7 tips for cleaning old car parts – Hagerty UK
Of all the unsexy projects and tasks that make up the – sometimes painful – steps of any project or restoration, cleaning the parts and pieces while everything is apart probably tops the list of least fun tasks. It’s a necessary evil though and a little attention to detail at this point goes a very long way in the final result. There is no sense in “saving time” by leaving everything dirty and dealing with grease and grime working its way back into places it shouldn’t be and causing you to do the task twice.
Cleaning can be simple as wiping off some gunk and as involved as soaking a bunch of little parts in a solution overnight before a thorough scrubbing. Regardless of how deep you need to clean, here are seven tips that will make sure your final product is one to be proud of.
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A mixture of soap and water is the perfect place to start cleaning.
Start with the easiest and safest form of cleaning first. This often means a wipe with a clean towel or rag to see just how bad the situation really is. Sometimes just a clean rag is enough to remove everything that needs to go and leave the surface in acceptable condition. If it isn’t, it will at least tell you just how bad it is and what the right course of action might be.
Nitrile gloves keep you from soaking up solvents and oils into your skin. 7mm thick offer a sweet spot of durability and affordability
This isn’t an article about safety, but it bears reminding all you DIYers that many chemicals used in automotive processes are hazardous and may be damaging to the human body – and it might not be immediately evident. For example, a common cleaning hack is to use brake cleaner to remove oily residue, but it is also absorbed by the skin and carried in the bloodstream to the liver where it sits, and sits, and sits. Our organs cannot process chemicals like carb or brake cleaner and therefore it just accumulates and can cause long-term health issues. Disposable nitrile gloves keep fluids and chemicals from being absorbed and while they can be inconvenient at times, it’s better than doing yourself harm.
Use the right stuff
There is a wide range of chemicals on the shelves of your local car parts store that claim to remove the nasty grime with a spray and rinse process. Sometimes those work easily, other times it causes chaos. While they may remove grease they can leave residue on aluminium surfaces and cause corrosion if not rinsed thoroughly.
The same goes for rubber pieces. Warm water and a light detergent is often the best solution to prevent rubber from distorting, discolouring, or being attacked by aggressive solvents. On the other side oven cleaner can work miracles on cast iron pieces that have tons of baked-on grease and can only be chipped away with aggressive wire brushes before a water rinse. Match the product and process to your material for best results.
Be careful with your finish
Steel wool can be less aggressive than you might think and works great in a lot of places
A key thing to bear …….