Is Tire Foam Safe To Use On Engines?

Detailing the engine bay of your car or truck is very satisfying. Take care to prevent water from getting into the electrical, fuel, and air intake systems. Using high-pressure water or steam hose to clean the engine bay is not recommended.

A safe and novel method to clean the engine bay is by using tire foam cleaner. Block off all air intakes before applying the tire foam cleaner liberally all over the engine and engine bay parts. After a five-minute wait, wipe off the tire foam using an absorbent microfiber cloth.

The application of a foaming agent to lift dirt and grime from carpets fibers is well known. The foaming agent in the tire foam formulation creates a similar cleaning effect on the engine bay components in a car. The foam will lift the dust and oil off the surfaces of the components in the engine bay, requiring only a thorough wipe with a soft microfiber towel to wipe up the dirt and excess tire cleaner.

The silicone in the tire cleaner will leave the surfaces lightly coated with a thin shiny layer, making the engine bay sparkle like new. Let’s look at some dos and don’ts about detailing the engine bay?

How To Clean The Engine Bay Without Damage To The Engine?

Cleaning and detailing a dirty engine bay is one of the most rewarding ways to treat your car. The YouTube channel ChrisFix has 8.36 million subscribers, and his video on how to super clean your engine bay has had over 40 million views. Using just some common tools and many microfiber cloths, Chris turns four very dirty engines into sparkling new showcases.

A five-minute clean in a can does not exist if you want to do this job properly. You will have to budget at least two hours for a deep clean that will make your engine bay look new. The risk of damage to the engine and electrical system has to be minimized, and no high-pressure water should be sprayed in the engine bay.

The engine bay cleaning process consists of five steps.

  1. Preparation
  2. Dry Cleaning
  3. Wet Cleaning
  4. Drying the Engine
  5. Detailing

Preparation – get your cleaning supplies laid out next to the engine. You will need some clean microfiber towels, clean wipes, brushes, soapy water in a spray bottle, black plastic detailing polish, spray wax, and paint makers(black and yellow). Wear latex gloves to protect your skin against oil and grease and safety glasses to protect your eyes from the chemical splashback.

Disconnect the battery terminals and remove the battery entirely from the engine bay. Also, remove large components such as the air cleaner box and plastic covers to help access the hard to get places.

Ensure that the distributor caps and all lead connections are on tight and will not allow water intrusion. Components such as the alternator, distributor, and spark plugs are designed to get wet, but not with direct high-pressure water.

Dry cleaning the engine bay entails blowing out or vacuuming up as much dust and dirt in the engine bay as possible. Most of the dirt in the engine bay will be loose dust and engine grime that has settled on the surfaces in the engine bay. Use a selection of paintbrushes to loosen the dirt and dust on the surfaces.

Wear a dust mask and work clockwise around the engine bay, brushing every surface thoroughly to loosen dirt. Using a leaf blower or compressed air, blow the loosened dirt out of the engine bay. A vacuum cleaner can also be used to suck up all the loose dirt.

Place a plastic garbage bag over the engine to prevent water from getting into the sensitive parts of the engine. The wet cleaning step can safely commence. The engine should not be hot. The engine can be warm to the touch, and you should be able to keep your hand on the engine without burning.

Start by hosing down the inside of the hood and the hood liner. The garbage bag will keep the engine dry. Spray some mild soapy water on the painted surfaces of the hood and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth. If the hood liner is very dirty, spray some carpet cleaner on it and let it soak. Finally, rinse down the hood and the hood liner with water.

Before removing the garbage bag from the engine, first, clean all surfaces around the engine. Lightly rinse off the areas around the engine. Using the cleaning wipes, wipe off the surfaces removing all the dirt, oil, and grease. Rinse the surfaces again, and then apply some mild soapy water. Using a paintbrush and some pipe cleaner brushes, brush all the surfaces, agitating the areas where the dirt is stuck.

Finally, rinse all the brushed surfaces. Carefully remove the garbage bag from the engine, taking care not to get the engine wet. Remove any dirt and grease using the cleaning wipes. Lightly spray some soapy water on the surfaces of the engine and use pipe cleaners and bushes to agitate and clean all the surfaces.

Do not rinse the engine with water. Use the microfiber towels to wipe off all the engine surfaces until they are clean and dry. Check that there is no water puddled around the spark plug stems or any other electronics. Start the drying step on the rest of the engine bay using the microfiber towels. Dry off all visible signs of water still on the engine or engine bay.

A wet and dry vacuum cleaner is helpful to suck up any water in hard-to-reach places. With all the engine bay components dry, the detailing step can start. Spray some polishing wax onto all the painted surfaces of the hood and the engine bay. Wipe the polish into the surfaces with the microfiber towel.

Detail the black plastic hoses and surfaces with a water-based trim restorer. Please do not use any oily or greasy products as they will attract dust and dirt very quickly. Brush the trim restorer onto all-black surfaces utilizing a selection of paintbrushes. Do not get any of the trim restorers on the drive belts, as this may cause slippage or noise on the belts.

Wipe down all the surfaces with the fiber towels until all surfaces are clean and shining. Use the black paint marker to touch up any parts that are rusted. Use the yellow paint marker to touch up the lettering on any raised letterings on the engine bay components.

Place the cleaned battery and all other components that you removed from the engine back. Check that all components and hoses are securely fitted before starting up the engine. Your engine bay looks like new again.

Tire foam can be used to spray on the engine and engine bay as a replacement for the spray-on wax and trim restorer. The tire cleaner is formulated with silicone to protect the rubber and make all surfaces shiny.

Is The Engine Bay Clean After A Five Minute Tire Foam Clean?

Cleaning a dirty engine bay after a weekend off-road adventure or after the salt and grime accumulated during the winter months will not require a five-minute cleanup. If the dirt on the engine bay is only light, the five-minute cleaning method using tire foam may work.

Detailing the engine bay is an excellent opportunity to inspect all the electrical connections, air, coolant pipes, oil leaks, or other early signs of an engine problem. The five-minute cleanup is not thorough enough to remove ingrained dirt, grease, and oil. At best, you will achieve a shinier engine with a lot of hidden dirt and grime.

In my research for this article, I watched many videos on YouTube where the Tire Foam cleaning method was portrayed. You will need at least one to two hours to achieve a deep clean and inspection for a deep and thorough engine clean. Using tire foam instead of liquid wax and plastic restorer will work well and is safe for your engine.

Using paintbrushes and microfiber towels to agitate the dirt on the surfaces and clean it off is still required. The silicone tire foam will dry and trap dirt on the black plastic and rubber components if it is not wiped off with a microfiber towel.

Cleaning and detailing your car’s engine bay is a job worth doing well. Spending the time meticulously cleaning may save you a lot of money if you discover a potential problem early enough. The cleaning process can also be very satisfying for the car enthusiast.


The tire foam used to clean the wheels and tires of your car can safely be used to clean and shine up the engine bay. Brushing off the excess dirt and dust from the engine bay is still required on very dirty engine bays.

Cleaning the engine bay is a job worth doing well and can pay dividends in the early identification of component failure. Having a sparkling clean engine bay will significantly enhance the resale value of your vehicle.

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