How to Wash a Car Engine Safely Using a Pressure Washer



Nothing beats a shiny, clean and well-maintained car. It will look amazing whether you are driving down the street or parking it all day in the driveway. But if you want your vehicle to drive better, you need to make sure that it looks good inside and out. You can be quick to clean the exterior of your car once it gets dirty, but what about the grime and grime that has built up under its hood?

Washing your car engine can seem daunting. Fortunately, an electric pressure washer will help you keep the car clean. Pressure washing is a faster, more efficient method of washing your car’s engine, turning the intimidating process into a simple weekend afternoon chore. Just be sure to follow the tips we have here on how to safely pressure wash your car’s engine.

Garden hose vs high pressure cleaner

A garden hose can only get rid of the cosmetic grime from the top layer of your car’s hood. More difficult to reach places, such as compartments and spaces, will remain filled with dirt and debris. Additionally, the garden hose usually creates a water blanket that covers all of the contents under the hood. This means that water in the nooks and crannies of the engine bay will cause rust over time.

On the other hand, an electric pressure washer uses high pressure. It offers precision cleaning of specific areas under the hood while allowing you to avoid areas that should not be reached by water.

Despite the many debates online, there is no doubt that using a pressure washer is the best method for cleaning your vehicle’s engine. You can easily wash it yourself efficiently at home and at the same time avoid damaging your wallet with expensive car wash services.

What you need to know before pressure washing your car engine

In terms of pressure washing your car’s engine, you need to know the right and wrong way to get the job done right:

I Do not use a powerful gasoline washer or 3000 PSI machine.

I Never use the 0 degree nozzle, which can wreak havoc on components in the engine compartment area.

I Go for an electric washer with 1200 to 1900 PSI, which is the safest to use on vehicles.

I Experts advise using a washer with a GPM between 1.4 and 1.6.

I Use the white nozzle when pressure cleaning the engine compartment area. The spray pattern produced by the white nozzle is approximately 45 degrees. In addition, the water pressure that it projects is relatively moderate.

I Switch to the green nozzle if you are not satisfied with the results of the white nozzle. The green nozzle produces a 25 degree spray. This can provide you with the most effective engine cleaning and prevent damage to your vehicle’s paint.

Five basic steps on how to properly pressure wash your car engine

Step 1: Cover all electrical components

Before you begin the actual car wash process, be sure to cover all of the engine’s electrical components. Cover the alarm system, alternator, distributor, spark plug, and other electrical connections with saran wrap or plastic. Then use rubber bands or tape to secure them to make sure they won’t fall out when you spray them with high pressure water.

Step 2: Degrease and oil with an engine degreaser

Even your pressure washer will struggle to remove grease and oil. For this reason, you may want to consider spraying an engine degreaser to loosen stubborn debris before cleaning. This will make the rinse car motor easier and faster.

As for the cleaning solution, choose a product specifically designed for engines. Additionally, check and make sure it is biodegradable and water based. The last thing you want is to buy something that corrodes the plastic and metal components in the engine bay of your vehicle.

Spray and cover the accumulated dirt with your degreaser. Make sure to spray on every little crevice as well. You don’t need to saturate the surfaces. Just give the solution a minute or two to do its magic.

Step 3: Give the dirty areas a good scrub

Once the oil and grease have loosened, scrub the engine compartment with a stiff brush. A toothbrush will also do the trick. Brushing will impose more motor degreaser in cloudy areas, agitating the stains. This, in turn, will allow the oil stain to come off more easily.

Step 4: Rinse With Your Pressure Washer

Apply a low water pressure setting for this. You will end up with damaged engine parts if you use too much pressure.

Step 5: Let the motor dry

Remove the plastic coverings you put on earlier. Next, wipe down your car’s engine with clean towels or a microfiber cloth. It is not necessary to allow the engine to dry completely. You just want it to be dry enough to make sure no moisture picks up dust and dirt the next time you hit the road.

How often should I clean my car engine?

The answer to this question will depend on where you live and the environment around you. As mentioned, car engines accumulate a lot of dirt and debris over time. This is especially true if you live in a place with a lot of dust, pollution, and harsh weather conditions.

If this is the case, it is advisable to wash your car engine once every quarter or every three months. Meanwhile, frequent engine cleaning is not necessary if you live in an area less prone to unrelenting conditions. Twice a year is enough.

However, you should wipe down your car’s engine regularly after each deep cleaning session, regardless of the condition in your area. You can do this by simply wiping the surface with a clean cloth and a toothbrush for the hard-to-reach places. The task is not as daunting as it seems. Just make sure that before you start the chore your engine is cold.


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