Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


What is Car Engine Cleaner? - Vol.420

Your car engine is one of the most important parts of your car. So why do so many people neglect what's under the hood until something goes wrong?

Like all equipment, you have to go the extra step to maintain it. And sometimes that means making sure your engine is clean. There are a few ways to go about this.

One of the most popular is using car engine cleaning products. Keep reading to find out what they are and when to use one. Don't be embarrassed every time you lift the hood anymore. Instead, do something about it.

What are Car Engine Cleaners?
Most car supply stores carry car engine cleaning products. These cleaners make it a little easier to clean under the hood. But they aren't miracle solutions. The cleaning effectiveness may vary depending on the type and brand you buy.

Car engine cleaners generally come in two types:
- Spray
- Foam

One form isn't necessarily stronger or better than the other. The formulas vary, so feel free to pick the best type for your needs.

When to Use a Car Engine Cleaner
You're not required to clean your car engine, or to use an engine cleaner. However, people clean their engines for a variety of reasons, including:
- Making a good impression
- May improve resale value
- Can see small leaks easier
- May improve engine performance
- Slow down the wear and tear on the rubber hoses and plastic parts

Have you ever gone to a used car lot and checked under the hood? Most likely, the engine looked pristine. Clean engines give the impression that the car is well cared for, even if it isn't a true indicator of how well the engine runs.

Car Engine Cleaner or Degreaser
Are car engine cleaners and degreasers interchangeable? Yes, and no.

Walk into an auto supply store and you may see bottles separately labeled as "cleaner" or as a "degreaser." Some bottles may say both. But they aren't necessarily the same thing.

Car engine cleaners generally help you remove dirt, dust, and road grime from your engine. Some formulas are designed for general use, while others are supposed to be used on specific parts of your engine. Some are also designed for particular vehicle types.

In addition, some cleaners require a bit of scrubbing while others can simply be rinsed off with water. Like household cleaners, the formulas vary depending on the brand name.

Degreasers, on the other hand, are formulas specifically used to remove baked-in grease and oil. There are two types of degreasers on the market: water or citrus-based and petroleum-based.

Some car lovers say that water or citrus-based degreasers are better because it doesn't degrade your rubber hoses and seals as quickly as petroleum-based degreasers. However, both help to break down and remove oil from the exterior of your engine.

Occasionally, you may come across a car engine cleaner and degreaser combination. These combo formulas are generally a mild, water or citrus-based formula. And the manufacturers know that you want a multi-purpose cleaner, so they are usually safe for most car engine surfaces. Be sure to read the instructions before you use it, though, because the ingredients differ from brand to brand.

Using specific cleaners or multi-purpose cleaners is a matter of preference. So pick the one that works best for you.

When to Clean Your Engine
Unfortunately, there isn't a warning light that tells you when it's time to clean your engine. So, make sure to look under your hood periodically and clean as needed.

You may also hire a service to clean your engine for you. But the availability may vary depending on the area you live in. And it may be relatively pricey.

Final Thought
Your car engine is an integral part of your vehicle. So it's a good idea to check under the vehicle's hood from time to time. See if it's time for your engine bay to get a good scrubbing.

In addition, cleaner types and brands are a matter of preference. Feel free to explore your cleaner, degreaser, and multi-purpose options to find the right one for you. Some formulas are harsher than others, so make sure you read the instructions carefully before using it.

Lastly, cleaning your engine bay is optional. But you can think of it as another aspect of vehicle maintenance. And at the very least, you won't cringe when you pop that hood anymore.

>> Clean Engine Campaign