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Cleaning your engine bay -
5 min read Monday 06 March 2017

Cleaning your engine bay

When cleaning a car, it's easy to forget some bits. Obviously, I'm not talking about wheels or the boot; I'm talking about the engine. You might think that just because you don't sit bonnet-open at car shows, you don't need to ensure the engine is clean and tidy. Well, there's a bit more to it than that.

Detailing your engine is no larger a task than cleaning the rest of it. In fact, it's one of the easier parts of a car to detail.

And, to be quite honest, would you wash yourself in the shower but leave one leg? No, of course you wouldn't. If you're going to put the effort in in the first place, do a decent job of it. Many owners don't detail their engines because they're scared of damaging something, but modern cars and their bays are generally pretty well protected.

First things first, never detail a hot engine! It's generally easier to detail an engine that is mildly warm, purely because the contaminants are often easier to remove. You can simply turn the car on for 1 - 2 minutes just to get it a little warm, before you start your detail.

The next thing to do is cover up anything that probably shouldn't get wet. The air intakes, alternator, coil packs, Electronic Control Unit (ECU) and On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) and any electricals should all be taped up. The best thing for this is cover with a plastic bag, and masking tape or elastic band it up.

Before using any products, blast off the surfaces using a can of compressed air (or a hand brush), to get rid of any excess dirt.

Now it's onto the cleaning. Never use a petrol-based cleaner to do your engine bay, they've been known to deteriorate rubber and vinyl parts. We advise using Auto Finesse Verso, which is a chemically-gentle solution which works to cut through grease and grime quickly and effectively. Allow Verso to work for around 5 minutes - depending on the level of grease and dirt on the bay - and make sure you keep an eye on it throughout. You don't want it to dry out, for example. Then agitate the surface with a good detailing brush. Now that you've loosened off any embedded grime, hose down the entire engine compartment (it's best to use a hose without any pressure, so not to upset any of the taping up you previously did). The small amount of heat from the engine will help with the drying process, but use a microfibre to dry it off completely. If you leave the bay to just dry naturally, you'll end up with water spots. Remove the plastic bags, once the engine bay is dry, then wipe off any excess.

Now that the bay is dry, it's time to dress it and protect the plastic, rubber and vinyl surfaces under your bonnet. For dressing the engine bay, we suggest using our Dressle product. It's an all-purpose, liquid, dry-touch, dressing, that is water based, so is gentle for most surfaces. It can be sprayed directly on all surfaces, but we'd advise spraying onto a cloth or foam applicator pad first, before applying it to the engine bay.

It's important to note that Dressle should be left to cure for around 4-6 hours for full protection, so it's best not to do an engine detail if you need to go on long road trip right after.

Wipe up any excess after this curing time and that's it! Your bay will be looking fresh, clean and protected.

Auto Finesse top tips:

Auto Finesse Verso will remove any waxes that you've applied to the paint of your car. If you happen to spill any on fenders, or come across any overspray, then make sure to re-wax these parts.

Auto Finesse Dressle takes 4-6 hours to cure, for full protection.

Small amounts of water will not do damage to an engine bay, as it's designed to resist any excess moisture.

We advise to clean and protect your engine bay at least twice a year. Naturally, that'll be more frequent if you're one for opening the bonnet at shows.


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