How To Wash A Car Engine At The Carwash

We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Washing your car is essential for proper maintenance care. However, many consumers forget that the most critical vehicle component should be washed, too, the engine. How do you wash a car engine at a carwash, though? We have laid out the steps on how to do so in this article.

Washing your engine at a carwash is straightforward. However, there are some critical steps you need to follow:

  1. Make sure that your engine cools. Do not wash your engine if it is hot. This could cause damage to the engine metal and other components.
  2. Disconnect the battery terminals (optional). 
  3. Cover any electrical parts and filters.
  4. Spray the engine with an automotive degreaser.
  5. From a safe distance, spray the engine until all of the degreasers have been washed away.
  6. Using a towel, hand dry the engine.
  7. Hand clean the electoral components.
  8. Finally, put the battery terminal back on the battery.

Just like that, you have an engine looking brand new! However, there is more to washing a car engine than you may think. That’s why in this article, we take a closer look at the precautions that go with washing the engine of a vehicle. In addition, we will take a look at recommended types of degreasers to use on an engine, so read on!

Washing the Car and inspect engine compartment for trouble, How To Wash A Car Engine At The Carwash

How To Wash A Car Engine At The Carwash

So you want to know how to wash a car engine at the carwash? First, you must never approach this task while the engine is still hot. It will cause damage to the different components of the vehicle, which would lead to costly repairs down the road.

Why is that? First off, when water comes into contact with hot metal, the water can cause the metal to crack. If the engine cracks at all, you risk water getting into the engine itself, which can cause extreme damage. In addition, water can cause the metal to rust, which can cause issues with the engine’s performance in the long term.

Before you start washing your car engine, you need to make sure that it has thoroughly cooled off. Suppose water gets onto the different electrical parts and filters located within the engine compartment. In that case, this can interfere with the performance of these components and lead to an even bigger headache down the road for you!

Cleaning car engine from clean care care service

Disconnecting the Battery Terminal

To begin washing your car engine, it is a good idea to disconnect the battery terminals. However, this isn’t a must and is entirely up to you. 

Afterward, cover any of the electrical parts and filters within the engine compartment –as washing the engine causes these components to be affected by water. We’d suggest you use an old towel or T-shirt for this purpose.

Apply Automotive Degreaser

When you are ready to wash the engine, start by applying a degreaser. Apply the degreaser from a distance to ensure that it does not directly contact any electrical components or filters within the engine compartment itself.

After applying this, dampen a towel with clean water and wash away all the degreaser traces from your engine. Once you have done so, dry the engine with a second towel to prevent rusting of any metal parts of your car engine.

There are different types of degreasers on the market today which you can use for washing your vehicle. However, we recommend that you use an approved automotive degreaser as these products work well and remove any grease and grime from your engine’s metal.

Click here to see Chemical Guys degreaser on Amazon.

Apart from protecting the metal parts of your engine against rusting, another benefit to washing your car engine with an automotive degreaser is these products make it easier for the different engine components to move. This improves performance and ensures that the engine continues to start and run smoothly even after washing.

Car care

Hand Dry Engine and Hand Clean Electrical Components

After you have finished washing your engine, you should hand dry the various parts of your vehicle. Ensure that you use a clean towel and remove any excess dirt from different electrical components such as the battery or filters within the engine compartment itself.

In addition, if you own a high horsepower car or a fast sports car, you should also use a towel to dry the engine in the same way as described above. However, with high horsepower and sports cars, you must remove all traces of water from your car’s intake manifold and throttle body.

Finally, once you have finished hand drying your engine and removing any excess dirt from electrical components such as the battery, you can start cleaning your car’s intake manifold and throttle body. Again, depending on the type of engine you have installed in your vehicle, there are specific tools that you can use for this purpose.

Is it safe to wash your car engine at the car wash? 

It is safe to wash your car engine at a car wash if you are doing it yourself. For example, if you follow the steps above and use a manual car wash, your engine will benefit from the wash.

Be sure not to get the power sprayer too closer to the engine and its components when spraying. Power sprays have severe pressure and can strip away metal or even break electrical components.

If you don’t want to wash your car engine yourself, it is better to take it to a professional detail shop. They will know how to clean the engine with a proper degreaser and cover the fragile electrical parts.

How do I dry my engine after washing it?

It would be best if you used a clean and dry towel to wipe the metal parts of your engine. This will prevent rusting and keep your car engine running smoothly. Do not let your engine air dry.

The water drying on the metal can cause rust to form. Be sure your engine is completely dry before driving it. If there is a substantial amount of water on the engine and you drive it, the excess water could also cause rust.

Hand of a man holding a blue cloth caring, maintenance car and cleaning And engine car room

Is it bad to put water on a hot engine?

It is not advisable to spray water on a hot engine. If you have just driven the car, then wait for it to cool off before washing it. A general rule of thumb is that it isn’t safe to wash if you can feel any heat coming from the engine.

If you have just washed your engine, allow some time to dry it naturally instead of spraying water over its metal parts. Water on a hot engine can cause damage due to damage due to corrosion.

Is it bad if the alternator gets wet?

The alternator is one of the essential components of your engine. It helps to keep all electrical and moving parts running smoothly. However, if it gets wet or drenched in water, its performance will be affected, leading to an alternator failure.

If you suspect that your car’s alternator has been damaged through contact with water, then you should take it to a professional and have it checked. The alternator is not easy to replace and can be very expensive.

Engine Wash

What is a good engine cleaner?

A good engine cleaner must be strong enough to remove oil, grime, and dirt built up on your car’s engine. You should also ensure that it can clean the various parts of your vehicle, including the metal chassis.

One of the most straightforward and multi-purpose engine cleaners is Simple Green. The nice thing about Simple Green is that it is made with an eco-friendly formula. As a result, Simple Green is excellent for heavy dirt and grime. In addition, it can be used inside your household with no risk of chemicals!

Click here to see Simple Green on Amazon.

How Often Should You Wash Your Engine?

car engine washing close-up. car wash worker apply detergent on car engine. the mechanic's hand holds a spray bottle with detergent over the engine.

The frequency of cleaning your engine will depend on the climate in which you live. If your car is exposed to lots of dirt, dust, and grime, then you must clean your car’s engine more often.

If you live in an area where road salt is present, then be sure to keep track of any rust or corrosion. Salt is one of the most dangerous things for a car engine. It can erode it and even cause parts to rust. So if you just went for a trip down a dirt road, for example, then on your way back into town, you should hit a car wash and spray out the engine compartment.

Final Thoughts

Overall, cleaning your engine is a vital part of increasing the lifespan of your vehicle. However, be sure to follow the steps in this article to avoid damaging any electrical parts or filters. In addition, always be sure your engine is in  excellent condition before washing it. Hopefully, this helps, and enjoy your clean engine!

If you like this article, you should also read:

How Fast Does Fuel Injector Cleaner Work?

How To Clean A Catalytic Converter

Do Fuel Injector Cleaners Expire?

Leave a Reply