How To Clean Harley Engine: Wash Your Bike’s Engine And Give It The Shine It Deserves


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How To Clean Harley Engine

Are you a Harley-Davidson biker looking to know the right way of cleaning your Harley-Davidson bike’s engine? If so, then you’re in the right place.

Cleaning a Harley engine is actually easier than some may think. First, you’ll have to remove any dirt from the engine and then wash it with soap and water. Dry your bike with a clean and dry cloth before giving your engine a neat polish.

In this article, you’ll get to know all about cleaning a Harley-Davidson bike’s engine, how to clean Harley engine, tips on how to clean the engine, and more. Continue reading to get all the answers that you’re looking for.

Clean the Harley-Davidson engine to give your bike a neat shine

Harley-Davidson enthusiasts are more often than not going to describe their bike as their companion or best friend. It isn’t just an amazing motorcycle, but it’s also special, and it can be regarded as a valuable member of your family. To maintain it properly and keep it running for many miles, it’ll be important to know how to clean a Harley engine. Sure, you’d rather want to ride your bike outdoors as much as possible, but cleaning it and maintaining is essential. Cleaning your Harley-Davidson bike and maintaining it properly means your bike will run for years to come.

You need to ensure that not just the engine, but your entire bike is clean, shining, and polished. This will enhance your overall riding experience while adding many years to your bike’s lifespan.

How To Clean Harley Engine - Harley Davidson Bike

How to clean Harley engine properly

As for the actual cleaning process, you should start in a convenient area. Look for a hard, level driveway. You need to have enough space to freely wash and clean without any obstructions. Once you’ve prepared the necessary tools, you can start the process of washing and cleaning your bike. You should remember that you’ll have to wash your Harley-Davidson bike’s engine with extreme precision and care. If you’re not careful, you could expose your precious bike to inadvertent damage. Here is the right way to clean your Harley-Davidson bike’s engine properly.

1. Remove grease and dirt from the engine

Before you start washing your bike’s engine, you should first clean it properly. This is the best time to remove any dirt and dust from the engine. You’ll want to clean off any grease in all areas, especially the ones that are hard to reach. It’s common for the bike’s engine to have dust and dirt sticking to it while riding. For removing the dirt, you’ll have to use warm towels with soap or use a cleaner to get the job done. Moreover, you should wait and rinse it off with water.

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In the nooks and crannies that you cannot reach, use rags and cloth to get the dirt. You might even use a toothbrush for cleaning the areas that you cannot reach around the engine and cylinders. Sometimes, all you’ll need is a decent engine degreaser for cleaning these areas. Spray it on, wait for a while, and wash it off.

2. Wash off the engine with soap and water

First, you should prepare two buckets. One of them with a soap and water mixture while the other with just water. One thing that you should take note of would be that the microfiber cloth or sponge you’re using should be free of any grease and dust particle. Moreover, prevent any damage by using a clean particle-free cloth.

After that, rinse your bike’s engine with clean water. Avoid the engine bay if you’re using a pressure washer, as it’s a water-sensitive area. You should soak the cloth/wash mitt in the soap bucket or spray on soap with the pressure washer. Remember, use your mitt or cloth for cleaning the engine with soapy water, unless there is grease. Rub the dirty area with light pressure to prevent any scratches. An important tip to remember is to keep your motorcycle wet while washing. This will make it easier to wash and rise while preventing soap from drying on the bike.

A foaming soap sprayer will keep the soap on the bike longer while ensuring it remains wet longer. Lastly, you should check that you’ve washed all the corners of the engine that have to be cleaned. Then, start rinsing it off with clean water. Make sure that all the soap has been properly rinsed off, especially in the hard-to-reach corners of the engine. You can make use of a wash mitt for ensuring the thorough cleanup of the nooks and crannies. Another important thing to keep in mind is that you should avoid pressure washing when rinsing as it could penetrate the engine.

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3. Dry your bike’s engine

Most bikers prefer using a microfiber towel when drying up their bike. They are safe, cheap, and clean effectively. However, a chamois is another wonderful tool to have as it is very effective at soaking up water.

First, you should wipe off the engine in all the possible sections. In case you find any dirt or grease, you should avoid using the towel in that area. Ensure that the engine is completely dry to avoid any spots. Double-check to make sure that you haven’t missed anything.

Last, you should ride your bike to remove any remaining water from the hard-to-reach areas of the engine. If necessary, stop the bike after a mile or so to wipe the bike again. You should be carrying a microfiber towel to wipe up water if necessary.

Another option would be to use a motorcycle dryer. It can easily help you dry your motorcycle. A leaf blower could work as well. You just have to ensure that it has a narrower attachment for pushing more forcefully. Air pressure will be another great way of getting into the nooks and crannies of the engine.

How To Clean Harley Engine - Drying Up Harley Davidson Bike After Cleaning

4. Polish the engine

The last step to cleaning your Harley engine would be to ensure that your bike has been polished and sealed. It is common knowledge that a properly polished Harley-Davidson bike can repel any dirt and grease. 

You could use wax along with a microfiber towel for polishing the engine and giving it a smooth shine. You will have to leave it on for a couple of minutes before cleaning it off. Remember to keep wax away from your windshield, as it could create a haze that can’t be removed easily.

For polishing your Harley-Davidson bike’s engine, you can also consider using a metal polish. It will help the metal portion of your engine shine. If the engine is getting very dull, you’ll have to clean, buff, and then polish it.

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Tips to remember when washing a Harley-Davidson engine

  • When washing your bike’s engine, you’ll have to remove all the items that you don’t want to wet like GPS, tank bags, and luggage 
  • You need to decide when and where to wash your bike as you’ll need to have enough space 
  • Avoid washing the engine directly after a long ride as you should give the engine enough time to cool down 
  • Avoid washing your bike on the stream as it is largely considered to be a risky option
  • While regular washing is recommended, you shouldn’t overdo it or your engine’s performance might get affected 
  • If you’re driving your bike daily, you should wash it weekly or biweekly
  • When cleaning the engine, check for any possible issues that you should get fixed before they become a bigger problem 
  • While high-quality cleaning products are important to use, using the wrong product could end up damaging the engine 
  •  When washing the engine, make sure that you don’t drop the sponge, wash mitt, or cloth on the ground 
  • Avoid wiping with a dirty sponge or cloth as even a small grit could end up scratching the engine 
  • If you’re working with strong and harsh chemicals, it’ll be helpful if you wear rubber gloves 
  • Never underestimate the effectiveness of using an old toothbrush for cleaning the hard-to-reach areas of your bike’s engine


Thank you for reading. Hopefully, now you know a lot more about cleaning a Harley-Davidson bike’s engine, how to clean Harley engine, tips on how to clean the engine, and more. Cleaning your Harley-Davidson bike’s engine is essential not just for the performance of your bike, but also for the longevity of the bike. Thoroughly cleaning your Harley-Davidson bike’s engine is actually easier than some may think. First, you’ll have to remove any dirt from the engine and then wash it with soap and water. Dry your bike with a clean and dry cloth before giving your engine a neat polish.

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White Star Rides is your go-to Harley-Davidson expert. We live and breathe these bikes. Our team has years of experience in fixing, riding, and loving Harleys. We know every part of these bikes and love sharing what we know with you. Whether it's about fixing a problem or just enjoying the ride, we're here to help. Trust us to make your Harley journey better and easier.

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