The Best Online Repair Manual... Mitchell1

The Process


The first step to a clean car, washing can be more complex than you think. Read more...


The key to a long lasting shine, propely cleaning your paint is a must. Read more...


Wax is your paint's protection from the elements. Get it right and your car will thank you. Read more...

Tires and Rubber Care

So your paint is taken care of, how about your tires and other rubber trim components? Read more...


Brake dust sucks! Keeping your wheels clean can be a real chore without the right knowledge and products. Read more...

Engine Compartment

Don't neglect your engine compartment! A clean engine can make repairs and diagnosing leaks easier, plus it can help component last longer like hoses and belts. Read more...

Other Topics

Should I Buy A Car Polisher?

Cleaning Your Engine

What is the best way to clean my engine compartment?

A clean engine compartment will pay off in a number of ways... Easier to spot leaks, longer lasting hoses and belts, higher resale value, and hey it just looks cool!

  • Step 1: Warm the engine up and allow to cool slightly. It should be warm to the touch, but should not be too hot that when spraying water on the exhaust would cause steam. The engine block can hold a lot of heat, so driving for a few miles, and shutting down the engine for 15 - 20 minutes would still be sufficient for cleaning.
  • Step 2: Using plastic baggies and tape or wire ties, protect all sensitive wiring and the air intake. Ignition coil or coils, sensors, fuse blocks and distributor are all prime candidate for water to penetrate and cause issues. Disconnect the battery and remove or cover well with plastic.
  • Step #3: Spray down the engine compartment with your favorite cleaner. I prefer a non-petroleum based cleaner like Simple Green. Let it soak in for 15 minutes or so and do it's magic. Respray on extra oily/greasy areas.
  • Step #4: Rinse and repeat if needed. Stay away from the areas you taped up with the plastic bags.
  • Step #5: Remove all plastic bags, tape and reinstall battery. Wipe any excess water from the engine compartment and if available, used compressed air to blow off all the water you can reach.
  • Step #6: Start engine and allow to get warm to dry out all the nooks and crannies.

Pretty simple huh? Now you can wax and panels which are painted, apply your favorite rubber protectant to hoses and trim pieces. Don't wax or treat belts as they may slip. Also spray a light coating of lubricating oil on throttle cables, hood hinges and hood latch mechanisms. It's also a good time to apply a battery terminal protective spray on the terminals. Most parts stores carry the CRC brand which seems to work well for me.