Take Control of a Key Maintenance Procedure for a More Effective, Long-Lasting Vehicle
Believe it or not, you don’t need to be a car expert or a trained technician – or even a gearhead – to clean underneath your car’s hood. If you’re good at cleaning your home, there are only a few extra things you need to know to learn how to clean under your vehicle’s hood.
While any new car for sale in Houston or elsewhere is going to be spotless and in mint condition, you want to keep it that way by performing regular maintenance that is far more affordable to DIY than working with an expensive auto repair shop.
This guide is here to help you get started, covering all of the materials, steps, and procedures you’ll need to get the job done right. Follow along as you work, or bookmark and print this guide out for when you need it!
The Materials You’ll Need for the Job
When you’re getting ready to clean underneath your hood, a few items will help a great deal.
These are the key items you’ll need to make sure you’re doing an effective job:
- A leaf blower
- Trash bags
- Duct tape
- A socket
- A hard brush from an auto care store
- A garden hose
- A microfiber towel
- A degreaser, as well as an engine protection product
Most of these items are already in your home, basement, or garage, and the rest can be picked up at an auto care store. This is all you need to do a great job underneath the hood of your car.
How to Do the Job Like a Pro: Steps and Procedures
Now that you have the materials you need, here are the steps you need to take. You’ll impress your neighbors, and most certainly keep your car in pristine condition – and it’s really not all that hard to do.
Step 1: Make sure your engine is cooled down. You don’t want to put a hand on a hot engine, so – for safety’s sake – make sure your engine is fully cooled down. Also, some parts under your hood could break if they’re still hot while you’re trying to scrub them.
Step 2: Clear out all the obvious gunk and debris. If it’s been a while since you had your hood popped and cleaned, pull out all the gunk that’s collected there. There may be leaves, dirt, and other grime that needs to be cleared out first. To make it easy, use the leaf blower here, and blow it all out.
Step 3: Protect your driveway. As you start to degrease and clean, liquid is going to run out underneath your car. Place a heap of rags underneath the engine to collect all the run-off. Or, you can use a drip pan. A turkey roasting pan or a “real” drip pan from an auto store will work. The important thing is that there’s no drippings on your driveway at the end of the job.
Step 4: Cover sensitive equipment. There are certain parts of the car that you don’t want to get water or any cleaning solution on. These parts need to be covered with the plastic trash bags you have. You can secure them in place with duct tape. Essentially, you’re looking for any part under the hood that has holes where water can get in – or any electronic parts.
Look for wires, electrical connections, and openings. Wherever you see exposed wires you should definitely protect them with plastic. None of these areas should be exposed to water or cleaning products. Also, look for your distributor cap and filters. Cover these as well. If you’re not sure where or what these are, simply look at some images online or refer to your driver’s manual.
Step 5: Unhook your battery. With your socket, loosen the nuts on the battery cable, and take both of the cables off of the battery. Start with the negative cable. Then, take off the positive cable. To avoid being shocked, don’t let the positive cable touch any metal. This should all be done with great care.
Step 6: Now you can degrease! Start with the engine and any other surface that is covered with oil, grime, grease, and debris. Scrub thoroughly with a degreasing product.
Step 7: Wash it all down with your hose. Carefully use your hose to get rid of all the water, ensuring you’re not getting excess water into the areas you covered with the plastic trash bags.
Step 8: Dry off all water with your leaf blower. You can air dry, of course, but you can get the job done faster – and avoid getting any water on parts that could be damaged – if you use a leaf blower.
Step 9: Apply your engine protection product. Take off the plastic bags, and apply a generous coating of engine protectant to all rubber, hoses, surfaces, and plastic. However, be careful not to apply this product to the sensitive areas that you originally covered, such as electronic parts.
Step 10: Remove rags from underneath your car and replace all disconnected parts. The last step is making sure you’ve connected all parts you’ve disconnected – such as your battery cables – with your socket. Make sure you’ve secured them tightly. Then, take your rags away and discard them (or use them for a future job if they’re not too saturated).
Now you’re all set, and your engine should be completely cleaned. Congratulations! You’ve just extended the life of your vehicle and engine, especially if you complete this process regularly.
Remember, if there is any step you’re stuck on, feel free to look up videos online that can help you locate parts and get the right techniques down for prepping, disconnecting parts, and even scrubbing effectively.
Regardless, you’re on the right track to saving money by avoiding more costly repairs or cleanings from an auto repair shop. Best of all, now you can say you “work on your car,” even if you don’t consider yourself a “car person.”