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Cleaning your engine and regular maintenance goes a long way in preserving the longevity and performance of your car. It ensures all the parts work in tip-top condition and helps you avoid breakdowns and expensive repairs. But how often should you clean your engine, and what’s the best way to do it?

How should you clean your engine, and what should you use?

A car engine.
A car engine | Getty Images

Before going into how often you should clean your engine, it’s worth mentioning what you use to clean your engine and how to do it. There are a few different ways to clean your engine, but one of the most effective is using engine cleaners. Engine cleaners are chemical additives designed to remove your engine’s sludge and harmful buildup, including oil, grease, and carbon deposits. Engine cleaners are incredibly beneficial, especially for new cars, when you notice oil splatter within the compartment bay area or exterior.

To use an engine cleaner, begin by pouring it into your engine’s oil filler port, and afterward, let your engine idle for 10 to 20 minutes. It will give the engine flush time to mix with the oil and circulate throughout the engine before you drain it out. Learn more about why it is necessary to flush your engine once in a while.

When speaking of engine cleaners, you might also hear of octane boosters. While octane boosters do not clean the engine, they can improve your engine’s fuel compression before detonation. This improvement in fuel compression will typically result in higher engine performance and better horsepower. Therefore, it should be used alongside an engine flush rather than as a replacement.

How often should you clean your car’s engine?

How often you clean your engine depends on a few factors, such as driving habits and the type of oil you use. With all these considered, most dealers and mechanics typically instruct you to clean it every 3,000 – 8,000 miles with an engine cleanser. However, due to the competence of modern engines to keep sludge at bay, Access Auto Insurance recommends doing a complete engine flush after around 35,000 miles.

It is also crucial to remember that most cars with over 150,000 miles or more than eight years old may not require cleaning the engine because the buildup is often beneficial to them. The only time you’d need to clean the engine of an old car is if there’s a noticeable drop in performance or fuel economy. Access Auto Insurance also recommends constantly researching your car’s engine type and make before opting for an engine degreaser. This is because some cleansers are made specifically for specific engines and can do more harm than good if used on the wrong engine.

The benefits

Cleaning your engine regularly has numerous benefits. For starters, it helps remove all the built-up sludge and gunk that can clog up your engine and affect its performance. It also helps improve your engine’s fuel efficiency and extend its lifespan. Besides these, there are other benefits, which include:

  • It allows you to easily spot cracks, leaks, and other problems your engine may encounter in the future.
  • It removes debris and road salt that lead to corrosion.
  • It prevents combustion and other unwarranted fire hazards.
  • It makes it easy for you to work on the engine by yourself.
  • Cleaning your engine also allows you to sell your car at a higher value.

Cleaning your engine is an essential part of car maintenance that should not be neglected. By adhering to the appropriate interval, you can ensure that your engine stays clean and performant for many years.