A variety of internal and external engine cleaners are being sold on the market today. How do you know which product to pick for your specific application? Here we have compiled the information you need to make the right choice. We have chosen to review a variety of cleaners and flushes for your fuel system and engine.
Whether you are looking for an eco-friendly detergent or seeking to avoid a rebuild with some preventative maintenance, we have a diverse mix of product reviews for your perusal.
engine cleaner Buyer’s Guide
Engines today are for the most part running on full synthetic oils. While this is great for extending the life of the engine by improving viscosity and reducing the incidence of heat spots, synthetic oils are also well known for leaking out of relatively new gaskets. This is because conventional oil is loaded with paraffins that would band-aid and block most of the micropores responsible for seepage.
In stark contrast, the synthetic oil is loaded with detergents and offers no additional layers of organic matter protection for porous seals and gaskets. Therefore, you are likely to find some caked on, burnt on, exterior grease to scub off.
Motor oil is some pretty hardy material to remove when it is baked onto engine parts in layers. You know how difficult it is to remove engine oil if you ever tried to clean up some spots from a concrete driveway. Hard right?!
This is where the right degreaser comes into play. If it is good enough to clean your sidewalk, it is probably going to do a quick and thorough job on your engine block.
The best way to clean engine parts is by scrubbing the material with a coarse brush. This helps it to penetrate and dissolve the layers of gunk without multiple applications. Be sure that the engine is cool and that you cover and avoid any electrical components before the application.
Then, use a powerwasher or ordinary garden hose to rinse clean. Our reviews will help you choose the best engine cleaner for your application.
Internal Engine Flushes
We have found the best internal engine cleaner for your car. We compared the results of flushes between two of the most popular products. The best engine treatment is the one that is most appropriate for the volume of sludge anticipated.
The Throttle Muscle treatment is simple to use. You simply add this to your dirty motor oil and run the car for five minutes at idle before you drain and change. It is important that you don’t keep this stuff in your engine for long periods of time because it can clog your oil filter with all of the gunk it removes. That is a testament to how well it works, nonetheless.
This cleaner boasts that it can even remove the deposits and sludge on internal engine sensors to improve performance. The name Throttle Muscle gives the user some indication that they should expect results and to not overdo it with this product. You want to expressly follow the manufacturer’s advice to get the best outcome.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
An engine flush is great if you have an aging engine that is accumulating carbon deposits and oil sludge. It is also great if you want to switch your engine over to snythetic after running it on convential oil for a long time.
The best engine flush will remove all of those waxy build-ups and carbon deposits to help your synthetic oils reach and lubricate the gunked up parts.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Fuel System Cleaner
The Chevron Techron Fuel System Cleaner is a favorite of mechanics. People can get oxygen sensor codes from clogged up and seized injectors. Adding some Chevron Techron to a full tank of gas dissolves all of these harmful deposits to get the precision parts in your fuel injectors operating like new.
If you have an older car that has not seen fuel injection cleaner for awhile, it is probably a good idea to put in a new fuel filter immediately after running a tank.
All of the gunk can clog up your filter and cause a no start issue. Running a high octane gasoline through your car every once in a while is another safe trick for cleaning those injectors.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
External Engine Degreasers
Products like Oil Eater are a great all purpose non-toxic cleaner that you can use to degrease a wide variety of automotive and household applications. For the abundance of possible applications, the fast acting formula, and the volume you receive for the price, you can’t go wrong with buying this product.
You can even soak engine parts in a solution of Oil Eater and water to achieve the same results as hot-tanking the parts at a machine shop. Because this product is non-corrosive, non-toxic, and non-hazardous, it is something that ordinary people will feel comfortable using.
For all of these reasons, I highly recommend that people purchase this product if even for those stubborn driveway stains alone.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
External Engine Detergents
We have narrowed down the available external engine detergents to four popular products that consumers seem to love.
A citrus-based cleaner like that produced by the Chemical Guys is something that you will probably feel safer with in the home if you have small children or sensitivities.
This may not be the best product for heavy duty baked on engine oil deposits. However, if you are concerned about the environment, your pets, or exposure of small children to any sort of chemical agents, this is a really safe product.
There are many similar general purpose orange cleaners on the market. This product is great for cleaning your interior and getting a glossy look in your engine bay.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
An engine specific application like Gunk is going to be a great deal if you are simply focused on your engine. It is bargain priced for doing one or two thorough applications.
The fact that it sticks to the engine block in a visible white foam makes it easy to make a mental map as you are cleaning. This is a mild cleanser that will require a little more elbow grease on tougher jobs.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Griot’s Garage produces a milder degreaser that is handy for more mild degreasing. You will be able to achieve solid results with shining up a grimey engine that is not full of baked on, caked on, oil sludge.
The great thing about this product is that it is gentle on the nose. You won’t be overcome with chemical fumes if you use it. And it works fantastic.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Sonax produces a handy degreasing formula to clean most motors. Although it is not something you want to use on aluminum, this is a good product for getting a clean but not shiny look. This is one of the newer cleaners on the market.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
All of these products have their advantages, depending upon the application. They are not all that expensive. If they will save your money by reason of the preventative maintenance, it makes dollars and sense to simply try the ones most attractive for your particular needs.
Don’t let your car crumble in the dust. You can keep an old car running and looking like new by investing a little bit upfront.
Keeping your engine clean inside and out will help you spot and eliminate oil leaks and problems as they arise. It is difficult to trace the source of any leak when your engine is all full of muddy crud.
If you have a turbo engine, or one of those designed with an undersized oil sump, or you simply neglected to use synthetic oil, it is very easy to accumulate harmful deposits and sludge. This sludge can destroy turbos and clog oil pick-up screens in the sump. You can burn out a perfectly good engine in minutes from coking and sludge choking off the oil pump.
It is difficult to gauge the performance of an aging fuel injection system. The detergents found in high octane gasoline may be a Litmus test for drivers who are concerned about the overall health of the fuel system.
If you notice any small improvements from running a tank of high octane fuel, you can bet that your fuel system needs a good flush to really get those injectors pulsing.
The Chevron Techron is a reliable product that auto mechanics and drivers have come to rely upon as a quick fix for fuel injection problems or performance maintenance.
We hope that these products do the job for you. Also, be sure to check out our piece on engine degreasers too.