Summer is officially here, which means you have even more of a reason to go outside and detail your car. While detailing the exterior is always important, not everyone remembers to do the engine bay. Here’s how you do it.


YouTuber ChrisFix breaks detailing an engine bay down into five steps: preparation, dry clean, wet clean, dry the engine and detail. He uses a collection of differently sized brushes, microfiber towels, paint markers, cleaning wipes, spray wax, trim restorer and soapy water mixed in a spray bottle.

You want to make sure to disconnect the battery by either unhooking it or removing it altogether. Be aware of things that are water-sensitive, like spark plugs, so they don’t short circuit after getting wet.

Dry cleaning involves using the brushes to sweep the dust loose. Then, you can either use a vacuum or an air blower to remove the dirt.

Wet cleaning might be a cause for panic for some because you’re spraying water directly into the engine bay. Just don’t put cold water on a hot engine. Warm is totally okay. Working from the inside of the hood down, you want to cover the engine with a garbage bag and hose down the hood and around the outside of the engine with a moderate spray, not high-powered. Wipe with a microfiber towel and cleaning wipes to remove all grease and dirt.


Then, spray down with the soapy water mix and brush all the surfaces you can reach.

The hardest part is cleaning the engine. You can’t use a hose for this part. Split it into two halves to choose which side to work on first. Chris removed the intake for easier access. Use cleaning wipes to wipe away any grease or dirt. Use the soapy water and a brush to loosen the dirt. Then wipe everything down with a microfiber towel. This way, you avoid soaking your electronics. While you’re at it, dry everything else with a microfiber towel.


The last step is detailing, which is always my favorite step.

Take a spray wax, spray liberally on all the painted surfaces in the engine bay and buff it in with a microfiber towel. After, using a water-based trim restorer on all the rubber and plastics, work it into the engine using a brush. Don’t get it on the belt, though! Let this soak for 10 minutes and buff it off with a microfiber towel.


Check out the video for a full run-through. Then get out there and clean those engines!

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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