How to super clean your vehicle's engine bay

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Did more or less this, but on a boat. The end result was nice for about a week, then all was dirty again. (Though less dirty because of the ‘fresh’ oil everywhere.)


I understand why car show enthusiasts would do this. Ya know. For show.

Is there a practical purpose for this? Is this something that helps the engine and engine bay in some form, longer lifespan or something?

Otherwise if it’s purely cosmetic then it gets a big “MEH”.


Considering most people don’t even lift the hoods of their cars anymore, I’d say that it’s even less than that.


Unless you’re headed to a car show, I wouldn’t advise using water or many other liquids to clean in and around the engine. The potential for damage, especially on contemporary electronically-controlled engines, outweighs the satisfaction of a sparkly engine. I’d even be cautious with that blower.



I always wondered how to do this. I’m shopping their Amazon affiliate linked accessories now.

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Easy, clean once and don’t drive it!


It’s nice when you’re tracking down leaks to have a clean engine to start from. Otherwise, it’s very hard to tell which leak is old and which is new.


There is some benefits from removing caked on gunk – the engine runs cooler when all that insulating dirt is removed, and corrosion can be reduced where water-holding grime builds up. This can prolong component and engine lifespan and even improve mileage, albeit slightly.

That said, going beyond modest occasional dirt and grime removal is cosmetic.


I had my engine compartment cleaned after replacing the engine about 25 years ago, and the guy sprayed some sort of liquid sealer on the non-super-heated parts to make it more attractive. It held up very well during the month or so I was offering it for sale.

Sure looks nice when he has polished the aluminium, but hey… isn’t that surface layer of oxidized aluminium actually protecting the underlying metal? The idea being, the surface oxidizes but then becomes air- and watertight, and stopping any further corrosion.

Not a huge problem I’d imagine, just, not a step that you’d do from a purely maintenance perspective, I’d say?

For some reason I couldn’t convince myself that the hands featured in that video were attached to the person narrating.

Don’t worry - the ~40nm of alumina comes back in thousandths of a second. You’re just removing gunk, not anodizing…


Yes, for several reasons:

  1. A clean engine runs cooler
  2. Easier and more preferable to work on a clean engine
  3. Easier to trace/spot leaks
  4. Easier to spot corrosion
  5. Easier to spot deteriorating hoses/belts/wires/fasteners
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