Engine Bay Cleaning

Engine Bay Cleaning

The engine bay cleaning process can be simple, safe and inexpensive. However, it is a topic where you will definitely find people at opposing ends of the spectrum. One one side you will have proponents that claim nothing needs to be done in the engine bay, as far as cleanliness is concerned, plus they might argue introducing water via a hose sprayer is just inviting problems. The other side of the argument is that modern engines are engineered to handle moderate levels of water spray, and would benefit from cleaning once in a while. Let’s look at some reasons that would make one consider cleaning their engine bay, what low cost options and materials you would need for such an undertaking, and what precautions and steps to follow. 

DISCLAIMER: Any and all content provided on this site and YouTube channel is Cheaper JeeperTV’s opinion and for educational and discussion purposes only. Seek a professional’s advice where appropriate for your vehicle.

Reasons For An Engine Bay Cleaning

If you were to review comments on some forums, some people state that an engine bay cleaning would be advisable for a number of reasons. For example it would;

 i) keep mechanical components and belts free of grease and grime, thereby enabling them to function properly, wear longer, and ultimately save you money, 

ii) enable you to see if and where you might have some leaks, enabling a quick repair before something catastrophic and expensive occurs, 

iii) keep your engine bay looking good, possibly making it easier to sell at resell time, and finally,

iv) stoke that sense of satisfaction you get from looking after your own Jeep.

Thus it’s evident that there are a number of good reasons for an engine bay cleaning once in a while. Ultimately it ends up helping you to save a little money by avoiding premature maintenance items, and aids in locating necessary repairs before catastrophic and expensive consequences.

Materials Required

Only a few items are required if considering an engine bay cleaning.  The internet will have a variety of techniques on how to do this, but the following items are required for the process described in this article and this video. Basically you will need;

  1. A spray bottle of degreaser,
  2. An old brush to use for agitation of stuck on grime while soaking in the degreaser,
  3. A foam cannon to further clean off the now dirty degreaser from the engine bay,
  4. A hose to wash off the soap and degreaser
  5. A air compressor or leaf blower to blow off excess water on the engine bay,
  6. A detailing cleaner/conditioner and microfibre towels for the hoses and plastics under the hood


The following instructions can be followed to quickly and inexpensively perform an engine bay cleaning. A video on the process can be found at this link.

Precautions: Before you start, put a plastic waterproof bag over the air intake and electrical components such as the alternator.  Do not apply full water pressure on such components.

Step 1 – Begin spraying the engine bay with a degreaser.  There are many reviews online about different degreasers available to do this job. LA’s Totally Awesome is not just one that has proven to be very effective, but a one litre bottle can be purchased very inexpensively at The Dollar Tree.

Step 2 – Use an old brush to agitate any grime or dirt that may require some loosening.

Step 3 – This step can be skipped if you do not have a foam cannon and pressure washer, but if you have one, spray the engine and degreaser with a foam cannon for additional cleaning. How to use a foam cannon for cleaning can be viewed on a video at this link.

Step 4 – Rinse down the engine bay with a hose being careful not to spray full-on into any components like the air intake and alternator, or other electrical components.

Step 5 – Use an air compressor or leaf blower, to blow excess water off of the engine bay and facilitate drying.

Step 6 – Use a conditioner/cleaner to detail the hoses and plastics in the engine bay. 303 Aerospace protectant is the best product from my experience for this type of job. The video at this link explains where it can be found for a low price.

Step 7 – Step back and enjoy the engine bay cleaning job you just did.

So not only can you be satisfied with a nice clean engine bay that looks great, but you can also enjoy the fact that you are saving money by knowing which inexpensive products to use, by extending the life of belts and some other components, and by catching any engine bay issues before they become more catastrophic endeavours down the road. Links to products used can be found on the Featured Products page of this site.

Foam Cannon Jeep Wash

A Foam Cannon Jeep Wash

A foam cannon Jeep wash can be an easy and inexpensive undertaking and an alternative to the typical bucket wash method, as seen in this article and video. Below you will find a list of the materials required, a list of steps involved, and tips on how to get what you need inexpensively. A video of this foam cannon process is also available at this link.

DISCLAIMER: Any and all content provided on this site and YouTube channel is Cheaper JeeperTV’s opinion and for educational and discussion purposes only. Seek a professional’s advice where appropriate for your vehicle.

Materials Required For a Foam Cannon Jeep Wash

Only a few items are required if considering washing your Jeep with a foam cannon.  Basically you will need;

  1. A foam cannon
  2. A good car wash soap suited for a foam cannon
  3. A pressure washer, gas or electric, that produces the appropriate amount of gallons per minute of spray, and 
  4. A wash mitt is possibly required if you wish to rub some tough spots clean.
Material Needed

Instructions For a Foam Cannon Jeep Wash

By following the next series of steps, you will be able to clean your Jeep using the foam cannon method.

Step 1 – Fill the foam cannon to the 200 mL mark.

Pour in soap

Step 2 – Fill the foam cannon bottle with warm water mixing the soap with the warm water.

Step 3 – Attach the foam cannon to the gas or electric pressure washer.  The pressure washer MUST be rated at about 2 gallons per minute. 

Step 4 – As you prepare to begin spraying, adjust the volume of soap dial on the top of the foam cannon, and the nozzle of the foam cannon to give you the desired amount of foam and spray angle.

Cannon controls

Step 5 – Begin spraying on the Jeep while it is dry.  This allows the soapy foam to cling to the dirt, loosen it, and begin to drip it down the side of the Jeep to the ground.  Do NOT allow the soap to dry.  If the Jeep wasn’t too dirty to start with, you can begin to rinse the Jeep after a couple of minutes of soaking.  If it was exceptionally dirty, you may elect to repeat the wash and rinse cycle two or three times, or just add repeated coats of soapy foam to allow it to soften and remove the dirt over more time.

Step 6 – While you give the soap time to soak into the dirt and run off, I sometimes remove the tough spots, and bugs on the grill and windshield using a microfibre wash mitt.

Wash with mitt

Step 7 – After you’re satisfied with the amount of soaking of the foam on the dirt, remove the foam cannon from the pressure washer and rinse off the Jeep with just water.


Step 8 – Further drying and detailing instructions can be found in the bucket wash method article and video, but for the most part, you have just easily and quickly washed your Jeep with a foam cannon.

How to Get the Material You Need

Below are instructions on how to get what you need, and how you can get it, inexpensively. Links to products mentioned in the article are also found on the websites Featured Products page.

Foam Cannon –

Professional quality foam cannons can run upwards of $200.  The one I used in this article and video, was a budget brand, Amazon acquisition that cost under $30 (CDN) I was satisfied with its performance and quality, and recommend getting one of these foam cannons for the average Jeep lover trying to have fun looking after your Jeep.

Car Wash Soap –

Reviews online rate different soaps for their performance in a foam cannon.  The soap I used, as was evident in the article and video, worked very well in the budget brand foam cannon, and would use it again.  Some other soaps received good reviews online, but I haven’t tried them yet.

Pressure Washer –

Whatever pressure washer you use, it should be capable of spraying about 2 gallons per minute in order to produce adequate foam action.  

The pressure washer featured on the “Featured Products Page” has received good reviews from people using the foam cannons, and is likely the one I’d get if I didn’t already have a capable pressure washer.

Pressure washers that function at this capacity aren’t cheap, and some people already have pressure washers that do not meet this criteria.  For those people, some folks on the forums have shared that by replacing the orifice in the foam cannon with one that has a hole size of 1.1mm, they have been successful at producing foam from the cannon with their existing pressure washer.

So it isn’t necessary to spend upwards of $200 on a pro level foam cannon, when as evident in this article and video, a budget brand foam cannon can still function well enough to do the job of washing your Jeep. The foam cannon is a quick and easy way to clean your Jeep, and now that we’ve learned it can be done relatively cheaply. Therefore, we can now use the extra time and money that we’ve saved to ponder what else we can now buy for our Jeeps.

Subscribers Tip

Hello Cheaper Jeeper, new subscriber here. I have reviewed many many videos from professional detailers and I feel I should let you know that according to their process you are doing it wrong and are risking scratches in your clear coat. This is a lengthy process but this is what I learned. 1) Rinse your Jeep with the power washer to loosen up and whisk away any surface contaminants. I do this on the underside of my Jeep as well. 2) Now that the remaining contaminants have absorbed the water apply the foam from the foam cannon. I hit the underside of the Jeep, and wheel wells as well. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and make sure you are in the shade or it’s a cool cloudy day. The foam/soap will work on the remaining contaminants and they will be removed in the next 2 steps. 3) Rinse the Jeep with the power washer completely. 4) Get a bucket of water and a bucket that contains your soap and water. Dip your mitt or whatever you use to wash your Jeep with into the soapy water and wash it with a front to back motion. This motion will eliminate swirl marks. 5) After washing by hand, rinse it with the power washer. Dry it completely, I use the assistance of a leaf blower for all those Jeep places that store water! 6) The surface should be super clean, take the back of your hand and lightly drag it across the surface, or you can do the same with a dry microfiber. It should glide across the surface. If it grabs you could have some contaminants buried deep into the clear coat, don’t worry! Just purchase an auto detailing clay bar and some kind of lubricant. You will be amazed at what comes out even after such a thorough cleaning. There are tons of videos showing you how to clay bar, so refer to those for that process. As far as a ceramic coating that is easy, I use The Last Coat. It’s not a full blown ceramic coat but I think it does a fantastic job and the water repelling properties are amazing. I’m not sponsored by them or anything. I’ve tried just about everything on my Jeep and the hot Southern California sun makes the others I’ve tried fail after about a month or two on the hood, fenders and roof (horizontal surfaces). I hope this helps!

Signed Bill

Wash a Jeep

Cleaning Your Jeep Wrangler

Cleaning your Jeep Wrangler Exterior is a topic that will elicit gut wrenching reactions from both sides of the spectrum. Some feel that the Jeep Wrangler is an offroad vehicle, and that the mud and dirt collected on the Jeep belongs there. I think they have a point, and it still looks great!  However, this article will focus on WHY clean your Jeep, WHAT products you can use, HOW to do it, and IF you were to practice the art of cleaning your Jeep, the possible outcomes for you in the long run.

DISCLAIMER: Any and all content provided on this site and YouTube channel is Cheaper JeeperTV’s opinion and for educational and discussion purposes only. Seek a professional’s advice where appropriate for your vehicle.

Reasons for Cleaning Your Jeep Wrangler JL

Even though a Jeep Wrangler JL looks as good, if not better, dirty than when it is clean, there are reasons that warrant cleaning your Jeep. 

Reason to Clean Your Jeep Wrangler


You won’t find many arguments against keeping your Jeep windows clean.  At the very least it can be a safety issue.

Paint Finish:

When the paint is clean, you are able to see damage or scratches in the paint that can be corrected before rust is allowed to take hold. Of course, on the Wrangler JL, this is mitigated somewhat by the fact that the doors, hood and tailgate are aluminum.

Mechanical Components:

An obvious example of this would be brake callipers.  Mechanical components such as brake callipers will function better and longer if they are kept clean of sand, salt and mud.  Furthermore, a more extreme example would be if you take your Jeep off road and through mud. In that scenario, the radiator is definitely a component of your vehicle that you’ll want to clean, or your engine will overheat, and possibly with catastrophic results. 

The engine also falls into this category, and even with this, you will find those who feel you should keep the engine bay clean, and those that say you should leave it alone.  Those on the side of the argument of keeping the engine bay clean, will cite reasons such as ease of noticing any leaks, keeping dust and particles off of belts to prolong their performance and life, and some even suggest layers of grease and dirt can cause some items under the hood to not function optimally. 

The Satisfaction That Comes From Looking After Your Own Jeep

Pride of ownership is not only another reason to keep your Jeep clean, but also not to keep it clean. Some who offroad, love that they do that with their Jeep, and dirt on the Jeep is a result of it being in its natural environment.

Of course then there are those of us that just love our Jeeps and want to keep every aspect of it in its optimum condition. The following information and this video will explain to those in the latter group how to clean their Jeeps.

What You Need for Cleaning Your Jeep Wrangler JL

The following information is for those interested in the basic steps to follow for cleaning your Jeep Wrangler JL. For those involved in extreme water fording and mudding, further measures would be necessary and are not covered in this article. Before we look at a suggested car wash process, let’s first gather the products and materials that we will use.

Products and Materials Needed

The following materials and products needed to clean your Jeep Wrangler are listed on our Featured Products page and below with an explanation: 

Large Bucket

A large bucket or pail to hold the car soap and water is necessary. Some people even use a second pail in which to rinse the car wash mitt before dipping it back into the soapy water pail.

Car Wash Soap

Use a specific pH balanced Car Wash Soap. Some people use dish soap, but other’s state it is too harsh on the paint, and any wax products you use can get stripped from the car with dish soap. I usually buy whatever brand is on sale.

Microfibre Hand Wash Mitt or Sheep’s Wool Hand Wash Mitt

When washing the Jeep, using a lush microfiber hand wash mitt or a “genuine” Sheep’s wool hand wash mitt is recommended.  These products will hold a lot of the soap and will not impart micro scratches into the clear coat finish on the paint. Be careful not to fall for the synthetic Sheep’s wool mitts, as they will absolutely put scratches into your clear coat finish.

Drying Towel

A thick microfibre towel or similar product would be a helpful tool in your arsenal to wipe up any water left on the Jeep after the wash.  This will help eliminate water spots on your finish.  The product I use which is absolutely amazing is the “Absorber” towel. It effectively absorbs and holds any water, easily wrings out, and does a great job, and quickly

Microfiber Towels

It’s good to have a number of these on hand to clean up any deeply soiled or greasy spots during the car wash process. These can be picked up anywhere and are frequently on sale.

Tire Care Products

There are also many tire care products to clean the rubber of your tires and get them looking nice and black, instead of that faded brownish look they develop after a period of exposure to the sun. The products that people use will have a range of attributes from products that leave the tire shinier than other products, last longer, are more expensive, are easier to apply, etc. The internet is rife with product comparisons. For me the product that leaves my tires looking the way I like, and that lasts fairly long, and is easy to apply is Meguiars Tire Shine Spray. 

It isn’t the cheapest tire care product on the shelves, but I haven’t been satisfied with them as much as I am with the McGuire’s product.

Rubber/Plastic/Vinyl Cleaning Product

Any rubber or exterior plastics on your Jeep should be cleaned then treated with some type of Rubber/Plastic/Vinyl cleaning and conditioning product to minimize the degrading effect of the constant bombardment of the sun on these materials. The market is flooded with many products for this purpose, but the one all-purpose product I use, and it is supported by many Jeep, Auto, RV and Marine enthusiasts is 303 Aerospace Protectant.  

That’s the singular product that can meet your rubber/plastic/vinyl cleaning and conditioning needs. 

Wheel Care Products

Stock wheels(rims) on a Jeep Wrangler are often alloy wheels that have been painted and clear coated.  Given that, one can simply wash them with the car soap you’ve been using, as the final stage of the car wash process.

Steps for Cleaning Your Jeep Wrangler

When cleaning your Jeep Wrangler, or most cars for that matter, it’s helpful to follow a simple plan that involves a few simple logical steps. 


  1. Wash from the top down and underneath, leaving the wheels for last
  2. Dry the Jeep to eliminate water marks
  3. Clean & treat the plastics, vinyl, rubber and wheels 
  4. Apply wax or sealant.


  1. Remove car mats and clean & condition them
  2. Vacuum the interior
  3. Clean & condition the plastics
  4. Clean the windows

What You Get IF You Regularly Clean Your Jeep

Ultimately, by regularly keeping your Jeep clean, you will attain satisfaction by knowing that your Jeep will be; i) easier to reclean, ii) has paint and body being maintained in good condition, iii) has clean, properly maintained, longer lasting mechanical components, which will iv) leave more money left in your pocket at the end of the day as a result.  Your interior will be able to be maintained in nicer condition, the Jeep will have a higher resale value, will be easier to resell.

By regularly cleaning your Jeep, the money you saved fixing or repairing items from neglect can be spent on… say… other things for your Jeep?