Written By Car Bibles Staff
Published Dec. 8, 2020

When was the last time you popped your car’s hood and degreased the engine? Many car owners can forget about this chore, but it’s one that’s pretty important. If you want to ensure your engine is performing at its best over many miles of driving and many years of ownership, you need to degrease your car engine — even if it isn’t the most enjoyable task. When you use a quality engine degreaser, you’ll clean up your car’s engine and help it run more smoothly. It’ll eliminate built-up gunk, grease, and grime, removing or preventing clogs in various parts. A clean engine is also much easier to maintain. There are plenty of different products that can help you degrease your engine, but choosing the right one can be complicated. If you’re searching for the right engine degreaser for your vehicle, check out our top picks right here.

The Best Engine Degreaser

This product really does live up to its name, and it is capable of cutting through all sorts of crud. It can cut it on a wide range of surfaces as well. This is not really a specialist product designed for the automotive world. Instead, this is a cleaner with an exceptionally wide range of applications — one of which is degreasing engines. Not only can it clean grease and oil, but it also works to clean up glue, markers and crayon, paint, and tape residue, to name a few.

It’s also a very mild product that’s water based and biodegradable, and it contains no petroleum solvents, bleach, or ammonia. You get a gallon for a great price, but some people may prefer a more specialized, dedicated degreasing product.

Key Features
  • Very Wide Range of Applications
  • Removes a Number of Containments
  • Biodegradable & Water Based
  • Great Value
Specification
  • Brand Krud Kutter
  • Weight 8.95 Pounds

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Super Degreaser! If you’ve been on Car Bibles for a while you know we question any product that comes at us with some bold claim in the product name. However, when that product also comes from a highly reputable manufacturer like Meguiar’s, then we sit up and take notice.

This product is all about the powerful degreasing action. It is a unique formula specifically designed to tackle even the toughest grease, working hard to break it down so you simply rinse it away with a good stream of clean water.

It’s also specially formulated to be residue free, so after rinsing you won’t be left with any streaks or white marks — an important feature if you really want a sparkling engine you’ll be proud to show off.

It does have a strange herbal fragrance. Some people don’t like it, some people do, and many don’t even notice it, but as a somewhat unique feature, it is worth mentioning.

Key Features
  • Residue Free
  • Powerful Degreaser
  • Herbal Fragrance
Specification
  • Brand Meguiar’s
  • Model D10801
  • Weight 3.31 lbs

This product is not a dedicated automobile cleaning product; instead, it is a powerful degreasing (and cleaning) product with a range of applications. You can spray it onto your engine and let it work its magic. It’s non-abrasive, phosphate free and biodegradable, but we suspect it may not be as gentle as some other products on this list.

For example, hidden in the instructions it warns not to use it on plastic or aluminum.  That means you need to be very careful when spraying it around your car.

It is very cheap, on the other hand. While it cleans very effectively (and very quickly) just be sure to treat this product with extra care.

Key Features
  • Fast Acting
  • Phosphate Free
  • Very Low Price
Specification
  • Brand Purple Power
  • Model 4320P
  • Weight 8.3 lbs

After a few all-around cleaning products, we now get back to one designed specifically for use on cars, and it is made by one of our favorite brands, Chemical Guys.

This degreaser is not just orange in color for the heck of it. No, Chemical Guys harnessed the natural cleaning power of citrus to develop this powerful cleaner that is formulated to emulsify dirt, grime, and oil stains and spills. Once emulsified, the containments can be easily rinsed away with a spray of clean water.

It has a multipurpose element too and is suitable for use all over the vehicle, such as on the undercarriage and even to remove caked-on mud and grime from rims and wheels. It even works on other surfaces, so you can tackle oil stains on your garage floor and bring the sparkle back to your tools.

It’s relatively cheap, but you should note that this price buys you only 16 ounces of product – a relatively small amount since many other products on this list are sold by the gallon. It is very highly concentrated, however, so you can dilute it, whichalso adds a bit more value.

Key Features
  • Citrus Based Formula
  • Emulsifies Dirt & Grease
  • Highly Concentrated
Specification
  • Brand Chemical Guys
  • Model CLD_201_16
  • Weight 1.08 lbs

Despite its mildly aggressive name, this product from Oil Eater is actually a remarkably gentle product. It is — deep breath required here — non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-hazardous, and even USDA approved for non-food surfaces. It is also acid free and contains no abrasives or petroleum solvents.

That is an impressive list, but don’t let that detract from its main purpose. This product is made for degreasing, and it does that very well, tackling and dissolving all manner of greases and oils.

It’s also safe for use in a wide range of non-car related applications. It can be relied on to safely clean grease and oil stains from all sorts of materials, everything from carpets to asphalt. That makes this an extremely versatile product. It’s highly concentrated, so you can dilute it to suit whatever task you require, and it is a good value too. 

Key Features
  • Acid Free, Non-Abrasive
  • Highly Concentrated
  • Wide Range of Applications
  • Low Price
Specification
  • Brand Oil Eater
  • Model AOD1G35437
  • Weight 8.5 lbs

The crystal in the name refers to the fact that this product is crystal clear both in appearance and odor. This makes it stand out from Simple Green’s other line of cleaning products, many of which are, surprise surprise, green in color.

This means that this product lends itself very well to degreasing an engine where you really don’t want a range of containments — such as color dyes hanging around. Instead, this product is non-toxic, biodegradable, non-hazardous, non-corrosive, and non-flammable.

It is however a very effective degreaser and cleaning product, which will really get to work on your engine. It’s highly concentrated too, so you can dilute it in your spray bottle before application. That helps the product stretch a little further given the pretty high price tag.

Key Features
  • Fragrance & Color Free
  • Highly Concentrated
  • Non-Toxic and Biodegradable
Specification
  • Brand Simple Green
  • Model 19128
  • Weight 9 lbs

A bottle of WD-40 Specialist Industrial-Strength Cleaner & Degreaser gives you impressive cleaning power for your car’s engine. This powerful degreasing product can tackle both grease and grime with its biodegradable, bio-solvent formula. It’s safe for use on a variety of different surfaces, and it won’t cause any corrosion, etching, or flash rust on materials like glass, aluminum, copper, and other metals. This engine degreaser is also non-flammable, non-corrosive, non-abrasive, and low in odor. Once applied, the product will powerfully and quickly break down even the toughest grease, all while keeping your car’s most important parts safe.

This engine degreaser is also quite easy to use and apply to your car’s engine. It comes with a durable, shatter-resistant trigger and easy-to-refill port. You don’t need to use a funnel, and you won’t have to worry about making a mess. You can spray this degreaser right onto your engine and let it get to work.

Key Features
  • Safe to use on glass and various types of metals
  • Spray-on formula with a sturdy trigger makes application easy
  • Made with a biodegradable degreasing formula
Specification
  • Brand WD-40
  • Model 300349
  • Weight 1.05 lbs

The good thing about choosing a multi-purpose cleaner is that you know it is going to be mild enough to use on a range of surfaces. That is somewhat understating the abilities of this cleaner and degreaser from Simple Green, which has a phenomenal list of materials it is safe to use on.

That includes painted surfaces, aluminum, polished & stainless steel, chrome, plastic, and vinyl (and much more). While you still need to be careful (as this is a powerful cleaning product), you should be able to spray it all over your engine block without having to worry too much about any product blowback coming into contact with any surface it shouldn’t.

It has a wide range of uses in the home, making it extremely cost-effective. Plus, the product is non-toxic so you don’t have to worry about the runoff getting onto your lawn when you’re rinsing the car.

Key Features
  • Non-Toxic, Non-Corrosive
  • Wide Range of Applications
  • Safe on a Huge Range of Surfaces
Specification
  • Brand Simple Green
  • Model 13421
  • Weight 9.3 lbs

If you’re searching for an engine degreaser that will take the hard work out of cleaning your car’s engine, a bottle of Gunk Foamy Engine Cleaner is a fantastic choice. This tough cleaner can not only be used safely on all of your engine’s components, but it will also remove grease, grime, and dirt. And it doesn’t require much elbow grease at all. You can spray this foaming engine degreaser and it’ll pick up dirt and grease with quick foaming action. Rinse it off, and it’ll disappear — along with all the gunk from your engine. It can tackle everything from stubborn grease to oil and more. There’s no scrubbing required.

This engine degreaser can get your engine clean in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. It’s specially formulated for engines with plastic covers, and it’s safe to use on plastic, under-hood rubber, and auto paint. It’ll be tough on grease yet gentle everywhere else.

Key Features
  • Safe for use on all engine components, including plastic engine covers
  • Rinses clean with no scrubbing needed
  • Delivers effective cleaning in just 10 to 15 minutes
Specification
  • Brand Gunk
  • Model FEB1
  • Weight 1 lb

Best Engine Degreaser Buying Guide & FAQ

When you’re shopping for a quality engine degreaser, you want to make sure the product you choose can work effectively and offer a thorough cleaning. But how can you tell which degreasing products are really the best of the best? Well, it all comes down to their ingredients, cleaning power, and ease of use. Degreasing your engine doesn’t have to be difficult with the right option. And you can discover the best of the best available in today’s market with our engine degreaser buying guide.

Essential Factors to Consider When Selecting the Best Engine Degreaser

Multi-Surface

Take a look at the number of surfaces the product can be used on. If it’s saying that it can be used (or at least is not harmful to) plastics, painted surfaces, etc then you don’t need to be quite as careful when you’re using the product.

Multi-Purpose

Some products are intended just for the car, some are intended for use around the home and garage too. A multi-purpose product will generally be milder so it can work on a variety of surfaces. It is however better value, as you’re getting the ability to clean a wide range of surfaces with one product.

Smell

A petroleum based cleaner is probably going to smell pretty bad, and you may want to invest in a simple dust mask or something to block the odor. At the other end of the scale, some of these products have added perfume to smell nice. Whether this is at all important will depend on you!

Size

This also factors in with price. Frankly, there are some bargains on the list, with many products sold in gallon-sized bottles for relatively low prices. How has that low price been achieved, however, and will the cheaper options truly match the cleaning power of the premium brands?

Related Post: Best Grease Guns

Types of Engine Degreaser

While there are a lot of different engine degreaser options available, you can simplify the selection down to two basic types. Petroleum-based degreasers and water-based degreasers are the two most common types of engine degreasing products. And each type has its very own benefits and disadvantages. You can discover what a petroleum-based degreaser or water-based degreaser can offer below.

Petroleum Based

In general, petroleum-based cleaners will usually be cheaper than a water based product. This is because it is naturally a stronger cleaning product, which doesn’t need the high end formulations that are found in water-based versions. They are also very powerful cleaners, but they can be more abrasive than the water based solutions so you need to be careful when applying them and wipe away any runoff or splashback that sprays onto painted surfaces, plastics, chrome, and aluminum (unless the product specifically states it is safe on these surfaces).

Water Based

A degreaser with a water base will naturally be that much gentler and milder than petroleum based versions. They can also be just as effective a cleaning agent, though they will often boast a more high tech formulation to tackle grease and oil than the raw muscle power of petroleum based products. They are going to be milder to use on a range of surfaces, meaning that you won’t have to panic quite so much if the product comes into contact with other surfaces on the car – many products are in fact designed to clean them too. They will usually be more environmentally sound too, so you don’t have to worry about run-off damaging your lawn. The downside is they usually carry a higher price tag.

Beyond these two popular options, there is another type of engine degreaser you can consider: a foaming engine degreaser. Foaming products are a bit different, and they offer a different application method as well as a different kind of cleaning approach. There’s a wide selection of foam degreasers available, and they can be worth considering if you want an alternative option.

Engine Degreaser FAQ

Have any questions either especially about degreaser products, or the related topics of cleaning your engine? Well, you’re in luck friend, because this is our section all about Frequently Asked Questions when it comes to Engine Degreasers.

Q: What is In Degreaser?

There is quite a range of ingredients in a degreasing product, and each one will have a slightly different mixture. Even where they share ingredients, they will often be in slightly different quantities across the various brands. Broadly speaking however these products contain some kind of agitator that works to break down the grease, oil and dirt as well as a solution (normally either petroleum or water based) into which the agitating ingredients are suspended. The cleaning ingredient(s) differ from product to product and are often a closely guarded secret held by each manufacturer. In our list above you can see some products that include an Emulsifying agent to quickly break down grease and oil and make them easy to wash away. We even have a product that uses Citrus as its cleaning agent. Each manufacturer may not specify exactly what the cleaning agent is, but broadly speaking they all perform the same function.

Q: What is Engine Detailing?

Remember when you were a kid and your Mom told you to clean your room and you just stuffed everything into the closet and played Playstation instead? That is the same as taking your car to an automatic washer. It looks clean, but it’s only really touching the surface. Do you also recall when she caught you stuffing your dirty laundry and old toys into the closet, and you spent a summer afternoon filling up garbage bags with crap? That is a level of deep and long lasting cleaning equivalent to engine detailing. Engine detailing is a very deep clean of the engine block that requires time and tools – but it is worth it for the end results. Here is a nice man with a ponytail to explain further.

Q: Is Degreaser Harmful?

Yes, if use it as a mixer in a cocktail. No, if you follow the instructions. Depending on the type of product you’ve gone for, there will be some materials it is safe to come into contact with and some it is not. Read the instructions on the product you buy and everything will be fine.

Q: What Parts to Cover when Cleaning an Engine?

Make sure you cover sensitive parts of the engine before you start, such as:
– The Distributor
– All Electronic Components
– The Carburetor
– The inlet holes of any air intake systems
– You don’t need anything fancy either — some plastic bags will do, just tape them into place if needs be.

Q: How to Remove Engine Sludge?

Engine sludge is a little different from the build up of oil and grease found on the engine surface. It builds up if you haven’t changed the oil in a while. The easiest way to tackle this is to add a chemical sludge remover to the oil and idle the engine for 10 minutes. Then perform a full flush to remove the old oil (and sludge) and replace with fresh synthetic oil.

Our Top Pick

Our pick for the best engine degreaser is the Krud Kutter Original Concentrated Degreaser. This cleaning product is one seriously standout product — it can degrease your engine without adding potential contaminants like color dyes under the hood. It’s made with a non-toxic, biodegradable, and non-hazardous formula that’s highly concentrated so you can determine just how tough you’d like its cleaning power to be. This engine degreaser is also non-corrosive and non-flammable, two critical features of any good degreaser. And it can deliver very effective results.

Sources:

  1. Engine Oil Leak Fire – Croberts.com
  2. How to Detail an Engine – Youtube.com

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