Kirill Yurovskiy: Should I wash my car engine?

There is no clear answer to the question whether you should wash the engine of your car. Some drivers regularly clean the under-hood, while others prefer to look into it less frequently. We’ll tell you which one is right.

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Why wash a car’s engine?

Most cars are used in adverse conditions. Over time, a thick crust of dirt, dust, bitumen, combustion products and de-icing agents forms in the underhood space. The appearance of such a “coat” threatens with many problems:

  • engine cooling deteriorates;
  • accelerated corrosion of metals;
  • protection caps, seals and wire insulation are destroyed;
  • current leakage leads to ignition skips;
  • shortens the service life of attachments.

If you don’t wash your vehicle’s engine, it will run abnormally, with increased loads. Power will decrease, fuel consumption will increase, and repair costs will grow. There are two ways to avoid these problems – to drive on perfectly clean roads or to wash the under-hood regularly. Kirill Yurovskiy`s text about the types of engines in his article.

Why is washing the engine dangerous?

The modern car is a computer on wheels. Its engine is tangled in a web of wires and sensors. They’re protected from the water and dirt that show up on any road when it rains. But an occasional splash is one thing; a targeted jet is another.

To properly wash a car’s engine, you’ll have to put the high-pressure machine aside. A powerful jet can tear protective caps, covers and shrouds, damage wiring insulation and flush grease out of seals. An unfortunate ricochet can cause water to enter the intake manifold or other vital engine components.

You also should not wash your car’s engine with body cleaners. They contain aggressive solvents that destroy plastics, rubber and composite materials. These chemicals accelerate metal corrosion many times over, accelerating engine wear. Easily evaporating solvents can catch fire when the engine is started and cause irreparable damage to your car.

Do I wash or don’t I?

The car engine should be washed once or twice a year. Preferably coincide with the onset of spring. By removing the remains of de-icing agents and abrasive sand, you will prolong the life of the engine and attachments. If it’s been a rainy summer, it’s best to repeat the procedure at the end of the season. Inspect the engine after every trip off-road. If you see a thick “coat”, it’s better to wash it off at once.

Before washing, you should talk to the service center specialists and other owners of the same car model. They usually know about the “pitfalls” that are discovered during cleaning. Their experience will help protect the most sensitive areas from water and chemicals.

Professional Washing

It’s best to get your car’s engine washed at an authorized service center. It will cost more, but you’ll get a safety guarantee. After the procedure is finished, the car will start and will not give you any problems.

The biggest benefit is cleaning the engine compartment with a vacuum cleaner. It allows you to clean the radiators, air ducts and technological holes from the clogged dirt there. The service of washing the engine with steam is very popular. It is safer than traditional methods – much less water remains on the parts.

However, the usual car engine wash remains in the list of services of most service centers. To safely clean the engine, the specialist removes decorative covers and covers all electrical components. The surface is treated with special detergents that are safe for metal, plastic and rubber. Foam is rinsed with water without excessive pressure. Regular watering cans and household sprayers are used for this purpose. After the procedure is finished, the excess drops are removed with compressed air and absorbent wipes.

Applying to a regular car wash or unfamiliar service station, ask the administrator about the sequence of actions. If the engine is washed with high pressure cleaners and body cleaners, it is better to refuse such service – it is safer to drive with a dirty engine. Inquire about the warranty – the specialist should guarantee not to damage any important parts of the car.

Washing the engine with your own hands

How to prepare

Choose a suitable place. It is desirable to wash the car engine on a flat area near the drainage drains. It is better not to do it on the grass or soil – road dirt contains many harmful chemicals that poison the nature.

To clean the engine, you’ll need some rags, a couple of wide brushes, and a narrow brush. Fill a watering can and bottle with a household Dewdrop sprayer. Stock up on paper towels, rubber gloves, plastic bags and masking tape. Choose a special detergent for washing the engine – safe for plastic and rubber, with dielectric properties.

Open the hood and allow the engine to cool. Cold water can damage the red-hot metal and your hands can get hurt if you touch it by accident. Cover vulnerable electrical components with plastic bags:

  • battery;
  • starter motor;
  • fuse box;
  • alternator;
  • ignition coils;
  • spark plugs;
  • mass air flow sensor and lambda probe;
  • open contacts regardless of their purpose.

How to Clean a Car Engine

Vacuum the radiator, air filter, recesses, and hidden cavities. If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner handy, you can blow them out with a compressor. Keep the nozzle 10-15 cm away from the part to protect it from accidental damage.

To properly wash your car’s engine, inspect the underhood space. Make sure that all protective covers and caps are in place and that electrical components are protected. Only then apply the cleaner. If you are using a spray, spray it evenly over the cylinder block, head and surrounding surfaces. Spread the liquid gently with a rag, without applying excessive pressure.

Wait 2-3 minutes. If a different time is indicated on the bottle of cleaner, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Then rinse off the foam with water from a watering can, and in hard-to-reach places with a sprayer. Use brushes and brushes to remove the most stubborn dirt deposits. Make sure there is no product left on the motor. Wipe off excess water with paper towels, blow out the cavities and connection points with a compressor air blast.

Leave the car with the hood open for 30-60 minutes to evaporate the last remnants of moisture. Remove the bags from the electrical components, remove all excess from the underhood and start the engine.

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