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Old 13th January 2012, 17:47   #1
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Default Is It Necessary to Clean Under the Hood of a Car?

Most of us keep our cars clean and shiny and spend good amount of rupees on keeping the paint fresh and glossy. Very few of us take pain to clean the dirtiest place of a car and that is under the hood.

Now my query is why it is after all necessary to clean under the hood of a car? I have washed my WagonR and Honda City's engine bay couple of times but feared of rust. I also got to read sgitk's this thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/street...ting-away.html (Accident damage, but worse... My Swift is rusting away!)

and that made me to think twice before I wash this portion of the car. While I know the engine bay is pressure washed during service I would like to know if it is really necessary to keep this portion clean. I fear of rust and damage to electrical components because of water.

Please share your views on this.

PS - Mods please merge with existing or similar thread if it exists. I tried searching but nothing similar found.
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Old 13th January 2012, 18:01   #2
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Default Re: Is It Necessary to Clean Under the Hood of a Car?

I don't believe it is necessary to clean the engine bay as often as you would clean the exteriors. Rust & chance of damaging or dislodging wires or tubes/connections is something I definitely wouldn't want. What I do is send the car for an engine bay wash and dressing (detailing) every three months. I guess they use de-greasers and some other liquids to clean and dress it, and very less of water and water based cleaners.

The thought of the A. S. S. pressure washing the bay does stir me up uncomfortably, but I leave it thinking they know what they are doing.
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Old 13th January 2012, 18:07   #3
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Default Re: Is It Necessary to Clean Under the Hood of a Car?

When the engine bay is washed in the service centre, they dry it up through pressurized air and then sometimes even spray some other chemical to ensure there is no rusting.

I don't think it is appropriate for us to just wash the engine bay.

Apart from rusting, it could even damage some critical components/wires.

Of course, the way the cars are washed in the A.S.S leaves very little for imagination.

Now whether it is necessary to keep the engine spic and span - could be helpful in detecting leaks.

Last edited by libranof1987 : 13th January 2012 at 18:08.
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Old 13th January 2012, 18:13   #4
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Default Re: Is It Necessary to Clean Under the Hood of a Car?

I use WD40 Spray to keep the engine bay clean.
I am not sure if its recommended or not,but i have not faced any problems till date
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Old 13th January 2012, 18:22   #5
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Default Re: Is It Necessary to Clean Under the Hood of a Car?

My opinion would be to leave that to the A** guys. I've seen them do this at the Skoda service center here in Bangalore, and they use a pressurized spray of water.

When I spoke to the service engineer, he said, TWICE in a year is more than enough. It does not really improve any performance, except the aesthetics of the engine, and of course keeping clear of thick dirt so that leaks can be easily identified.

One could do it own their own, if you have access to a nozzle spray. Provided some pre-conditions are met. Cover all sensitive electronic equipment with plastic baggies, secured tight with rubber bands. Depending on your engine, this would include the alternator, coil, carburetor, air filter, and similar components in which water entry might interfere with functioning. Tighten motor and transmission oil fill caps are on tight.
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Old 13th January 2012, 18:25   #6
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Default Re: Is It Necessary to Clean Under the Hood of a Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshay4587 View Post
I use WD40 Spray to keep the engine bay clean.
I am not sure if its recommended or not,but i have not faced any problems till date
Considering the fact that WD40 can loosen bolts, I would never use it in the engine bay. Besides, it may be flammable too.

Even at the service centers, the cars are allowed to cool off for few minutes before spray washing, since there is a risk of electrical components failing due to sudden wide temperature fluctuations.
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Old 13th January 2012, 18:28   #7
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Default Re: Is It Necessary to Clean Under the Hood of a Car?

Friends ,

In my Opinion the engine bay needs to be kept clean just as any other part of the car, Imagine the smile on a technicians face when he opens up the hood to find a clean and well kept Engine bay smiling at him ,

I clean the engine once a week , not necessary with water , regular dusting should help keep the dirt away as much as possible , during the rains this becomes tricky so tend to use a damp cloth to wipe the hoses and surfaces large enough and capable of being cleaned with a damp cloth.

Regular cleaning in this manner will keep the engine clean and less offorts when the car is actually taken for a wash at the service station.

I know some may think its ridiculous to clean the Engine bay as well , but for those who have a phobia for cleaning will have a diff story to tell alltogether,

I use a small pressure washer to loosen up dirt in the not so delicate areas of the engine compartment which helps to clean the engine bay effortlessly.

Just my 2 bits .
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Old 13th January 2012, 18:45   #8
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Default Re: Is It Necessary to Clean Under the Hood of a Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by abdriver2000 View Post
Considering the fact that WD40 can loosen bolts, I would never use it in the engine bay. Besides, it may be flammable too.

Even at the service centers, the cars are allowed to cool off for few minutes before spray washing, since there is a risk of electrical components failing due to sudden wide temperature fluctuations.
I am aware of that,and i use it on a cold engine.
and i doubt if it can loosen up the bolts.
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Old 13th January 2012, 21:00   #9
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Default Re: Is It Necessary to Clean Under the Hood of a Car?

My authorised workshop does this job for me bi-annually. I don't follow the practice of using a water hose to hose down the engine bay. I only clean the radiator & A/C condensor coils at the start & end of summers.

The Engine bay was never meant to be water washed at home. Moreover, if done by an inexperienced person, it can actually lead to costly repairs. Areas like the fuse box & under bonnet ECU module are most vulnerable in this case.

Following a "If it ain't broke, don't clean it" school of thought is key here. I have seen one of the dirtiest of engine bays doing duty 8-12 hours a day. And, one of the 'cleanest', spic & span Swift engine going in for costly repair just because the owner was too meticulous about the cleanliness. Though I can't exactly blame him, as he was a professor in Microbiology with specialization in Bio Medical Sciences.
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Old 13th January 2012, 21:13   #10
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Default Re: Is It Necessary to Clean Under the Hood of a Car?

Never cleaned the engine myself, never needed to do and no problems so far in ~15 years of car ownership, so i would assume it is not really a problem. I do get it cleaned once i two months from a A.S.S. properly.
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Old 14th January 2012, 10:48   #11
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Default Re: Is It Necessary to Clean Under the Hood of a Car?

I used to use a damp cloth once in a month to clean the engine bay. But just yesterday, I have my car to the A.S.S. and they have cleaned the engine bay so well, that the car looks as if its brand new. I am sure they must have used pressurized water.
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Old 14th January 2012, 13:43   #12
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Default Re: Is It Necessary to Clean Under the Hood of a Car?

All of us enthusiasts would love to have a super-clean engine bay at all times. Unfortunately, in India's dusty conditions, it remains a distant dream (unless you clean the area very often).

I get the bonnet area cleaned by the service station guys only, and at the time of each scheduled service....works well for me.
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Old 14th January 2012, 13:49   #13
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Default

Slightly different flavour to the same question posted on the thread. How often folks get the under body cleaned i.e. Cleaning after putting the car on ramp.

I usually get it done once in two months and after every highway outing. In rainy season it surely gets very dirty and needs more frequent visits to the A.S.S. Would not cleaning slushy mud from underbody lead to rusting sooner?
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Old 14th January 2012, 16:01   #14
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Default Re: Is It Necessary to Clean Under the Hood of a Car?

I get under hood area, hood liner blown with high pressure air every 15 days or so for INR 50 . If some place shows leaks i get it cleaned with cloth and petrol after fixing the leakage source . The area has remained cleaned . I have always avoided water until it is all full of slush due to driving on road which are full of slush. The reason for avoiding water has been apart from my apartment where i have access to soft water every place i know of use hard water/ bore well water which destroys the copper contacts on connection which leads to reduced voltages to ECU over years and hence issues.
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Old 14th January 2012, 16:38   #15
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Default Re: Is It Necessary to Clean Under the Hood of a Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Never cleaned the engine myself, never needed to do and no problems so far in ~15 years of car ownership, so i would assume it is not really a problem. I do get it cleaned once i two months from a A.S.S. properly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter View Post
Friends ,

In my Opinion the engine bay needs to be kept clean just as any other part of the car, Imagine the smile on a technicians face when he opens up the hood to find a clean and well kept Engine bay smiling at him ,

I clean the engine once a week , not necessary with water , regular dusting should help keep the dirt away as much as possible , during the rains this becomes tricky so tend to use a damp cloth to wipe the hoses and surfaces large enough and capable of being cleaned with a damp cloth.

Regular cleaning in this manner will keep the engine clean and less offorts when the car is actually taken for a wash at the service station.

I know some may think its ridiculous to clean the Engine bay as well , but for those who have a phobia for cleaning will have a diff story to tell alltogether,

I use a small pressure washer to loosen up dirt in the not so delicate areas of the engine compartment which helps to clean the engine bay effortlessly.

Just my 2 bits .
While cleaning engine bay is not essential, it helps to keep it clean by dusting/ wiping off with a damp cloth. As suggested by others, it helps you detect any fault/ leakage & less dirt in the engine bay at the time of service. Also, washing radiator grill/ air intake dam with low pressure means cleaner radiator fins, resulting in enhanced cooling efficiency.
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