As even the most novice of auto experts know, the engine is the most important part of any car or truck. And like changing the oil and rotating the tires, or changing the spark plugs and washing your car, keeping the engine block clean and free of gunk and debris is a simple maintenance that will help extend the life of your auto.
First, gather together the materials you’ll need to do the job. These include engine degreaser, a stiff plastic or metal brush, aluminum foil and plastic bags, tape, water and dish soap. Once everything is gathered, it’s time to begin. Make sure you’re in an area that has easy access to all of the necessary items you’ll need, and will make for easy cleanup afterward.
Turn the auto on and let it warm up or a couple of minutes; slightly warm helps loosen dirt and debris. Once the engine has been running for awhile, turn it off and remove the battery cables from their respective terminals, negative first. You’ll then need to take your plastic bag and put it over the electrical items that are on the engine; if they are exposed to water, they can become damaged and will need additional repair, which can be costly. The breather and/or carburetor need to be covered with the foil, as well, then taped into place. Make sure all components are completely covered, and no water will be able to invade your wrappings.
Next, use your brush to clean off the engine’s surface, loosening dirt and grime, or debris that could be stuck on. You don’t need to scrub too hard, just enough to get surface grime off. After your engine has been brushed, mix dish soap and water together and wet your engine block down, paying special attention to the dirtiest areas. After the engine has been thoroughly covered with the soap mixture, use clean, cool water to wash it completely off.
Use the engine degreaser next, according to the instructions on the bottle or tube. In a pinch, using a household grease cutter might work, too. Scrub the metal parts with the cleaner and brush, as well, making sure to clean the plastic coverings of all the chemical residue. Rinse your engine well with clean water and a rag. Let the engine dry completely, then remove all the wrappings that were put on to cover the electrical bits.