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Is steam cleaning your engine safe? Is it the best way to do it?

Has anyone tried to clean their alloys with steam? I would imagine the tar spots would come straight off!
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chances are you will end up with no end of electrical problems.. if your engine bay is really that dirty to need cleaning you;d be far better off spending an afternoon hand cleaning it
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I agree. Don't use hot steam.

I prefer to have a relatively clean engine without spending hours detailing my ordinary grocery-getter.

I've cleaned engine bays countless times using the typical high pressure wand found at those DIY, coin operated auto wash stations. First I spray the dirty parts with some sort of cleaner. I've used special engine cleaners (for really dirty jobs), ordinary household degrease (my normal choice), the special "engine" selection of the pressure washer, or the ordinary foamy detergent from the pressure wand. It helps to wait a few minutes for the cleaner to work.

Then I use the high pressure washer in the "wash" setting. Use some common sense here; i.e. hold the wand close to the filthy transmission case to blast off the caked on gunk but do not spray a lot of water inside the air intake or try to clean the inside of your fuse box while holding the nozzle one inch from sensitive electrical components. In other words, if you're drunk or really stupid, don't try this on your car because it is possible to cause damage if you're a total nut case. Otherwise, you'll be fine.

After you're finished with the soap, switch to rinse to get rid of the suds and you're good to go. I have used this procedure over many years on a wide variety of cars, including my old air cooled VW with a primitive and VERY weak ignition system. I have NEVER had a car fail to start after pressure washing the engine bay nor have I ever caused any damage.
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I agree with JON156VELOCE and Mozella... Don't steam clean your engine bay.

The first time I saw my car everything worked fine. No problems or warning lights. They steam cleaned my engine the day I went to pick up my new car. On the way home, all the dials stopped working and I got an ABS/ESP Failure warning message. They had to replace the ABS/ESP ECU because it had become corroded.

Definitely don't steam an engine bay. Generally I just wipe it down.
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Originally Posted by JON156VELOCE View Post
chances are you will end up with no end of electrical problems.. if your engine bay is really that dirty to need cleaning you;d be far better off spending an afternoon hand cleaning it
i agree
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I would never steam clean or pressure wash an engine for the reasons above.

Personally I am far too lazy to do it 'by hand' as suggested and, would call that concours-show level of effort.

As a fast and easy alternative there are several degreaser products you can find in your local motoring store , which you just spray all over the engine (whilst warm but cold enough to rest your hand on) , leave 10 mins and rinse off with a normal hosepipe (no nozzles). Give excellent results and I even have a twin pack that is 1 degreaser and 1 dressing (gives a nice 'laquered' effect).

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