How to Clean and Protect Your Engine

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How to Clean and Protect Your Engine

Peugeot 207 engine after cleaning


First up why would you want to do an engine detail, after all who is going to see it under the bonnet anyway?  Well if you have a show car a clean well presented engine bay is a must, if you have a car you’re proud of a clean engine bay will really set it off.  On another point it also makes it easier to spot leaks and its cleaner to work around making your mechanic’s day brighter.  All engines are different some are dirtier than others, some older ones have exposed electrics and electrical connections and some you wonder how they managed to fit it in in the first place.  So I’m going to give you a basic process for how to clean your engine bay that you can adjust to suite your circumstances.

Peugeot 207 engine before cleaning

Products and Tools

OK HSE isn’t just a pain it’s a necessary evil and you should be wearing gloves for this job as you don’t want to get the products or oil and grease on your skin as it can be absorbed into the body.

So what will we need?

  • Gloves
  • Old microfiber towels (I recycle towels that I won’t use on paint anymore through interior – glass – wheel – engine bay duties)
  • All Purpose Cleaner (APC) mixed 1 to 4
  • Degreaser
  • Hose or power washer
  • Plastic bags & elastic bands
  • Tin foil
  • Plastic/rubber dressing
  • Brushes

Peugeot 207 engine after cleaning


Allow the engine to cool if it is warm as the product will dry on before you are able to clean it off defeating the purpose and causing staining.

Now you need to clean out any leaves and debris you see, I have a long handled paint brush with tape over the metal end that I use for the hard to reach places at the bottom of the engine.  Cover up your alternator and fuse box with plastic bags and secure them with an elastic band, if you have a cone air filter do the same.  If this is an older car you will also need to cover the distributor in the same way.  Use the tin foil to cover any electrical plugs you see.

Cleaning the Engine

Liberally cover everything in APC, leave it to dwell (not dry out) then use one of your brushes to agitate it, do not forget the tracks at the inner wings and the scuttle panel.  Leave the underside of the bonnet for now as it will only drip all over you.

Gently hose of the product stay away from sensitive parts of the engine, my pressure washer works with just water pressure and not switched on, it produces a finer jet that can safely be used around door jams and in the engine.

Now use your degreaser product to remove the rest of the gunge it is the same process as before, spray, brush wash off.  If this is a new car it may still have traces of transport wax on it.  Your solvent tar and glue remover (Tardis) will sort this out.

Now you have the engine clean remember about the underside of the bonnet, start at the back and work to the front so you don’t get dripped on.  When you are rinsing the product off be careful not to saturate the insulation material.

N.B. If this is an extremely valuable or older vehicle using a hose around the engine bay may not be advisable, in this case you can use spray bottles filled with water to rinse or steam from your steam cleaner in place of water.

Now be sure to dry everything and remove all the plastic bags, elastic bands and tin foil prior to dressing.

Dressing the Engine

Dressing wise you have a few options the first is a water based product and the second being a ceramic coating, both are excellent and will last a long time.

  • 303 Aerospace protectant
  • Gyeon Cancoat

I don’t see the benefit in using Gtechniq C4 Permanent Trim Restorer or Gyeon Q2 Trim over Q2 Cancoat as this is an excellent product at a fraction of the price.  It goes on easily and lasts a long time.  I don’t really need to labour the point on how to apply these products to plastic as they are wipe on wipe off.

Just remember not to use any of the towels you use on the engine on the rest of the car, keep them for dirty jobs now.


This is a pretty simple task so long as you prepare for it, above all make sure you have properly covered all your sensitive components first before getting water near them.  Also if you do spray product onto the paint clean it off before it dries and discolours the paint.  If you need any further help or assistance please get in touch we are a mobile detailing and valeting business based near Magherafelt N Ireland and are happy to help, we will also be more than happy to complete this job for you should you wish.



  1. Darren says:

    Nice Guide , Thanks!

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