How to Clean Engine Gunk
To clean your car's engine without getting dirty grease on your hands and clothes, learn how to clean engine surfaces where grease has collected. Here's an effective method you can complete in 5 easy steps.
Step 1 – Warm up Your Engine
You'll find that warm grease is much easier to remove than cold grease. To warm your engine, park your car in an outside spot away from house or garage walls you don't want to become splashed with flying engine gunk. On a flat and level surface, block the car's wheels or apply the foot brake to keep the car from rolling. Start the engine and let it run for 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 2 – Catch Falling Grease
While waiting for your engine to warm up, connect a trouble light to a power outlet at a safe distance from water that will be spraying near your car. Find a tray or large flat piece of cardboard and place it under your car's engine where it will catch any grease or dirt that drops. Place sand or another absorbent material on the tray to catch falling grease particles.
Step 3 – Protect Electrical Components
Hook your trouble light on the underside of the hood and turn it on. Wrap plastic sheeting or bags around electrical parts you want to keep dry, such as spark plug wires, alternator and electric wires. Cover everything that may be part of the car's electrical system. When in doubt, cover it up. Also cover any vents opening into your car's interior. Use duct tape or masking tape to keep the plastic sheeting from coming loose. Finally, unplug and move the trouble light to a safe distance where it won't get sprayed with water.
Step 4 – Spray Engine with Degreaser
Apply your degreaser to all parts of your engine that need to be cleaned. Start with surfaces closer to the bottom of the engine, then work your way to the top. When finished, wait 10 minutes for the grease to dissolve.
Step 5 – Remove Degreaser
While waiting for the degreaser to work, fetch a garden hose and a sprayer. When 10 minutes has passed, hose off all the degreaser in the engine compartment. When finished, use a towel to dry off wet engine surfaces, and then remove the protective plastic and tape.
While disposing of the tray, towel, plastic and tape, let your car engine run. Its heat will help dry off engine parts and allow you to better see your freshly cleaned engine.