When was the last time you cleaned your diesel engine? While your vehicle’s diesel engine boasts lower emissions and better fuel economy, it needs regular cleaning.
Failing to clean your vehicle’s engine bay may increase the risk of a fire breakout. Most of the vehicle fires reported in the US begin with engine problems. These fires lead to nearly seven fatalities each week and property damage worth $1.1 billion every year.
Cleaning helps remove debris that collects in the engine bay and increases fuel efficiency. Engine maintenance reduces wear and tear and increases the engine’s lifespan. Here’s how to clean a diesel engine like an expert:
Remove Debris Stuck in the Grill or Under the Hood
Use a brush to sweep out dirt and debris trapped under the grill and hood. You can also pull larger sticks and leaves in the compartment by hand.
With time, mud and dirt from off-road adventures or puddles may enter the engine bay. Engine oil may also explode from the hoses or leak from the gaskets.
The compartment may also be filled with coolant, brake fluid, and transmission fluid residues. Carefully remove these residues before you start cleaning the bay.
Warm up the Engine
Run your vehicle’s engine for five to ten minutes to loosen up the oil and grease stuck in it. While the engine is running, hot air will fill up the compartment and melt any oil residues. The fuel pump will prime the engine as you carry out this procedure.
If your car has ignition problems, consult an engine maintenance specialist. Have a detailed history of when the problem started for the specialist to fix it.
A car that is used to regular servicing will warm up faster. You’ll see steam rising from the engine compartment to indicate that the engine is producing heat.
Cover the Parts Under the Hood
Use a plastic bag to cover the sensors, air intake, power steering filler, and alternator. Rubber bands can help you secure them in place before you start cleaning. These parts need to be covered since they are sensitive to spray cleaning.
Your owner’s manual can help you locate these parts if you don’t know where they are. You can also carefully wrap them in aluminum foil for added protection. Unlike a plastic bag, aluminum foil will fit well and is cheaper.
Ask an engine maintenance expert for help if the engine has electrical connection problems. That’s because you risk getting electrocuted when trying to cover the engine’s electrical panel.
Apply the Engine Degreaser
Engine degreasers can either be water or solvent-based, depending on the task you need to accomplish. Use a solvent-based degreaser since it will cut through the oil residues and work faster. Ensure that the product is biodegradable before buying it.
If you’re sensitive to a strong solvent smell, get a water-based degreaser instead. You can get an engine degreaser from your local auto parts store or online.
Apply the engine degreaser from the bottom up and let it sit for three to five minutes. Spray it inside the hood and across the engine for better outcomes. You can allow it to sit for long if the engine is extremely dirty.
Wear protective gloves when carrying out this task to avoid staining your hands. Be careful not to spray the degreaser on your eyes or nose to avoid irritation.
Scrub the Degreased Parts
Use a brush with a long handle when scrubbing the engine surface. Wear goggles for eye protection and use a plastic cover to secure the electrical components to prevent electric shock.
Scrub in a circular motion and repeat the entire exercise to remove dirt and grease from the engine completely. You should also stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines on engine cleaning as you carry out this step.
Be careful not to remove the aluminum foil or plastic bag covering your engine’s sensitive parts. Reinforce the cover if it breaks or slips aside when scrubbing the engine.
Rinse the Engine
Though a high-pressure spray can help in cleaning, it doesn’t pair well with the fragile parts of an engine. Pressure washing may also interfere with your engine’s electrical connections and panels. Use a garden hose for a gentle flow of water to wash off grime and grit.
Brush the dirt and oil residue with a soft bristle brush to detangle them when rinsing the engine. Repeat the procedure until all grime and grit are removed.
Ensure that the aluminum foil used to cover sensitive parts is still intact. You wouldn’t want water to get to the electrical panels or the air intake. Water interference may make it difficult for the engine to start when you want to use your vehicle.
Let the Engine Dry Out
Use a dry rag to dry the water in the engine bay for the cleaning process to be complete. You can also blast compressed air in the bay to dry it off. This procedure also helps you remove any remaining grit or grime.
Avoid using direct heat in this step since the engine’s synthetic products may melt. Heat may also interfere with the engine and transmission. Refer to your car’s manual on how to dry off the engine if you are unsure of what to use.
Rub the rag on the engine bay until all the areas around the sensor systems and ignition are dry. A water dispersant can help you clear any water traces in the connections and contacts.
Need Expert Engine Maintenance Services?
You are now equipped with the engine maintenance techniques that will help you clean your diesel engine like a pro. Clean your diesel engine regularly depending on the road conditions and climate in your area. You should also take the vehicle to an auto specialist for servicing to extend its lifespan.
We are a reputable diesel performance company targeting diesel vehicle owners like you. Our services include diesel truck care, brakes, electrical services, 4×4 services, and heating and cooling services. Reach out to our diesel performance specialists for a quote today.