Here I tackled the heavily soiled engine bay of a 15 year old 16v Mitsubishi Colt which I suspect hadn’t seen so much as an oily rag for years. While the finished results were far from perfect due to areas of rust and corrosion, they do illustrate the vast improvements that can be made on even the muckiest and most neglected of engine bays with a little elbow grease!
I chose to go with a thorough pre-foam to begin with and while this isn’t essential it can be a great all-encompassing way of lifting light dirt from every surface of the engine bay prior to degreasing.
And before anybody asks it’s no more risky than wetting an engine with a hosepipe or pressure washer, so long as the sensitive areas are covered you’re completely safe to snow foam!
While you could rinse the foam straight off, I chose to agitate it with a couple of soft bristled detailing brushes to help the process along.
This EZ Detail Brush is an essential tool when undertaking a thorough engine bay clean as it reaches deeply into areas that may otherwise be missed.
Following agitation with the brushes, I went on to a thorough pre-rinse to remove the foam and the first layer of dirt that it had now softened. While the rinsing needs to be thorough you should also keep the jet of water moving to ensure that you don’t inadvertently drive water into any sensitive areas.
In between pre-rinsing and degreasing you may want to let the engine dry off a little so that you’re not spraying the product onto a soaking wet engine bay and potentially diluting its cleaning power.
I used Autosmart G101, a staple all purpose cleaning product diluted 1:10 with water but any all purpose cleaner or engine bay degreasing product would work perfectly. The key is to apply it liberally, you don’t want to be shy with your degreaser as every surface needs to have an adequate coating of the chemical.
Once applied, I started to work the cleaner in from top to bottom with a range of soft bristled detailing brushes.
Here’s a closer view of the plush EZ Detail Brush working the degreaser into the more awkward areas of the engine bay.
A standard soft bristled detailing brush was used to lift dirt from the rocker cover, as well as any other easily accessible flat facing surfaces.
Once some time had been spent thoroughly working the cleaner in I gave the underside of the bonnet and the entire engine bay one final rinse off, again being thorough but keeping the stream of water continuously moving.
The best way to dress an engine is when it’s still wet so after rinsing I liberally sprayed all surfaces with Autosmart Finish, a water based cleaner dressing but a product like 303 Aerospace Protectant or Meguiars Hyper Dressing would also be perfect for this.
I then worked the dressing into awkward areas with a clean dry detailing brush before thoroughly wiping down any flat surfaces with a dry microfibre towel.
Now it’s worth spending some time here to ensure that the dressing is thoroughly worked into all areas and adequately buffed off to give that uniform shine and finish.
Finally, I accentuated a few choice features with a more glossy durable dressing product using a microfibre applicator pad. Any dressing product designed to be used on the exterior of a vehicle would be perfect for this.
Once all areas were dressed, I removed the various pieces of plastic applied earlier. You could at this point if you wished use a damp microfibre towel to clean and dress those previously covered areas so that they don’t look unfinished in comparison to the rest of the engine bay.
And that was that! Aside from a final quick buff to collect ay remaining drips and residue thats all that is required to bring even the most mucky of engines back to a clean and tidy looking standard.
Full write up here.