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3 dos and don'ts for cleaning your engine compartment

The fit and finish of a car's exterior often gets all the attention, and most gearheads will debate polishes and paint protectants for hours on end. If you want to find who is really detail-oriented at a car show, don't look at the hood—look under the hood. A spotless engine bay is tough to achieve and even harder to maintain. It's worth it, though, because a clean engine compartment is not only attractive but also conducive to spotting any leaks or issues when they start, rather than leaving them to be camouflaged by grime.


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I've been using a pressure cleaner with plain water for decades to clean engine compartments. It works very well, has no harmful chemicals and is efficient. The trick to using a pressure washer in the engine compartment is to know what components to stay away from and how close to a particular component one can get. The farther away, the less pressure. I don't recommend using this tool if you haven't done it before. Get a little carried away and you'll be replacing parts.

Intermediate Driver