Engine Washing: Higher Selling Price, Better Appearance and Easier Fault Finding

by | Dec 27, 2020 | News | 0 comments

The engine of a car is usually hidden under the hood. Why should one go to the trouble of cleaning the engine? In fact, from a purely mechanical or electrical point of view, a motor wash can do more harm than good. There are good reasons, however, to give your engine a look from time to time. To achieve the desired result and not end up in the workshop, you have to pay attention to some aspects. In this article we will explain how to safely polish your engine.

Advantages of a clean engine

A clean engine offers the following benefits:

  • A more attractive appearance
  • Fault identification
  • Facilitation of repair work

Good looks don’t just enhance the owner’s ego. Above all, the sale price of the car increases. An immaculate engine gives the car in question a much more neat appearance. A thorough cleaning and polishing of the interior is also part of the preparations for the sale.

Although, according to the general opinion, a “washed engine hides something ”, since there are no traces of possible leaks, this is absurd. The opposite is the case. Only when the engine is clean can it be checked after a test drive for oil, fuel or coolant leaks.

After all, it is much more pleasant to work with a clean engine. Thus, after changing a light generator, one no longer appears to have been chopping coal. What’s more, this repair could even be done on a wedding outfit.

Mistakes in engine cleaning

An improperly performed engine wash can not only paralyze the engine, it could destroy it, in the worst case. In addition, the legal conditions in force for cleaning the engine must be respected. The penalties that can be applied are considerable and can damage the relationship between neighbors and landlord in a lasting way.
In many videos and photos of engine washing you can often see how a pressure washer is used to clean the engine compartment. While this is correct in principle, the blast should not be applied lightly as this would surely paralyze the engine. Pressurized water seeps into each plug connection, loosening anything that is not screwed on. Especially the electrical and electronic system can be affected and could even causelasting damage.

If, finally, an attempt is made to cool an overheated engine quickly with a jet of cold water, the consequences can be serious. Metals can be deformed in such a way that they no longer fit properly . This not only creates tension between the different construction parts of the engine, but also in the components themselves. In the worst case, it could cause a crack in the engine block.
When the engine is washed, traces of oil and coolant are removed . This contaminated water should not simply be discharged through the sewer. Non-compliances carry hefty fines and will also worsen your relationship with your neighbors and landlords.

Just visiting a washing facility?

For environmental reasons it is correct to go to a washing facility . However, it must first be clarified if the engine can be washed in this installation. The operator of the washing installation must have an oil separator. If this is not the case, only the body and interior can be washed.
Otherwise, the operator could also be penalized considerably. Therefore, they are not usually very happy, if someone tries to wash their compartment in their business, even if it is prohibited. This may result in your being banned from the washing facility.

Three ways to clean the engine

For a safe and legal cleaning of the engine you can proceed in three ways:

– Manual work at home
– Oil separator washing facility
– A service provider

1. Washing your engine at home

Before it should be noted that with home remedies you can only perform a limited cleaning of the engine. More than a superficial cleaning should not be done at home. The law does not allow it and you run the risk of causing harm.

To clean an engine at home you should have a garage . Furthermore, contamination of the soil should be avoided at all costs. To do this, a large piece of cardboard or old carpet is placed under the propulsion machine before starting.

The following utensils are required for cleaning by hand:

– effective cleaner
– rags, brushes and brushes
– suitable work clothing
– brake cleaner
– a well-ventilated workplace

Degreasing cleaners are best for washing the engine . Special cleaning agents such as oven spray and stain remover can perfectly be used here. A special ” engine cleaner ” is not usually necessary in most cases. As products we can recommend ” Pro-Vin ” and “Cilit-Bäng”. Before starting the cleaning work, the engine must be cool and a large piece of cardboard or carpet must be under the engine compartment. It should be noted that the cardboard or carpet should be absorbent so that nothing escapes.

The engine must be switched off during cleaning, or you could be seriously injured . The engine is then sprayed generously with the cleaner and allowed to act.

Then clean the motor from top to bottom with brushes and rags .

Finally, the most stubborn dirt is sprayed with the brake cleaner . This is a very powerful cleaning product. Its biggest advantage is that it evaporates quickly. However, it is highly flammable. Do not smoke while applying the brake cleaner and pay attention that the workplace is adequately ventilated. When the brake cleaner has evaporated, the engine will be as clean as possible on its own. Then all the rags and carpet or cardboard are discarded.

2. Washing the engine in the washing system

Cleaning your engine at home can be a pretty messy thing to do. Furthermore, from a legal point of view it is always a risk and the result is never completely satisfactory. Going to a washing facility is much more comfortable. As we have already mentioned, you should only go to those service providers that allow engine washing. Before the engine can be cleaned at a wash facility , the machine must also be sprayed with oven spray or some other powerful soap-based degreaser . No brake cleaner is necessary in this procedure. Next, a pressure washer is used with the engine running. Make sure that the jet does not

– touch the distributor cap
– the fuse box
– the plugs
– or the control device

You should have some knowledge about the engine compartment, so as not to make mistakes when using a hydro-cleaner . The engine is left running so that everything dries up right away.

If the engine dies or no longer starts, the distributor cap is usually wet . In most cases, it is sufficient to simply disassemble it, clean it with an absorbent paper cloth and reassemble it.

Cleaning the engine at a car wash facility is a quick fix, but it can also be dangerous . Also, this method usually only reaches the top of the machine. The ideal solution to achieve an immaculate engine is, therefore, to leave it in the hands of a professional.

3. This can only be done by a professional

A service provider can offer the following services:

– professional and thorough engine cleaning
– warranties
– use of the most advanced technologies

A professional knows exactly how to clean an engine compartment properly and safely. This one knows exactly what to consider and generally does not usually cause damage to the electrical system. In addition, a workshop can also clean the engine from below, which is hardly possible with home remedies or in the washing facility. And in the unlikely event that something breaks during cleaning, the workshop is insured. In this way you will not have to bear the costs.

The cleaning sector today has technologies that only workshops can afford. While most professionals still work with pressure washers, there is a more modern method that is not only particularly safe, but is so effective that the engine compartment almost returns to its original state.

For perfectionists: Washing the engine with dry ice

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide , which is transformed into small granules and used to remove dirt by applying air under pressure. When it comes in contact with a contaminated surface, the granule suddenly evaporates, releasing any loose dirt particles. The result is an engine compartment so clean it could be from a new car. However, cleaning with dry ice has its price. If a conventional motor wash costs between 15 and 20 euros , then for these modern procedures it has to be calculated with double. In any case, the result justifies its price. Furthermore, cleaning with dry ice without water is especially safe: Damage to the electrical system can be practically ruled out with this system.

Dmitry Petrov

Dmitry Petrov is an engineer who specializes in materials science, and has a deep passion for all things related to automotive technology. He is a true motorhead at heart, and spends much of his free time tinkering with engines and studying vehicular dynamics.


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