Electric parts and devices don’t like to be wet, so is it safe to spray your engine with water? Cleaning the engine bay is a hard part of the detailing job but the result will be satisfying. In this article, I’ll show you how safe it is to wash the engine bay with water and tips for doing it.
Table of Contents
Why Do We Need to Keep the Engine Clean?
A clean engine not only enhances the aesthetics of your vehicle but also prolongs its lifespan. It helps maintain optimal engine temperature, preventing the accumulation of dirt, debris, and oil residues that can hinder the engine’s performance. Regular cleaning removes contaminants and ensures efficient airflow, promoting better fuel combustion and reducing the risk of engine problems.
Is It Safe to Spray Your Engine with Water?
Yes, if you own a modern car, it is absolutely OK to spray your engine bay with water. The engine and its parts are waterproof and paint-coated for rust protection, so the car is safe against water and dirt.
However, for older cars like 1990s models, there’s obviously no such thing as a waterproof engine. The mechanical and electrical parts are still exposed to dirt and water. You’ll need to find other ways to clean your car and engine as it will be difficult to see its finish if it is not clean.
If the engine fails due to wetness and humidity, the repair cost will be excessive. Thus, if you’re unsure whether your engine bay is waterproof, cover the suspicious parts. Some parts you should pay attention to are the alternator, the battery, or the exposed air filter.
Can I Pressure Wash My Engine Bay?
Another common question is whether you can use a pressure washer to wash your engine bay. This is also a tricky question. If you’re not sure whether your engine is waterproof, please don’t do it. Even if the car is new and you think it can take a pressure wash, there are still some parts that should be covered for additional protection.
If the exposed parts are completely covered with other parts like plastic shields, then you can use a pressure washer for most parts of your engine bay. I recommend you not to use the pressure washer with more than 2000 PSI.
Helpful Tips for Washing the Engine Bay with Water
#1 Fix all small leaks
Before washing, check if you have any leaks on your coolant pipes or radiator cap. If there’s a leak, you might want to repair it before cleaning. Don’t forget to always wear gloves when you wash your vehicle.
#2 Cover some parts
Some parts need to be covered when cleaning an engine. In addition to the three parts above, you should also cover the exposed part of the air filter, spark plugs, and non-original wiring because water can get inside and destroy them.
#3 Use proper water pressure
All essential parts are covered with plastic shields, so spray water from a good height. Water pressure shouldn’t be too strong as your engine bay can be damaged otherwise. Don’t spray water directly on the engine block or any other exposed areas as you may damage it.
#4 Use the right cleaners
If your car is not too dirty, don’t use any abrasive cleaners. Just use warm water and a sponge to remove dirt and grime. When the situation gets worse, you can buy some cleaning products such as all-purpose cleaners ( for moderate levels) or engine degreasers ( for very dirty and oily engines)
How to Clean Your Engine Bay with Water?
When you wash the engine bay with water, make sure that no water gets in the electrical parts. So if you wash the body, make sure to use a sponge or a sprayskirt to protect all electrical parts. If you don’t have these tools, then it’s easy to get confused. You can just put everything in a plastic bag and leave it like that after washing.
A simple carwash will do as well if done properly so this method is quite simple too. Before washing the engine bay, you should clean the engine bay first. In my experience, you can use warm water and a sponge to remove dirt and grime. Alternatively, you can use a pressure washer to wash your car. The Meguiar’s G18216 Ultimate Engine Cleaner is the best choice for this job because it has excellent cleaning performance even for the most stubborn dirt and grime.
Don’t forget to cover all exposed parts!
After washing, drying is important too. This is particularly important if you wash with water because water will leave some moisture on your engine bay after drying. The moisture can damage the paint coat if you don’t dry it quickly. So when you’re done washing and drying, leave the engine bay wet and wait until it dries. Do not use a car drier because this will damage your engine bay.
Check out this video for how to wash your engine!
Alternative Methods for Engine Cleaning
If you are still concerned about using water, there are alternative methods for cleaning the engine. Some car enthusiasts opt for dry cleaning techniques using specialized cleaning products, brushes, and compressed air.
These methods are effective in removing dirt and grime without the need for water. However, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use products specifically designed for engine cleaning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it necessary to clean the engine regularly?
Regular engine cleaning is recommended to prevent dirt buildup and maintain optimal performance.
Can water damage the electrical components in the engine?
Yes, spraying water directly on electrical components can cause damage. Proper precautions should be taken to avoid water entry into sensitive areas.
What should I do if water enters the engine during cleaning?
If water enters the engine accidentally, it’s best to consult a professional mechanic to assess any potential damage.
Are there any specific engine cleaners I should use?
It is advisable to use engine cleaners and degreasers specifically formulated for automotive use to ensure safe and effective cleaning.
How often should I clean my engine?
The frequency of engine cleaning depends on various factors, including driving conditions and environmental factors. As a general guideline, cleaning the engine every 6 to 12 months is recommended.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article about cleaning your engine with water. With some precautions, you can now wash your car without worry and worry about damage to your engine bay.
When you wash an engine, cover all its exposed parts: air filter, alternator, battery, and more! Also, be careful when using a pressure washer, as you could damage it.
Hi everyone, My name is Ollie Barker.
As a seasoned auto expert I have 25 years of experience working in repair and detailing shops. I love to share my tips & tricks to all car lovers, so that’s why I’m here at Automotive Gearz publishing my content, sharing my passion. Also, I’ve been giving my recommendations on which products are the best to have on the market. I always thought it was hard to pick the right part, so hopefully I can make that a bit easier for you.
Hope you enjoy your time on my little blog!