How to wash the car engine: What to do and what to use

In the automotive sector there is a much debated issue that sees two clearly opposed and apparently unreconcilable factions: is it advisable to wash or otherwise clean the car engine ?

Those on the no front argue that the "dirtier engine is better" , unless there are obvious oil leaks, because the dirty one would have the function of lubricating the engine and making it more efficient. In addition, there are many risks if water is used to wash the engine , wet the control unit, the injector assembly and all the electrical components and cause high damage.

Opponents argue, however, that, in addition to meeting the aesthetic need of the enthusiast and amateur, a clean engine is more reliable because an excessive accumulation of dust can clog the carburettor and an excess of sludge can obstruct the intake pipe .

We can therefore say that cleaning the car engine can be considered a maintenance operation to be carried out, with due attention and precautions, about once every two years or when there have been significant oil leaks that have dirtied the main parts.

Let's see how to clean the engine in a few essential steps that will make it shine and not damage it.

How to wash the car engine

  1. First of all, place the car in an area where the dripping dirt does not cause damage; if you do not have a private area, you can go to specialized car washes and make sure they have black water collection tanks .
  2. Let the engine warm up for a couple of minutes.
  3. Protect all electrical parts : disconnect the battery terminals, or, even better, remove it completely, and cover it with plastic bags or plastic wrap.
  4. It is very important to seal the air inlet with aluminum foil or plastic because any infiltrations would be very harmful.
  5. With a hard-bristled brush, remove dirt and dust in all parts that can be reached.
  6. At this point proceed to the actual washing operation . You can resort to the use of a do-it-yourself mixture prepared with degreasing liquid detergent and water, if the engine is very dirty, or the best engine degreasers  on sale in specialized shops or in large hypermarkets that have a department for car accessories. Rub the solution or degreaser well on the dirtiest parts with the help of the brush.
  7. Rinse well or with the water jet of the irrigation pipe or with a low pressure washer . Be careful because high pressure could damage some parts.
  8. Dry with cloths or with the help of a compressor that eliminates the water that has deposited in the various compartments.
  9. Allow the engine to dry completely in the air, avoiding starting the car and, in the end, removing all the materials used to protect the electrical parts and components for the power supply.


It is therefore not difficult to wash the car engine exactly as it is done for the bodywork and the interior.

Moreover, it is not a mystery that a proper periodic maintenance keeps the efficient drive and, above all, safe, prevents those failures due to carelessness and can guarantee, therefore, an economic saving .

All car manufacturers require one coupon to be made every 15,000 / 20,000 km in order to check and possibly replace those components that are subject to use.

There is, however, a maintenance that can be carried out personally between one coupon and another even by the less experienced: the famous, in its popular definition, ,"control of liquid levels" ie the oil and liquid level engine cooling, the level of the brake fluid and, possibly, that of the windscreen wiper and battery fluid, and the tire pressure .

As already stated, also washing the car engine can be considered, therefore, a maintenance operation , because, if during the fluid level check we find that the engine is particularly dirty with oil , which, remember, over time it turns into sludge and becomes dangerous, it is good to arm yourself with holy patience and the right tools and carry out the cleaning operations described.