Maintenance Tips, Tricks And Hacks For Your Vehicle

Can You Clean Your Car Engine With WD40




You probably heard that some people use WD40 to clean their car engines and you wonder if WD40 will do damage to your car engine. Wonder no more.

There are many ways you can clean your car engine. I would like to share my experience with you and tell you which ways actually work.

This article contains:

    Key Takeaway

    1. Get the correct type of WD40Choose a Multi-use WD40 that won’t harm electrical contacts in the engine bay.
    2. Prepare the required itemsGather all cleaning supplies, and consider wearing gloves and safety glasses for protection.
    3. Warm up the engineLet the engine run for about five minutes to loosen up the grime and gunk.
    4. Isolate the power sourceDisconnect the car battery to prevent shorting out anything during cleaning. Be cautious with components that should not get soaking wet, like the alternator and distributor.
    5. Dry clean the engineUse a brush and vacuum cleaner to remove dust from surfaces in the engine bay. Use a metal wire brush to remove any rust on metal engine parts.
    6. Clean the plastic partsSpray the plastic parts with WD40 and wipe clean with a towel.
    7. Clean the metal partsSpray the metal parts with WD40 and wipe clean. If dirt remains, reapply the WD40 and use a brush to agitate the grease.
    8. Let the engine dryAfter cleaning, allow the engine to dry for up to two hours, keeping the hood open and avoiding starting the vehicle.

    WD40 Cleaning Properties

    WD-40 is a versatile product that has a variety of cleaning and maintenance properties. It was originally designed as a water-displacing spray to prevent corrosion, but it also has significant cleaning abilities.

    One of the key cleaning properties of WD-40 is its ability to break down and remove grease and grime. This makes it useful for tasks such as degreasing bicycle chains or car parts, removing stubborn, sticky residues from surfaces, and cleaning tools.

    WD-40 can also help remove certain types of stains, such as crayon marks on walls or scuff marks on floors. Its penetrating properties allow it to get into the stain and lift it away from the material, making it easier to wipe clean.

    Another property of WD-40 is its ability to loosen rusted or stuck parts. So, if you have a rusty screw or a hinge that’s become stiff over time, a little WD-40 can help make it move freely again.

    Can You Clean Your Car Engine With WD40

    Yes, you can use WD-40 to clean your car engine. WD-40 is known for its ability to displace water and penetrate rusted or stuck parts, but it also has degreasing properties that can help in cleaning engine bays.

    While WD-40 can be effective for light cleaning and degreasing tasks, if your engine is heavily soiled, you might need to use a dedicated engine degreaser for more thorough cleaning.

    It’s also important to note that after using WD-40 or any degreaser, you should rinse the engine bay thoroughly to remove any leftover product.

    Remember, cleaning your car engine isn’t just about aesthetics – it can also help improve performance and longevity by removing dirt and grime that could potentially cause damage.

    Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning your car engine to ensure you don’t cause any unintentional harm.

    How To Clean Your Engine With WD40

    You don’t have to be a mechanic to clean your engine with wd40. Make sure you follow my steps and you will have a shiny engine in no time.

    1. Get the correct type of WD40

    Not to exaggerate, but there are over 20 types of WD40. It is very important to get the correct type of WD40 if you are going to clean the engine bay. Why is this important?

    Well, in the engine bay, you will find all kinds of electrical wires, contacts, sensors, and whatnot. These electrically powered components are very sensitive. However, there is a WD40 design especially not to harm the electrical contacts.

    So, either go to your local auto equipment store or order a WD-40 Original Formula, Multi-Use Product with Smart Straw Sprays 2 Ways, 14.4 OZ [2-Pack].

    2. Prepare the required items

    Although it seems simple, it’s important to have all your cleaning supplies laid out right next to your engine.

    That’s going to make it a lot quicker to clean the engine and a lot more enjoyable because your products are going to be right there for you to use.

    It’s also a good idea to put on some gloves to protect your hands from chemicals and oils and put on some safety glasses just in case some dirt splashes on your face.

    3. Let the engine run for about five minutes

    Open the hood and let the engine run for about five minutes. In this five-minute period, the engine will get just warm enough to loosen up the grime and gunk a little bit. This will help the WD40 to clean the engine even faster.

    4. Isolate the power source – the car battery

    Start off by isolating the power source which is the battery by disconnecting it. If your battery is easily removable, please remove it because it will be easy to clean the area beneath the battery.

    But if you cannot remove the battery, make sure you disconnect the positive and negative leads and isolate them from the rest of the car.

    Everybody’s biggest concern when cleaning their engine bay is getting water in something that you shouldn’t and then it shorts out. But, with the battery completely disconnected, there’s no electricity running through any of this so you can’t short anything out.

    There’s a lot less to worry about and then when we’re done cleaning and detailing the engine we can make sure everything is dry and then reconnect the battery and we’ll be good to go.

    Even though we disconnected the battery there are still some components that we don’t want to get wet. Sure you can get a little wet, but you don’t want to get them soaking wet for example.

    We have the alternator, and distributor(some cars have two distributors). Follow your spark plug wires and press down the caps to make sure they are forced all the way down.

    5. Dry clean the engine

    Start by using the brush and vacuum cleaner together, and kinda throw the dust into the vacuum cleaner with the brush. You want to brush off as many surfaces in the engine bay as you can.

    This process is pretty quick and it only takes about five minutes and it’s definitely helpful. If you have any rust on your metal engine parts, you can use the metal wire brush and take the rust off. That’s all it takes to dry clean the engine.

    6. Spray the plastic parts with WD40

    Most vehicles, especially modern ones have a lot of plastic parts/covers. These plastic covers and parts are made black and might appear clean at first.

    But, if you wipe them with a white towel, you will see how dirty they are. So, start by spraying them first. After you spray the WD40, wipe it with a clean towel.

    7. Move on to the metal parts

    Next up are the metal parts of the engine. These can be especially dirty from oil, coolant, dirt, and debris. Removing thick grease areas will allow your engine to cool down faster because the grease acts as a layer of insulation between the engine and the cold air around it.

    To best clean the metal parts of the engine, you might need a brush to agitate the grease. So, start by spraying the WD40, and try to wipe it with a towel. If there is still dirt present, spray it again with WD40, but only this time use a brush.

    8. Let the engine dry

    After cleaning the engine with WD40, it is very important that you let it dry. Depending on the weather conditions, the drying process can take up to two hours. During the drying process, make sure to keep the hood open and not start the vehicle.

    Is It Worth It To Clean The Car Engine?

    Cleaning your car engine is absolutely worth it, although it may seem like a daunting task. Considering how much time and money you’ve invested in your vehicle, taking the time to regularly clean its engine can save you hundreds of dollars over the lifespan of the car.

    By inspecting and removing any buildup of dirt, debris, and oil deposits that can accumulate over time, you can help keep your engine functioning efficiently. With the right products and tools, not only will your car look better inside and out but it will also run more smoothly and last longer.

    Keeping your engine in good condition can make a world of difference when it comes to the longevity and performance of your vehicle.

    But how often should you really be cleaning your engine? Generally, most experts recommend cleaning it every 10,000 – 15,000 miles or so. This allows you to get rid of any build-up from oxidation and combustion, as well as remove any dirt, grease, and grime that may have accumulated over time says Cars.

    Is WD-40 a Good Engine Degreaser?

    WD-40 does have degreasing properties and can be used to clean engines. It is particularly effective at breaking down grease and grime, making it a useful tool for light engine cleaning tasks.

    However, while WD-40 can help remove some surface dirt and grime, it might not be as effective for heavily soiled engines or for removing thick layers of built-up grease.

    For these more intensive cleaning tasks, a dedicated engine degreaser may be required. These products are specifically formulated to tackle tough engine grime and can provide a more thorough clean.

    Additionally, it’s worth noting that while regular WD-40 can be used for cleaning, the company also offers a specialist machine & engine degreaser product. This product is designed specifically for degreasing tasks and may provide better results for engine cleaning compared to the regular WD-40 formula.


    Q: How does WD40 help in cleaning car engines?

    A: WD40 is a powerful solvent that can dissolve and remove grease, grime, and dirt from car engines. It can help loosen stuck-on debris and make it easier to clean.

    Q: Is it safe to use WD40 on car engines?

    A: Yes, it is generally safe to use WD40 on car engines. However, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take proper precautions to avoid any damage or potential hazards.

    Q: Are there any precautions to take when using WD40 on car engines?

    A: Yes, there are a few precautions to take when using WD40 on car engines. Make sure the engine is cool before applying WD40 and avoid spraying it directly on hot surfaces to prevent potential fire hazards. Also, protect sensitive electronics and electrical components from contact with WD40.

    Q: How should I apply WD40 to clean my car engine?

    A: To clean your car engine with WD40, start by covering any sensitive components with plastic or a towel. Spray WD40 onto the dirty areas and let it sit for a few minutes to penetrate and dissolve the dirt. Use a brush or cloth to scrub away the loosened debris, and then rinse the engine with water.

    Q: Can I use WD40 to clean other parts of my car?

    A: Yes, WD40 can be used to clean other parts of your car, such as the exterior body, door hinges, and chrome surfaces. It can help remove tar, adhesive residues, and other stubborn stains.

    Q: Are there any parts of the car engine that should not be cleaned with WD40?

    A: Yes, there are certain parts of the car engine that should not be cleaned with WD40. Avoid using WD40 on sensitive electrical components, rubber hoses, and belts, as it may cause damage. It is recommended to consult the car’s manual or a professional mechanic for guidance.

    Q: Can WD40 be used as a long-term engine cleaner?

    A: While WD40 can effectively clean car engines, it is not designed for long-term use as an engine cleaner. It is more suitable for occasional cleaning and removing specific types of dirt and grime. Regular maintenance and proper cleaning products should be used for thorough engine care.

    Q: Can I use WD40 to remove rust from car engines?

    A: While WD40 can help loosen rust and prevent further corrosion, it is not a specialized rust remover. For effective rust removal, it is recommended to use specific rust dissolvers or consult a professional for more advanced rust removal techniques.

    Q: Are there any alternative products for cleaning car engines?

    A: Yes, there are alternative products available for cleaning car engines. Engine degreasers, specialized engine cleaners, and automotive soaps are commonly used for thorough engine cleaning. It is important to choose the right product based on your specific cleaning needs and follow the instructions accordingly.

    Conclusion and final thoughts

    In conclusion, WD-40 can indeed be used to clean your car engine. Its degreasing properties make it effective at breaking down and removing grease and grime, making it a handy tool for light engine cleaning tasks.

    However, for heavily soiled engines or thick layers of built-up grease, a dedicated engine degreaser may be more effective.

    It’s also worth noting that WD-40 should be used with caution, avoiding sensitive components and ensuring the engine is cool before starting the cleaning process.

    Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using products like WD-40 to ensure safe and effective use.



    Vide Polowenski, Senior Mechanic

    The information in this article is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest mechanic SOPs.

    Please take the time to leave a comment if this article has helped you in any way, you need additional help, or you have a suggestion.

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