Tips, Tricks & Trends

The Best Method for Cleaning Your Engine is a Little Nuts

Car maintenance can seem overly simplified sometimes. We take our cars in for an oil change at regular intervals and get new brakes and tires whenever they are needed. Chances are the average car owner does significantly less maintenance to their car than they should keep it running at its best. For an average car like a sedan or SUV, there is a lot less stress put onto the car’s mechanical components than you see on a standard sports car, and they typically require less maintenance. There is one type of maintenance that seems to be neglected by everyone except automotive enthusiasts and mechanics, however, and it can drastically affect your car’s performance over time.

Cleaning your engine

Yes, you did read that correctly, cleaning your engine is one maintenance step many car owners don’t even think to do. For the most part, we don’t spend a lot of time cleaning inside of our car’s engine bay while we do a standard car wash. The last thing you want to do is to try and drench your car’s engine or anything under the hood with water and put any electrical components at risk. Cleaning the engine requires a little bit more than some soap and a microfiber towel.

2017 Mustang GT350 engine bay after fire
2017 Mustang GT350 engine bay after fire | Adam LZ

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There is a method for cleaning your car’s engine, and it sounds… a little nuts. It’s called walnut blasting, and it’s pretty simple. As the name might suggest, walnut blasting uses finely ground walnut shells, which are environmentally friendly and biodegradable, and the process doesn’t require any harsh chemicals.

What is walnut blasting

Walnut blasting should be done by a professional, but the process itself isn’t necessarily complicated. Modern cars operate by spraying gasoline directly into the engine, called direct injection. As the gas is burned, it can cause deposits of residual carbon to build up on the intake valves. Carbon deposits can reduce your car’s overall efficiency and even it’s performance. Walnut blasting is the most effective solution to this problem.

1972 Alfa Romeo Montreal engine | Bring a Trailer

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Walnut blasting aims to clean the car’s intake manifold and valves, where the carbon residue builds up. Highly pressurized air blasts the fine walnut shell mixture against the car’s mechanical components, efficiently removing the burnt-on carbon residue and giving your engine that much-needed deep cleaning.

Some chemicals can be used to clean the car’s intake manifold and valves as well. It is less expensive and less invasive but doesn’t entirely remove all of the carbon residues in the same way that walnut blasting is. Walnut blasting is not something that needs to be done frequently as it does take a significant amount of mileage to build up a lot of carbon residue.