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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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Using just the right amount of detergent and water especially under pressure can be delicate work. I use a small pressure sprayer communally used for lawn and pest sprays It can be found inexpensively at your local home improvement center. The wand reaches tight spaces and you have a precise control of the flow. Use your favorite degreaser, agitate thick stuff with a nylon dish brush from the dollar store and rinse off with the  sprayer. A small wet/dry shop vac will also help. First by vacuuming up all the loose detritus in the engine bay. Then after wet cleaning you can both suck up excess liquid that has settled and is not draining or reverse the hose to the outlet side and blow stuff out of tight places if you do not have compressed air available. 

Pit Crew