Practicing proper engine maintenance

Engine degreasers and protectants can help extend the life of vehicles for your customers.


The number of 100,000-mile cars on the road is at an all-time high, meaning engines are in need of proper care now more than ever before. As vehicles age, maintenance becomes increasingly expensive for cars that have been neglected over the years. Preventative maintenance should include taking care of the engine, which is often times the most expensive and important part of the car. Customers should know that preventative engine maintenance doesn’t have to be time consuming. Using an engine-specific cleaning system is a simple routine that can be completed twice per year in less than 30 minutes to help care for the “heart” of the vehicle.

Using an engine-specific cleaning system, such as GUNK Engine Degreasers in tandem with GUNK Engine Protector, in spring and winter will keep vehicles running more efficiently by protecting against wear and tear from exposure to external elements, such as salt, snow, tar and road grime.  Removing built-up residue and taking the extra step to protect the engine allows it to run cooler, resist corrosion and last longer.

Many automotive repair shop owners recommend an engine cleaning routine to their customers. When engines are cleaned, finding leaks and diagnosing engine problems becomes much simpler for the mechanic and less expensive for the customer. An engine protector also helps keep caked-on muck from building up on the engine, allowing repair shops to complete jobs more efficiently and waste less time having to clean the engine before getting started on repairs.

For professionals and vehicle owners who want to properly clean and protect engines, follow these steps:

Step 1: If the car has been used the day of the cleaning, be sure the engine is off and cool to the touch before applying an engine degreaser, such as GUNK Engine Degreaser. Then, cover the air intake, any electrical wires that may be cracked or frayed and any other electronically sensitive areas of the engine. Once sensitive areas are protected, apply the engine degreaser most appropriate for the vehicle. GUNK offers suggestion on their brands:

  • GUNK Foamy Engine Cleaner is recommended for newer engines with dirt, mud and regular road build up from daily driving. It is designed to lift away salt and debris from engines by expanding under the plastic covers often found in newer engines. The Foamy formulation is designed to do the cleaning job that often requires a brush on its own.
  • GUNK Original Engine Degreaser is recommended for hardworking engines that have above average build up from leaks and tough jobs. The self-emulsifying formulation degreases all types of blocks, manifolds, valve covers and parts to ensure working on them is easier. GUNK Original Engine Degreaser eliminates tough oil and grease build up on the engine.
  • GUNK Heavy Duty GEL Engine Degreaser is recommended for older engines with high heat output or tough, stubborn build up from harsh environments.  The GEL formula is tough enough to stick to vertical surfaces or for spot treatments on hard to reach areas of the engine where oil and grease accumulates.

After the engine degreaser is applied, let it sit on the engine for 10 minutes. To finish, spray down the engine with water to wash off the engine degreaser. The engine regularly gets wet as water is pulled through the radiator during a rain storm, therefore hosing it off after degreasing will not cause any harm.  Use a wide, indirect spray to remove excess degreaser, again ensuring air intake and any sensitive electronics are covered. Any degreaser that was not removed by the hose can be wiped off with a shop towel. Allow the engine to dry before moving on to Step 2.

Step 2: On a cooled, dry engine, spray an even coat of engine protector, such as GUNK Engine Protector.  Let the formula sit for a few minutes and then use a rag or shop towel to wipe on, leaving a protective layer that helps resist dirt and grime and makes future engine cleaning faster and easier. GUNK Engine Protector also leaves a shiny finish, great for those in car shows or who like to show off their handiwork.

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