How to Steam Clean The Engine Bay [Photo Guide]
August 28, 2017
Why steam clean the engine bay when it’s safely tucked inside anyway? Isn’t that another waste of your time, money and effort? It really depends on how much you value your ride – and how long you want it to work as it should. If you want to ensure its longevity, it is high time to pay closer attention to the heart of your vehicle – the engine bay.
Grime and gunk build up on the engine surfaces over time due to metal parts flaking off during contact, byproducts of fuel combustion, and contaminants in the oil. Regular cleaning of the engine bay lets you catch leaks early on and prevent engine fires from happening. It is more than just making your car look good – it’s a matter of safety.
Out of all the ways you can clean your engine bay, you will get the best results by steam cleaning. Steam, applied at the right temperature and angle, is powerful in removing crud that is deeply seated in between small nooks and crannies. It is also safer because it does not damage sensitive engine components like electrical wirings and sensors the way high-pressure water sprays and chemical cleansers can. And because you only use a fraction of the amount of water you usually consume with a regular wash, steam cleaning is also the more economical choice.
How to Steam Clean the Engine Bay: A Step-by-step Guide
Before steam cleaning the engine bay, make sure you wear the proper gear – gloves, eyewear, and clothes that can protect you from grease and bits that may accidentally fly out in the process.
Aside from the steam cleaner, you will also need a brush, leaf-blower (to remove loose dirt), water and organic degreaser.
Step 1: Determine if engine cleaning is needed
Car engine bay cleaning is ideally done every three to six months to ensure proper maintenance of engine parts and check for leaks. You don’t want grime and dirt build-up to affect your car engine’s performance. Do not put off cleaning for years and risk discovering corrosion damage to your engine parts.
Step 2: Prep your engine
It is not recommended to wash your car’s engine when it is still hot. The hot engine coming in contact with a substance of different temperature can cause damage to its surface and other components. Let it cool for at least two hours before applying steam. Protect major electrical connections and sensors like the alternator, fuse box and other sensitive circuits from moisture using plastic or aluminum foil.
Step 3: Remove loose debris
Loose dirt and debris like dried leaves can make their way into your car’s engine bay. Brush them off or pick out the bigger pieces by hand.
Step 4: Apply degreaser
Normally the heat and pressure from the steam cleaner are enough to loosen grime build up in different parts of the engine bay. However, if there are particularly stubborn hard-to-clean parts, you can apply a mild non-petroleum engine degreaser before applying steam to loosen up the gunk a bit more. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to degrease a car engine.
Step 5: Apply steam to soiled areas
Having a good steam cleaner is a great investment. It makes cleaning your car’s engine easier, faster and it saves you money in the long run. Steam cleaning is a safe cleaning option for your car’s engine but it has to be done properly. Make sure you know how to correctly adjust the settings of the machine and carefully manipulate the wand during the cleaning process to achieve the desired effect.
Apply steam to dirty areas, making sure that grime and gunk are completely melted and blasted off the surface. Steam cleaners come with different jet nozzles and brush attachments that have more specialized cleaning functions. Use them for hard to reach areas or for lifting off deep-seated stains.
Step 6: Rinse and wipe off
Use the steam to give the engine bay a final rinse. Let the pressure push the remaining gunk away from the engine surface. Wipe the water off the engine surface afterward with a rag. You may also opt to apply metallic wax to the metal components after cleaning to protect them from corrosion. There are also products used to protect rubber hosing to make them last longer. You can really see the difference after steam cleaning is done.
If you want the best results for your car’s engine, schedule an appointment with us. Our expert detailers can steam clean your engine bay safely and efficiently.
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