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The do’s and don’ts of cleaning your engine bay when selling a car

The do’s and don’ts of cleaning your engine bay when selling a car

If you’re planning to sell your car, you don’t just need to make sure the bodywork and interior look good, you also need to ensure the engine compartment looks good too.

If you sell your car to a dealership, it’s less of an issue as we can see beyond that. But, if you’re selling privately, you need to ensure the prospective buyer can see everything within the engine bay.

Cleaning this area of your car is simple but there are three things you should do.

Take a before and after picture

Before you begin cleaning, you should take a before picture. Not only so you can see the result of your labour but also in case something doesn’t work afterwards.

There are lots of wires and connections within an engine bay and it’s easy to accidentally dislodge something while cleaning.

Having a few pictures of each area of your engine bay showing where each wire and connector goes could be a genuine lifesaver.

The after picture is optional but will show the fruits of your labour!

Don’t use a power washer

It might be tempting to blast the oil and dirt off the engine and out of the bay with a power washer, but don’t. All those wires and connectors we talked about above? They wouldn’t last a minute under that kind of water pressure.

Use a garden hose if you have one. It’s a much lower pressure way of delivering water and is far less likely to dislodge a connection or get places water really shouldn’t go.

Disconnect the battery and cover the fuse box

Before water goes anywhere near your engine bay, disconnect the battery. You’ll need to reset your clock and probably add the PIN to your car audio if it has one but will stop water from shorting out your electrics.

While you’re there, cover the fuse box with a plastic bag and secure it with a cable tie or gaffer tape. This should prevent any water getting into the fuse box and waiting for you to reconnect the battery.

Use the right cleaner for the job

Look in any auto parts store and you’ll see shelves of cleaning compounds and products. Most of them work fine but some are much more involved than they should be.

Some require a lot of work as if you don’t clean it off properly, can go on to cause corrosion and damage wiring and connections. Some can eat away at hoses if not rinsed off properly too.

Use a green cleaner if you can. Not only will it be better for the environment, it will also be less harsh to your engine and components.

Follow the instructions, use the right cleaner for the job and rinse off or clear properly.

The result should be a lovely, clean engine bay all ready to sell your car to a dealership or advertise online.

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Categories: sell your car

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