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How Long Has it Been Since You Got Your Car’s Engine Cleaned?

Updated: Oct 17, 2019

Do you ever think about what your car looks like under the hood? Sure, you check the oil and keep all the fluids topped up, but there’s more to engine maintenance than the literal nuts and bolts of keeping the car running. Getting the engine cleaned and detailed can do wonders for your vehicle, both in how it runs and how it looks.

Easier Maintenance

Nobody likes to see the “Check Engine” light appear on the dashboard. When it does, the solution is usually pretty expensive. Even worse is getting a warning on and off without any idea of the underlying cause. It’s pretty difficult to diagnose an issue if the parts you’re trying to see are hidden beneath infinite layers of gunk.

Keeping your engine clean makes it easier to solve this problem. Leaks and other engine troubles are much more apparent when the area under the hood is clean. You mechanic might also spot problems you didn’t know were there and be able to fix them so that your car runs better and more efficiently.

Safer Car

Think about all the different conditions in which you drive. Muddy back roads, windy autumn days with leaves blowing everywhere and slick pavement spread with salt and sand can all make a big mess of your engine. If you live in an area with a lot of pine trees, chances are that quite a few dry needles make their way under the hood, too.

This debris builds up over time and, along with engine grease, can become a fire hazard. The longer you let your engine go without being cleaned, the more buildup occurs. Road salt brings the additional risk of corrosion if left to sit, which can contribute to engine damage. A good cleaning preserves the condition of your engine and keeps you safer when you drive.

Cleaner Clothes and Hands

Doing basic maintenance doesn’t have to be a dirty job if you schedule regular engine detailing. Instead of having to protect your clothes and scrub your hands like crazy after checking under the hood, you can monitor fluid levels with a minimal amount of mess. You’ll be particularly glad for a clean engine if you find yourself in an emergency situation where you have to go poking around the engine block while wearing your work clothes!

Snazzy Appearance

Who doesn’t love that like-new look? It’s great when the outside of your car shining like it just rolled off the showroom floor, and it’s even better when the engine is just as clean. If it’s been a long time since your engine was last cleared of the dirt and grime that builds up during your daily commute, you may be shocked by the difference a good detailing job can make.

More Valuable Car

Should you decide to put your vehicle on the market, a sparkling engine is a great selling point. The visual appeal makes the car more attractive, and prospective buyers will appreciate your investment in regular maintenance.[] Since keeping the engine clean can also help it run better for longer, your car is likely to have more life left in it than similar vehicles not given the same level of care.

Although you can clean the engine yourself, it’s a better idea to let a detailer take care of it. Improper cleaning can cause damage, and you don’t want to wind up with a costly repair bill when your goal is to improve the look and performance of the car! So, the next time you schedule a wash and detail, don’t forget about under the hood. You’ll love the way your engine looks when it’s squeaky clean.

About the Author

Theresa “Sam” Houghton is a writer, speaker and health coach from Troy, NY. She’s a regular contributor to, and her work has appeared in the Honest Weight Food Co-Op Coop Scoop, Natural Awakenings Magazine and the 2017 Daily Dozen calendar. She has been a featured guest on Focus on Albany, WMAC’s Food Friday and the Just Ask David podcast. When she's not writing or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, cook tasty plant-based food and knit socks.You can find out more about Sam at

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