While you use engine degreasers to clean your engine of grease, dirt, oil, and other contaminants, you can also use them on different surfaces if you select the proper degreaser. When choosing an effective engine degreaser, you must think about your primary needs and how much you want to spend to meet those needs. Keep reading to learn how to choose the perfect degreaser for you.
What Are the Different Engine Degreasers?
There are three different types of engine degreasers: petroleum-based, water-based, and foam degreasers. Each of these degreasers has its pros and cons. Deciding which kind of degreaser you want is the first step in choosing the right one for you.
Petroleum-based degreasers are typically the cheapest and most powerful degreasers. This makes them a compelling choice for people because they’re efficient in eliminating most types of grease and grime. They contain petroleum distillates and ethanol, making it easier for the product to cut through gasoline stains, lubricants, oil, and brake dust. However, the strength of these degreasers means they must be carefully applied. Most of these are not multipurpose (cannot be used on surfaces other than an engine). So, if you accidentally get some on your chrome rims or rubber tires, be ready to rinse it off quickly. Petroleum-based degreasers are also less environmentally friendly because of their toxic ingredients.
Water-based degreasers are much milder and gentler than petroleum-based degreasers. However, they are more expensive because they require more high-tech formulations to effective degreasers. Water-based degreasers are usually safe on multiple surfaces, making them suitable for multipurpose use. These degreasers are also more environmentally friendly. Besides the added cost, the only downside is that these degreasers can carry some pretty bad odors. However, some manufacturers add perfume to help counteract the bad smells.
Foaming degreasers are very easy to use but make up the minority of degreasing products. This type of degreaser doesn’t require rinsing. You simply spray it on the surface you want to clean, and the foam sticks to the grime and eats away at it. Then, all you have to do is wipe it dry. Even though they’re easy to use and stick better to engine surfaces, foaming degreasers are more expensive than petroleum and water-based degreasers.
What To Look For
When looking for an effective degreaser, there are several factors you must consider. From how it smells to safety and multipurpose compatibility, you must decide what factors are most important for the job or jobs you have in mind for your degreaser. These factors include:
- Ingredients-what a degreaser is made from dramatically impacts how powerful it is. You want a product that’s strong enough yet still worth the money you’re paying for it. In contrast, picking a degreaser that’s too powerful will require a lot of diluting and can be dangerous without the correct equipment. For multipurpose use, your best bet is to pick a degreaser that’s somewhere in the middle (not too strong, but not too diluted and weak).
- Fragrance-even with added fragrances, some degreasers still smell terrible. If you plan on driving your car soon after using a degreaser on its engine, you should choose one with a decent smell. It’s either that, or you risk driving with your windows down for weeks to follow.
- Surface Suitability-the proper engine degreaser can be very versatile. Every type of degreaser is formulated to be safe for specific services. To get your money’s worth, look for a degreaser suitable for multiple surfaces. While some may only work on plain metallic surfaces, others work perfectly on paint, rubber, and chrome.
- Size-when purchasing your degreaser, you may notice that many degreasers are available to buy in bulk or large containers. However, that doesn’t mean you have to buy all of that. Many degreasers can eat through their container if left to sit for too long. So, only buy what you need. Remember to account for whether the degreaser needs to be diluted when deciding on the correct size for you. Smaller bottles tend to be more expensive, but they also tend to be more powerful. So, you’re still getting your money’s worth.
You must degrease your engine periodically to prevent unnecessary oil and grease build-up. This build-up can cause expensive damage to your car, so it’s best to prevent the problems before you’re ever at risk of developing them.
When using an engine degreaser, you must read all the instructions for the product. These instructions will tell you what safety equipment to wear (e.g., gloves, masks, etc.) and how to dilute the degreaser solution (if needed). Make sure you pay attention to which surfaces you can use your degreaser on. If it’s potent, keep it away from the body of your car, your tires, and any other surface that doesn’t include the engine.
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