Just like cleaning paint, washing your engine starts with a good rinse. Sam uses a power washer here but a hose with a quality nozzle in a fine fan pattern will do the trick. The power washer is fitted with a 25-degree head and Sam keeps the wand moving to minimize water penetration.

While the engine is still wet, Sam sprays the entire 2.0-liter 4G63 turbocharged four cylinder in Griot’s Garage Engine Cleaner. It’s a great general cleaner that gently loosens and breaks up grease, grime, and engine gunk.

The next step is to agitate with a quality brush like our Boars’ Hair Detailing Brush. It’s also wise to have a smaller, more maneuverable set of Detailing Brushes on hand for the tight spots. Sam suggests working on smaller areas first and expand from there.

Now it’s time to supercharge your cleaning power. With the Engine Cleaner still on the engine, Sam sprays Citrus Multi-Surface Cleaner to the dirtier areas. He sprays it on thick and lets the foam do its work. This cleaner uses a unique blend of natural D-limonene that safely dissolves petroleum-based stains and build up.

Once the foam has made its mark, Sam agitates below-surface areas with a Griot’s Garage Bendable Wheel Brush. Its star-shaped bristle pattern does a thorough job of cleaning while easily penetrating deep into the engine bay, snaking between hoses and engine parts.

We were impressed how a brass bristled Detailing Brush and Citrus Multi-Surface Cleaner laid waste to the rust on the turbo cover.

The AIR PULSE Cleaning Gun was highly effective at powering through more stubborn, greasier stains. Sam filled the gun’s reservoir with Oil & Grease Cleaner and says the brush at the end of the unit is great for scrubbing multi-layered stains.

Before any of the products dry, Sam gave the Evo’s engine a final rinse with the power washer. He says starting at the top of the engine and working your way down is the best way to go.

An Airstream Drying Gun is used to dry the engine bay. The big advantage of the Airstream is how it simulates on-the-road airflow reducing blow-on. It also saves headaches because it thoroughly dries items that drip on other things. Sam says the Airstream cuts drying time by up to 75 percent.

The final and most impactful step is dressing the engine. Sam give the boosted four cylinder a glowing luster by spraying it down with Engine Bay Dressing. It puts the stamp of perfection on the engine by enhancing and protecting all of its surfaces and imparting a fine finish that doesn’t attract dust.

And the results are in……

Before                                                                      After











  1. Good article… although I would not recommend using a pressure washer in the engine bay… I know that some manufacturers place warning stickers or emboss them on electrical component panels specifically stating no pressure washer use.

    I use my steam cleaner,, a quality APC, various brushes and a lot of what I call my “grunge” microfibers and my garden hose nozzle on the mist setting when cleaning and rinsing engine bays. I then blow dry the engine bay using my air compressor with a blower nozzle.

  2. What a detailed article! It was very easy to understand an to follow! I got some outstanding ideas from it! Really it is a very hard job to clean a car engine and some tricks are must to know before doing it. And for that, I was searching for the best blog. Yours made me stop! I got all the important information to clean my car engine in a place! Thanks for them!

  3. The way to clean an engine, right here are two top motives why you ought to. First, a easy engine is simpler to work on. Second, a clean engine brings extra at resale. But you can’t just spray it with degreaser and hose it down. We’ll display you the way to put together the engine to defend crucial electrical connections. We’ll also give you a few guidelines for doing the task in an environmentally safe manner. When you will go to clean your car engine you should take while your working period.

  4. Amazing, your post is very helpful for me.

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