The engine bay can get fairly dirty after a few years and there are many engine degreasers, cleaners and dressings to get it as good as new. Engine bay detailing should be taken with extreme care as there are many electrics and important components under the hood.
Using a regular car wash can remove some dirt from within the engine bay but the use of an engine bay degreaser will remove the tougher dirt for a cleaner look. Some car shampoos may leave the plastics (such as the engine covers) with water/soap spots whereas specific detailing products will not.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Engine Bay Degreaser and Cleaners
- 2 Griot’s Garage 11235 Engine Detailing Kit
- 3 Gunk FEB1 Foamy Engine Brite Degreaser
- 4 Chemical Guys All Purpose Super Cleaner
- 5 WD-40 300076 Specialist Foaming Engine Degreaser
- 6 Meguiar’s D10801 Super Degreaser
- 7 AutoGlym VRC500US Engine Bay Dresser
- 8 303 Aerospace Protectant For Engine Bay Dressing
- 9 How To Wash Car Engine Bays Safely
Best Engine Bay Degreaser and Cleaners
|Engine Bay Detailer||Degreaser||Dressing|
|Griot’s Garage 11235||Yes||Yes|
|Chemical Guys Super Cleaner||Yes||No|
|303 Aerospace Protectant||No||Yes|
A vehicles engine is more than likely the most expensive part of the car. The majority of people that clean their engine bay will usually have an impressive engine that they want to show off. This can include chrome pieces, vibrant colored hoses and other unique features.
Some engine bays, particularly in muscle car will have lots of chrome. Many top chrome polish products will be able to remove the tough dirt from the engine bay but it will still need to be degreased beforehand.
Cleaning the engine bay is a delicate process and should be cleaned with care. There is no need to clean it each time you wash your car as it is covered by the hood. Using the best engine bay cleaners will ensure it stays cleaner for longer. The best products to use for detailing your engine bay are featured below.
Griot’s Garage 11235 Engine Detailing Kit
Griot’s Garage have a great deal with their engine bay degreaser and dressing for the perfect finish. Its as simple as following the engine bay cleaning guide below and getting the factory finish by applying the dressing to restore the color and shine.
The degreaser fights both light and hard dirt ready for the dressing. The engine bay dressing gives the rubber and plastics a satin black finish which looks great for when you are displaying your hard work at a car show.
Overall, as a complete car engine bay detailing kit, the Griot’s Garage has the best value for money out of the products in this article and highly rated throughout the car community.
Gunk FEB1 Foamy Engine Brite Degreaser
Gunk have a range of products that deal with degreasing engine bays to garage floors. The DEB1 Foamy Engine Brite Degreaser is very popular worldwide with great results. As mentioned in the product name, it is foam based that clings to dirt, dust and road grime to safely remove it.
The Gunk formula is safe to use on plastics, rubber and paint and is proven to be one of the toughest cleaners on the market for over 55 years. It is that powerful, there is no need to rub the solution into the dirt, just wait 15 minutes and hose/wipe it down.
I personally used this on a Volkswagen Golf TDi with over 100,000 miles on that has never seen any detailing products under the hood. The foam removed 90% of dirt with the other 10% needing a bit of elbow grease due to being very hard dirt.
Overall, it is a cheap and powerful engine bay degreaser that can removes almost all dirt hassle free.
Chemical Guys All Purpose Super Cleaner
At ProCarReviews, we are huge fans of the Chemical Guys detailing products as they are specialized for each purpose and offer great value for money. Their engine degreaser gives a great citrus smell and removes tough dirt with ease.
The All Clean+ is a natural cleaning formula with a hint of citrus that effectively removes tough dirt from any surface. Unlike the other products, it can also be used on the interior of your vehicle to also remove stains and odors.
Its most effective on engine bays and undercarriages for removing grime and tar upon contact. This Chemical Guys products takes the meaning of “All Purpose” to the next level and is defintley the best overall degreaser for all aspects of detailing.
WD-40 300076 Specialist Foaming Engine Degreaser
WD40 isn’t the first thing you would think of for engine bay detailing but they have a dedicated degreaser for the job. The normal WD40 is renowned for removing squeaking noises, lubricating components and much more but is this product is specific for degreasing.
If you find that under the hood is covered in oil, the WD40 may be the best oil remover to buy. It is a low residue foaming formula that will remove the toughest of defects at ease.
As with any WD40 spray, there is a dedicated nozzle that you can use to target hard to reach spots within the engine. I really like this feature as the other sprays do seem to cover all areas of the engine.
Meguiar’s D10801 Super Degreaser
Any detailing guides will always include a product from Meguiar’s and this article is no different. Their degreaser comes in a large container that you mix yourself for the designated strength. It is not marketed as an engine bay degreaser like the other products but more of an “all purpose” degreaser.
It is a free rinsing formula that prevents the residue left over that many other degreasers tend to leave. The Meguiar’s degreaser is only for exterior use, unlike the Chemical Guys product that can be used for both.
Many detailers swear by Meguiar’s products and from tests that we have carried out, both this and Chemical Guys degreasers work just as well on engine bays.
AutoGlym VRC500US Engine Bay Dresser
AutoGlym VRC500US is a rubber and vinyl dresser that works great on car engine bays. It is one of the best engine bay dressers for the money that provides a great shine but protects at the same time.
The formula has been developed to condition and protect to provide a protective layer against moisture, dust, stains and more. It can be used for both automotive and domestic use.
This engine bay dresser provides the most shine out of the others mentioned. The amount of shine is so much that it shouldn’t be used on car dashboards due to the reflection and glare.
303 Aerospace Protectant For Engine Bay Dressing
303 Aerospace Protectant is also an “all purpose” dresser that can be used for automotive and domestic use. If you are active on car forums like myself, you will notice this product being used and rated for engine bay detailing.
As mentioned on the bottle, it is an aerospace engineered detailer that makes vehicle applications a walk in the park. The finish is a protective layer that leaves a matte finish with zero oil residue. It must be used on clean surfaces only, therefore ensure you have used degreaser prior to the 303 aerospace protectant.
How To Wash Car Engine Bays Safely
As mentioned, cleaning the engine bay require a delicate touch with many horror stories being told online. The potential to damage expensive electrical components or split the wiring loom with powerful pressure washers used incorrectly is worrying.
However, the benefits of cleaning your engine bay include an increased sale price, easier to work on and obviously its more aesthetically pleasing.
Some hardcore detailers will probably disagree but personally I prefer not to use water as electrical sensors are not meant to be drenched in water and are often expensive to replace.
Below is the safest method of cleaning an engine bay without water:
- Prepare The Engine. With the engine cold, you will want to remove loose debris and cover electrical and delicate parts. These parts include air intakes, sensors, ignition wires and coils.
- Removed Baked Dirt. Due to the heat that an engine produces, the dirt can become “baked” on the engine. To remove this type of dirt, simply use a wired brush and remove the tough dirt.
- Apply Degreaser. Using a recommended engine bay degreaser above, spray down the work area and let the product get to work by leaving it for at least 30 seconds. You will then need to use the wired brush again and work in the degreaser to tough dirt.
- Dry The Cleaner. After the scrubbing of the degreaser, use a microfiber towel to remove the solution on your engine bay. The engine bay should be clean and ready for additional detailing products if required. Ensure that there are no pools of degreaser under hidden compartments or wires.
- Increase Shine and Protect. It is the best time to add additional shine and protection to the engine bay once degreased. Using the recommended detailing products mentioned in this article, spray onto the microfiber towel (A new one) and rub onto the engine bay. Avoid spraying directly because this can leave abrasive markings.
If you were to use water based methods, you would use a pressure washer on the widest setting to spray away the degreaser. The most important thing to remember is not to spray over the covered areas because the plastic you used will simply split leaving it exposed.
Personally, there is no need to use water as you will get the same results with or without water. You are just adding additional risk to your engine bay.