Can I Wash My Engine While Its Hot?

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Can I wash my engine while its hot? That’s a straightforward question, and the plain answer is NO. There are quite a lot of things to consider when it comes to washing a car engine.

Many people do not pay attention to their engine; they are not bothered whether it’s clean or dirty. But it’s a good thing that you’ve thought to clean this neglected part of the car.

By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll know whether or not it’s advisable to wash your car engine while it’s hot.

Let’s get started!

Why Should I Wash My Car Engine?

The engine bay on its own can get very dirty as long as you drive the car. This is a result of dust and oil drops that constantly drop on this part of the car – when these things accumulate, they can cause your engine bay to be dirty.

While many car manufacturers do not include how and when to wash your engine, it is crucial that you do so, at least once in a year.

Washing the engine doesn’t just make it look good and neat; it also helps to make the engine last longer. When the engine bay is degreased and cleaned, the components in there would be free, more flexible, and work efficiently.

But the big question remains, when should you wash the engine, and how should you do that? More so, can you wash the engine while it’s hot or wait until it cools down? How do you protect the naked wires and other water-allergic components?

Okay, what about the cleaners to use, are there specific cleaners for washing a car engine? Quite a lot of questions might flood your mind the moment you think about washing your car engine.

However, we will treat virtually all the questions you could think about, and most importantly, explain if it is suitable to wash your engine while it’s hot or to allow it to cool down.

Can I Wash My Engine While It’s Hot?

Can I Wash My Engine While Its Hot

When the car engine bay is hot, it is virtually impossible to wash this area. Why? Isn’t it obvious? It’s because the bay is hot.

Before you wash the engine bay, there are certain components that need to be covered to prevent water from penetrating them and possibly damage vital stuff that keeps your car functioning as it does.

These components that are quite allergic to water are covered using plastic bags, rubber covers, or other flexible materials.

When the engine is hot, and you attempt to cover these components, you might burn yourself the moment your body touches the hot metals. More so, the hotness of the engine can possibly melt the material you are attempting to use in covering those components.

There are quite many dangers of washing the engine while it’s still hot. We won’t recommend this move (to wash your engine while it’s hot) irrespective of the situation. You could allow the car to cool down before going on to wash the engine.

Typically, it takes around 30 – 45 minutes for the engine to cool down. The time for an engine to cool off might seem too much, but if you wait, it’ll do you more good and save you from incurring dangerous burns for the extremely hot engine.

You can wash the car’s body (start from the back and NOT from the front bonnet) while you wait for the engine to cold down.

Some people would decide to pour water on their engine to cool it down, while this is not still recommended; if you must do that, do it cautiously, and make sure water doesn’t get into places it is not expected to penetrate.

With the explanations above, we strongly advise that you should not wash your car engine while it’s hot. Besides, the engine bay isn’t where people see.

In fact, most car owners only open their bonnet when they want to top up the coolant, change the oil when the car is hard starting, or there’s a problem with the car. So, washing the engine shouldn’t be urgent stuff.

How To Wash A Car Engine Like a Pro

How To Wash A Car Engine

Washing your car engine should be a scheduled event. You could wake up and decide to wash the car’s body because you could see dirt on it, but this is not the same when it comes to washing the engine bay.

More carefulness is highly required irrespective of whether your car is an old car (2010 model or older) or a modern ride.

There are certain components on the engine bay that do not require water to touch them; so, you should schedule when to perform this wash, and when the time comes, here’s how to get things done.

What you need to wash a car engine:

  • A galloon of degreaser
  • Pressure washer (recommended) or a garden hose
  • Plastic bags to cover the alternator, air filter, exposed wire, spark plugs, battery terminals, and other exposed electrical stuff
  • A small firm brush
  • Pieces of microfiber towel and any smooth cloth

If you’ve got the materials above, here’s how to wash your engine bay.

First step:

Use the plastic bags to cover all the electrical components you could see. Also, cover the air intake cap and alternator.

Second step:

Apply the degreaser on the metals you see. Kindly read through the degreaser’s manual to understand how to apply it to surfaces; some require that you’ll mix with water before using.

Use the small brush and apply the degreaser to every part of the engine. Apply it all around the engine to clean the accumulated oils in every corner. Don’t use your hand for this; a small brush will be the best option.

Third step:

Get your hose or pressure washer, hold it at a distance, and start applying water on the engine bay. However, it is advisable to wait for some time before applying water; this is to allow the cleaner and/or degreaser to settle and remove the dirt in hidden corners.

Fourth step:

After you have washed the engine, use the microfiber towel to scrub the engine carefully. Allow the engine to dry, and then remove the coverings (plastic bags).

Read Also: How Long Can a Car Be Left With Starting?


When next you hear someone ask, can I wash my engine while it’s hot? Simply refer to the guide provided in this article. It is dangerous to wash a hot engine, wait for 30 – 45 minutes, and then you can go ahead to wash the bay.

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