On modern cars, manufacturers have taken great pains to protect the engine bay from dirt and grime. Typically, car engines are outfitted with engine drip pans on the bottom that have the additional benefits of improved aerodynamics as well as keeping grime from the road out of your engine bay. Nonetheless, there are always small gaps that oil, grease, and dust can sneak through. Additionally, aging engines tend to start seeping oil past their gaskets as they increase in mileage. After tens of thousands of miles of driving, the amount of stuff that can accumulate on your engine becomes quite substantial.
If you couple the amount of gunk that gets on your engine with the fact that your engine heats up and basically cooks the gunk on like a pancake on an unbuttered frying pan, you realize that you eventually have quite a mess on your hands. Adding corrosion to the mix, things get ugly fast.
Fortunately, there is salvation in the form of the trusty parts washer. While these are extremely common at independent shops, speed shops, and auto dealerships alike, small ones are also available and priced affordably for the DIY mechanic.
What is a Parts Washer?
A parts washer, also often referred to as a parts cleaner, usually consists of a tub designed to wash car parts in. This tub is filled with a solvent which allows the user to both soak and scrub parts (often with a metal brush, rag, or toothbrush). There is most often a pump with circulates the solvent through a hose so that the user can rinse parts with a stream of water. They are particularly great for degreasing parts such as wheel bearings, transmission and engine internals, carburetor parts, and most metal parts.
Parts washers are usually electric and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most common for professional outfits tends to be floor standing models with dedicated permanent floor space in a shop. However, the best parts washers for gearheads who wrench in their garages are benchtop washers due to their portability, ease of storage, and limited capacities which make disposing of solvents a good bit less messy when the time comes.
Top Rated Parts Washer – Torin T10035
When it comes to picking a benchtop parts washer, one of the most ubiquitous on the market is the Torin T10035. It sports a 3.5 gallon capacity, which is more than enough to wash most small parts that you remove from your car. That said, you are unlikely to fit an engine block or transmission housing in the tub (unless you work on remote control cars instead of full size vehicles) but it really is big enough to do most jobs.
The cabinet is steel and coated in the traditional Torin red that has become so widely associated with the brand. It has a closing lid with a prop bar. A flexible hose sits offset to one side which can be aimed as you see fit. The electric pump flows a respectable half gallon per minute which is plenty to rinse grime and grease away.
Overall, it’s a great parts washer that has all the features you need with nothing that adds unnecessary cost. The price is also very reasonable, especially relative to the floor standing models which can be 5X to 10X the cost in some cases.
What’s the Best Parts Washer Solvent?
The best parts washer solvent is naturally the one recommended in the manual that comes with your parts washer. As such, you should always consult your user manual prior to adding any solvent to your part cleaner to make sure it is safe. If not, you could potentially create a fire or chemical hazard.
Some washers give you a choice of what solvent to use. One of the most common solvents is mineral spirits. Mineral spirits are relatively cheap and can be found many places. Some companies have made solvents with special formulations that improve on the properties of mineral spirits which results in cleaner parts with less effort. One such solvent is the B’laster Parts Washer Solvent. This solvent acts on oil and grease and does not react to metals, most plastics, or painted surfaces.
In addition, B’laster touts the ability of their solvent to minimize residue. Another nice feature is that the flashpoint is raised, which means the company has paid special attention to the flammability of the product. A higher flashpoint typically means that a chemical is less likely to ignite, which ultimately means that it is safer to use.
*It is important to note that special care must be taken any time you are using solvents. Proper consideration for ignition sources and ventilation are absolute musts for your safety. You must also be conscious of disposal laws (and ethics for that matter) which may warrant that you use a biodegradable parts washer solvent.
When it comes to working on cars, there is nothing better than reassembling a group of nice clean parts that are free of oil and grime. Portable parts washers make this a reality even at home in the garage. To learn more, feel free to take a look to see what other parts washers or parts washer solvents are out there. We hope you have found this info helpful!