Car engine washing: pros and cons

Why do you need to wash the engine?

No matter how careful the car is, the engine will never be sterile. Over time, dirt can accumulate in such quantities that there is a risk of breakdowns. Here are the consequences of neglecting engine cleaning:

  • The heat transfer of the power unit deteriorates, and accordingly, overheating accelerates its wear;
  • due to contamination, leaks of technical fluids may not be detected in a timely manner;
  • dirt can lead to current leakage, therefore, starting the motor will become worse over time;
  • Oily dirt releases flammable vapors that can cause fires in the engine compartment.

Cars with heavily contaminated parts are often ignored when contacting a car service center, as this makes repairs and diagnostics difficult. This procedure may also be necessary for those who are selling a car.

A dirty engine can lead to a number of breakdowns

Washing technologies

Today, two technologies are used that may have internal variations (except, of course, for washing the engine by hand): Karcher washing and dry washing.

Washing using Karcher installations

The technology involves the use of special Karcher equipment, which uses a jet of hot water under pressure to remove dirt from the engine compartment. Before the procedure, special detergents can be applied to car parts to dissolve oily deposits. It is also practiced to use “Kärcher” without additional detergents. It is believed that the Karcher can damage the car, since due to the strong pressure, water can penetrate the generator or electronics. So is it possible to wash a car engine with a Karcher? It is possible, but only in cases of extreme necessity and in the absence of other means.

Dry wash

Steam washing technology is more modern and has more advantages, since it does not carry the same risk for engine compartment parts as a full-fledged water procedure. Cleaning operations are carried out with a special steam generator with a lot of attachments that make every corner of the engine compartment accessible. Steam is supplied under pressure sufficient to knock off dirt. The steam may contain reagents that help dissolve contaminants more effectively.

You can also perform a form of dry washing by hand. To do this, a special foam external cleaner is applied to the engine. After a few minutes, it will dissolve the dirt and it can be removed with a rag or brush. Naturally, this method is not used in car washes, since it is too labor-intensive and does not guarantee high-quality cleaning.

How is the washing done?

To wash a car engine, you need to use a special cleaning company that provides such cleaning services. A regular car wash will also do a good job of removing dirt from under the hood. Only the task of this procedure is not simply to remove contaminants with water pressure. It is also important to keep the engine and other car mechanisms working.

Specialists from detailing companies that provide comprehensive and detailed vehicle cleaning services know which auto chemicals are best suited for removing specific contaminants. They also understand how to properly clean the unit without harming it and nearby elements of various systems and mechanisms.

Some car washes provide engine cleaning services. Here are the most common procedures:

  • The engine compartment can be cleaned using a non-contact wash, as with regular body treatment. It’s worth saying right away that this is the most dangerous method for a car. For this reason, such car washes have a warning that after the procedure there is no guarantee for the serviceability of the power unit.
  • Another risky option is to clean the engine with chemicals. The reason is that the reagents may damage some plastic or rubber parts. Often this is not immediately noticeable, but literally after a couple of days, when the substance corrodes the walls of the pipe or wiring, the driver will have to take the car for diagnostics and repairs. Services that provide such services also have a warning that the company does not guarantee the serviceability of the vehicle.
  • Steam cleaning is used much less frequently, although in this case the motor is less exposed to water. Hot steam removes all types of contaminants well, from dust to old oil stains.
  • Do-it-yourself home cleaning process. Despite the fact that this is the longest procedure, it is more effective and safer than all others. Only in this case can you guarantee that after cleaning the engine and all car systems will work properly. When a car is cleaned by its owner, it happens much more carefully than a master who does not guarantee the functionality of the vehicle after the operation.

If there are no detailing companies in the area where the vehicle is located, then you can clean the internal combustion engine yourself. This procedure cannot be performed in the same way as washing the body (apply foam, wait a couple of minutes, and wash off with high water pressure). If washing is done this way, you can be sure that some part in the engine compartment will definitely be damaged. This could be electrical wiring, a generator, some kind of sensor, etc.

It is safest to use the dry type of engine cleaning. Although water is used in this case, only a small amount is needed. The key cleaner is a chemical spray or liquid that is applied to the rag. After treating the surfaces, the rags must be rinsed in clean water, and the treated elements are wiped clean until the smell of auto chemicals disappears.

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