How to Steam Clean a Truck Engine How to Steam Clean a Truck Engine

What You'll Need
Hot water steam cleaner
Cleaning cloth
Engine degreaser
Rubber bands
Plastic bags
Metal wax

It is advised that drivers clean their truck engine every 3 to 5 years. As well as preserving engine condition, regular cleaning helps remove the build-up of mold, salt and traffic grime. A clean engine will also help you to easily spot early signs of corrosion, leakage or engine wear. Cleaning a truck engine is a task that can be easily completed yourself.

Step 1 - Using the Right Equipment

A hot water steam cleaner is an advanced washer which uses very little water compared to a standard pressure washer. Washing your truck engine using a conventional pressure washer is regarded as a bad idea by most mechanics as the high level of water used actually promotes rust and degradation under the bonnet. A hot water steam cleaner produces a low-pressure mist that removes dirt in a safe and effective manner.

Step 2 - Checking the Engine Temperature

Ensure that the truck engine has been turned off for at least one hour before cleaning begins. Working with a steam cleaner on a hot engine may result in a cracked cylinder head and other associated damage. Additionally, serious burns may be suffered if working on a hot truck engine. In order to determine whether the engine is sufficiently cool, hold your hand six inches away from the engine. If excessive heat is still being generated, leave the truck to cool down for a while longer. Ideally, the engine itself should be warm to the touch to be at the perfect cleaning temperature.

Step 3 - Preparing the Engine Bay

Spray the main areas of the engine with your engine degreaser. This will help to free up most of the grime stuck to the surface of the engine. Use plastic bags and rubber bands to cover up some of the more sensitive areas of the engine such as the coil, air intake vents and the electrical housing. It is highly important to note that excessive exposure to the jet of a steam cleaner can result in the electronic failure on modern vehicles. This can occur when electronic sensors underneath the bonnet become corroded and this can be easily avoided by correctly sealing all electronic housings before steam cleaning your truck engine.

Step 4 - Steaming and Drying

Connect the steam cleaner to a nearby power source and allow to heat. Once the heat setting light appears as 'ready' on the control panel of the steam cleaner, begin spraying steam onto the engine surface. Be sure to apply the jet from a safe distance to avoid backsplashing of steam onto your face. Additionally, spraying the jet to close to the engine as may damage components.

Remember to bend low and work the jet underneath the engine chassis and wheelarches. Ensure the engine is thoroughly rinsed of loose debris and degreaser. The engine bay and component can be wiped clean with a dry cloth to finish.

Step 5 - Finishing

Now that the truck engine is clean, you may wish you apply a metallic wax to metal components in the engine bay, especially to those showing early signs of corrosion. You can also apply protectant to the rubber hosing components if required and these precautionary procedures will help to maintain engine longevity. Remember to remove all rubber bands and plastic bags before driving off.

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