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diy guide engine bay detailing

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Guide - How to detail the engine bay to award-winning showroom condition

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Guide - How to detail the engine bay to award-winning showroom condition

DISCLAIMER: Detailing the engine bay is not for beginners and it is recommended to be done by a professional. Inception Automotive Detailing will not be liable for anything that can happen should you do it by yourself. This is purely at your own risk.

While most of us routinely maintain our car’s engine to ensure that it is mechanically sound, we often overlook the cosmetic side. Though out of view for most of the time, we cannot avoid seeing the engine bay during a car show or even showing it off to somebody. Also, having a dirty engine bay increase the risk of the dirt being inhaled the car’s intake. While there is an air filter filtering the particles, there is a chance that some may pass though.

In this DIY guide blog post, I will teach you how to detail the engine properly to my award-winning standards. 

Here is a Genesis Coupe Engine bay that has been neglected for about two years:

The first thing you should do is to cover all water-sensitive areas. Most modern cars’ engine bays nowadays are weather sealed except for certain areas.

Some are:

Short Ram Intake Filter



Water-sensitive areas completely covered

For the following step, I have seen many people create a mistake already. Here’s why:

Many people would soak the engine first prior to spraying it with a degreaser. The problem of soaking the engine with water first is that it reduces the effectiveness of the degreaser breaking down the dirt and grime because it gets diluted with the water.

For my standards, I spray liberally a full concentration (depending on the condition of the engine) all-purpose cleaner throughout the engine bay. Once that is complete, let the cleaner settle down for about 30 seconds to a minute but do not let the product dry.

After 30 seconds to a minute pass, rinse the engine using a very light water pressure. Using a powerwasher is NOT recommended as the high pressure can mess around with the hoses and electricals. This step is called the pre-soak and rinse.

After the pre-rinse is complete, spray the whole engine bay again with the cleaner.

Once that is complete, use various detailing brushes to agitate all dirt and grime throughout the engine bay.

When finished, rinse the engine bay again.

At this stage, inspect the engine bay to see that all dirt and grime has been removed. If not, repeat the same step above.

When the engine bay is clean to standards, you can air dry the engine bay as shown in the picture below and/or remove all plastics covering the water-sensitive areas, close the hood, start the car and idle for about 10 minutes. By doing it this way, you can use the heat generated by the engine to dry off the water.

After this is complete, open the hood again and use a microfiber towel to dry anything that was missed out. You can use this stage to use the cleaner to remove any missed spots and wipe off with a microfiber towel.

Last but not least, use a spray or aerosol-based plastic and rubber dressing to give the engine bay that “new look” again!