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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.
Two tips: (1) It's easier to maintain a clean engine bay than to wait until it's Grunge City. Of course, if you are resurrecting a barn find, or worse, a back-of-the-garage find, you need to do the heavy duty stuff. But keeping a new car clean, even after 15 years, is way easier and needs less invasive chemicals and procedures. Generally, I clean the engine bays every other car wash. Good old Lemon Pledge works fine. (2) Motorcyclists have been using S100 for decades. It not only works on all levels of dirt, but it leaves a nice finish on metal, rubber and plastic surfaces. You DO have to rinse with a hose, so take the necessary precautions. However, I have found that if your car can keep running fine after driving through a puddle, you don't have to go crazy. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS!!! S100 can be found at any bike shop, but be careful as they make you walk past all the motorcycles to get to the parts department.