How to detail your engine

10 July 2018 / Lindleys Autocentres

Detailing your engine may not be something you're familiar with. Often buried in with other service work, it can seem like a large task. However, if done right the process can be fairly simple and we feel that the benefits are worth the effort. A clean engine bay will improve the lifespan of your engine and can, in fact, increase your car’s value when it is time to sell.

Preparing for the job

A quick note on water: Whilst its common to think that any water at all is harmful to your engine. However, this is not strictly the case. So long as you avoid getting water on electrical components or inside the engine itself and other working parts, you're fine. Therefore its okay to use a controlled amount of water to rinse off areas you've been cleaning.

Before we get started, make sure your engine is cool. NEVER attempt to clean your engine while it is still hot, as there is a higher risk of you getting burned. As well as this, heat can cause unwanted reactions with cleaning chemicals.

Wrap any electrical parts and cover openings to internal parts using aluminium foil. This will protect against any water damage. If you ensure no tears occur, foil is 100% waterproof and safe enough to use on modern engines. If you are unsure of what type of hose you should use, a high-pressure washer is better off being used by an individual who has lots of practice, as you can cause damage if used incorrectly. A regular hose sprayed at a high angle is the preferred option for beginners.


  1. After your initial rinse, spray the degreaser all over your engine bay avoiding the bumper and wings. Leave to work for 10-15 minutes and occasionally use a soft brush to help any stubborn areas. The degreaser will loosen up the grime allowing it to be ready for the rinsing stage.

  2. During the rinse stage, use a normal hose with a wide angle attachment or the pressure washer at the lowest setting. Make sure you are rinsing thoroughly but for no longer than necessary.

  3. Remove foil and start your engine. Do not leave on too long as it will affect the surface dressing.

  4. Using a microfiber towel, go over the surface and ensure everything has dried thoroughly before following up with a microfibre pad to rub in surface or tyre dresser into rubber hoses.

  5. Restore any plastic engine covers and components with a trim restorer or a surface dressing, then polish any metal components.

  6. Finally, clean any painted surfaces with a shampoo and sealant. For more information on what shampoos are best suited for your car, check out our previous article on the best shampoos for your car.

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