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How to Choose the Best Engine Cleaner

You open the hood and realize your engine bay has oil splatters throughout in small patches. Wiping a finger across the years of dirt and grime, you realize you may have a dirty engine on your hands. It can be difficult to know when your engine may need a good cleaning, especially if you purchased a used car.

A big part of car ownership is keeping everything in your vehicle in working condition, but did you know there are some preventative measures you can take to avoid major issues in the future? Properly utilizing engine cleaner, as well as keeping your compartment bay tidy can have some potential benefits if you know how to do it correctly.

What Does Engine Cleaner Do?

oiling down an engine
Engine cleaner, also known as engine flush, is a chemical additive designed to clean accumulated deposits and sludge from your car. For new cars, an engine flush can be extremely beneficial if you notice oil splatter in the compartment bay or exterior of the car. You can use this cleaner by pouring it into the engine’s oil-filler port and idling the engine for 10 to 20 minutes max. An engine flush will mix with the oil so it can circulate through the entire engine.

What Is an Engine Degreaser or Octane Booster?

man wiping car

You probably have heard of these two terms when researching how to maximize your engine for higher efficiency or better gas mileage. An engine degreaser is just another name for an engine cleaner or flush. However, an octane booster is used to improve the fuel compression in your engine before detonation. This increase in compression ultimately results in better horsepower. Octane boosters don’t clean the engine; although they do make the engine perform at a higher rate.

How Often Should You Clean Your Engine?

car engine closeup

Many car mechanics and dealers will instruct you to use an engine cleaner every 3,000 to 8,000 miles however, modern engines are fairly competent at keeping sludge at bay. It’s recommended to do a full engine flush at around 35,000 miles.

It’s important to note that cars older than 8 years or over 150,000 may not need their engine cleaned because the buildup can be beneficial. Always do your research on your car’s make and engine type before using an engine degreaser.

How do Engines Get Dirty?

mechanic wiping down engine

Over the years, grime and buildup tend to accumulate within the engine and compartment bay. A few other causes can be  

  • Ingestion of tiny particles if you drive on gravel or dirt roads
  • Frequent short trips that don’t allow the oil to fully warm up
  • Fuel dilution
  • Low-quality oil used during changes
  • Infrequent oil changes
  • High heat that eventually breaks down the oil

Investing in quality oil for your vehicle can also keep engines running smoothly and prevent sludge from getting trapped. Again, engines and compartment bays are not going to be spotless. Finding some dust and dirt is perfectly fine as long as you don’t notice oil splatters pooling outside the engine.

Benefits of an Engine Cleaner

car engine pumping

Keeping your car’s engine clean can be beneficial if you want to:

  • Spot leaks, cracks, or other problems you may encounter in the future.
  • Remove road salt and debris that can lead to corrosion.
  • Prevent combustion and other fire hazards.
  • Easily work on the engine yourself.
  • Be able to sell your vehicle at an increased value.

If you don’t want to use engine cleaner very often, you can opt for a major flush when you’re about to work on your car or sell it to a new owner.

Should You Clean the Engine Compartment Bay?

This is debated quite a lot. Mechanics will say you should have your engine bay cleaned every four to eight months. However, some car enthusiasts argue that engine bays never have to be cleaned, because unlike a motorcycle’s engine that pushes air through, most cars use water cooling. We like to air on the safe side and recommend steam cleaning after a few years to prevent combustion and other fire hazards while driving.

Proper Car Maintenance

car payment invoice
Whether you decide to use engine cleaner or not, taking care of your vehicle and knowing when to invest for the long haul is extremely important. Just like regular car maintenance, investing in a beneficial car insurance plan is just as vital. Vehicle insurance can help cover the damages if you have an engine fire or another issue resulting in an accident. Not only is it illegal to drive without insurance, smart car owners know it can be a lifesaver.

A-Abana provides comprehensive and flexible coverage for anything life throws your way. If you are interested in learning about our policies or coverage, give us a call at 888-449-0174 to speak with one of our helpful insurance agents or get a FREE, no-obligation quote via our website.