Cleaning Up a Greasy Engine

If you’re a car enthusiast, you’ve probably been degreasing engines for years.  If you aren’t, here are two good reasons why you should consider doing it. First, a clean engine is easier to work on.  If you, or your mechanic, perform any substantial repairs, a clean engine is much easier to work on.  Secondly, and this can’t be over emphasized, a clean engine will bring you more money at resale time.  Definitely do it before you sell a car to a dealer or via private sale. You will be glad you did.

Image by L.C. Nøttaasen

Fortunately, degreasing a engine isn’t that hard to do. There are a pile of engine degreasing sprays on the market today that eliminate the hard stuff.  You can find them at most auto supply stores and hardware stores. Degreasing sprays come in two types: solvent and water-based. Both types work well.  Many professionals prefer solvent-based degreasers because they work a little faster and seem to cut through heavy grease buildup better than the water-based products. The downside is their strong solvent smell. If you’re sensitive to solvents, choose a concentrated water-based product instead. If your engine is really a mess, choose either a foam or a gel formula such as Gunk Heavy Duty Gel Degreaser.

Here’s how to do it.  Degreasers work best when the oil and grease on an engine is soft. So start the engine and let it run for about 5 minutes. Then shut it off and let it cool down until you can safely touch the exhaust manifold. Then hose down the engine with the degreaser.  Aim carefully to prevent the overspray from reaching painted areas.  After you have coated everything, let it sit on the engine for 15-20 minutes.

Next step is to take a garden hose and wash all the mess off the engine.  Use a spray nozzle for maximum pressure.  This will likely make quite a mess so be ready to get rather oily and wet.  When you are done, take a look at the engine and see if you have removed all the accumulated grease.  If not, apply another coat of degreaser and repeat.  It often takes a couple of iterations.

When you are finished degreasing, consider using an engine protectant.  Gunk Engine Shine is a popular brand.  The spray imparts a slight shine and a protective layer of grease to make cleanup even easier next time.

Technical Source: Antioch Chrysler in Antioch, IL

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Jyotsna Ramani is a passionate writer and an avid globetrotter. She had a knack for writing since her early years, though that was mostly letters to her penpals and jotting her thoughts down in her "Dear Diary". Over the years, she realized how her hobby could turn into a full time career and she started writing web content, books and pieces for local magazines. There has been no looking back ever since. Follow Jyotsna Ramani at Google+

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