Car engine cleaning is one of those areas of auto care and detailing that is full of bad and misleading information. Many people are stuck in the past with techniques of how to clean their car engine that are largely based on cars of old, versus cars built using new technology.
The engines of today's modern cars are vastly different than the cars built 20+ years ago. From the many "how to clean a car engine" video's on YouTube, to the many posts made within car forums, it is an area that is often over-complicated with bad information from misinformed people to the point where most people are afraid to clean their cars engine due to hyped up concern and fear.
While I have many customers in my professional world who never give their car engines a second thought, I personally think that detailing should extend to all areas of a car; including cleaning under the hood.
Dirty Car Engine
Clean Car Engine
"Which of the car engines above would you rather see when opening the hood of your car? Which engine do you think would be treated with more respect from your auto mechanic?"
I am often asked by my long term followers the following:
"Darren, just tell me what you would do!"
I also know from experience that this often comes from a place of personal frustration from people just like yourself.
People who are confused and frustrated by the endless opinions fro the endless so-called experts. And for this reason I am going to lay out exactly what I use and what I do to detail the engine of the not just my own cars, but the cars of my customers.
Simple Green 19128 Crystal Industrial Cleaner/Degreaser, 1 Gallon Bottle
Darren's Note: I have been using this Simple Green product and their other cleaners for years now. I have really fallen in love with the many products they produce. I used Meguiar's Super Degreaser for years and while it was very effective, it was always hard on my skin and my lungs as I breathed in the fumes when using the Super Degreaser.
Bar5F Empty Plastic Spray Bottles 32 oz, Chemical Resistant, Professional, Heavy Duty, Fully Adjustable Head Sprayer, Pack of 3 (Grey)
Smith 190285 1-Gallon Bleach and Chemical Sprayer for Lawns and Gardens or Cleaning Decks, Siding, and Concrete
Chemical Guys ACC_G09 Body and Wheel Flagged Tip Short Handle Brush
Chemical Guys ACC_G01 20" Long Handle Body/Wheel Brush with Flagged-Tip Bristles (Angled Head), , 1 Pack
While I believe most people can appreciate the value of car engine cleaning and the end results, there are varying opinions as to whether to put an engine dressing onto your freshly detailed car engine.
I get the reservations you may have and accept that engine dressing is not for everyone. Anyone that actually drives dirt roads or uses their car/truck/SUV for off-road use will definitely have a negative opinion on this subject.
So with that said, let me apply my perspective on the subject.
Darren's Note: People have this opinion that applying an engine dressing will actually attract more dirt into your car engine bay. The reality is that it will not create this magnetic charge that will truly "attract" additional dirt to your car engine. Since you have degreased your car engine and now have applied a dressing that enhances all the components of your car engine, any new dirt will be more visible or apparent since it is now collecting on a very shiny engine.
With that said, there are different dressings you can apply to your car engine to make it shiny and fabulous, and some of these dressings are heavy with silicone's and solvent based ingredients that make them rather "sticky" and greasy. Any new dirt will in fact cling to your engine and the endless components better than an engine that has not been dressed. But once again, this is one of the reasons I recommend the engine dressings I do on this page.
These dressings are not overly greasy or heavy with solvents. So each time you clean or degrease your engine, the dirt and dressing will be cleaned away for any new application of an engine dressing.
Stoner Car Care 91034 Trim Shine Protectant - 12-Ounce
Darren's Note: The simple and easiest approach to dressing your car engine after you are done with car engine cleaning is to use the aerosol dressing above. But to be more economical, you can get a liquid dressing like this Nu Tyre Lotion from CSI. Since this is the exact tire dressing I use for my tires, along with the dressing I use for any other applications (both interior and exterior), it makes economical sense to simply use it to dress my engine with this product if I am looking to save money by not having to buy a separate dressing like the aerosol dressing from above.
Darren's Professional Tips:
When car engine cleaning, there will always be heated debate as to whether to apply some form of engine dressing to your car engine after you have degreased and cleaned it.
Use the following guidelines to help you make a decision:
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