How to Clean Car Parts

by Lisa Musser

When you're performing auto repairs, you frequently will have to clean parts before replacing them. Over time, engine parts can become crusted with oil and gunk from the heat of the engine. Periodic cleaning is good to remove the dirt and burned on grease and keep parts from wearing out too soon. When you're performing a tune-up is a good time to remove some of those parts and give them a good scrubbing before finishing the job.

Remove the parts you will be cleaning. Keep all screws and bolts in a small plastic bag and set aside. Label each bag to its corresponding part. It is frustrating to search through a handful of screws to find the one that goes to that particular part.

Fill a shallow pan with cleaning solvent, degreaser or soapy water. Some dishwashing detergents work very well on grease. Place each part in the pan and soak for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how dirty the parts are.

Spray oven cleaner on badly crusted parts, if the grease and gunk remain after soaking. Place the part on a sheet of newspaper, spray on some oven cleaner and let it sit outside in the sun for 20 minutes.

Scrub the parts thoroughly with a brush or steel wool pad to remove the dirt and grease. Rinse and check for missed spots. Dry with a soft cloth.


  • check Wear rubber gloves when scrubbing the oven cleaner off the parts and work in a well-ventilated area. Oven cleaner fumes are bad when inhaled. Read the directions on the solvents before using and dispose of properly when finished.


  • close Do not use solvents on plastic parts or rubber rings as it can damage the plastic. Certain chemical solvents can eat right through rubber. Use the oven cleaner only on metal parts as it may be too caustic for plastic.

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About the Author

Lisa Musser is a freelance writer specializing in health and beauty information. She attended Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz. and began a career as a freelance writer in 2008 after spending five years in the health-care field as a certified nursing assistant.

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