Under the Hood Cleanup
by Pat Goss
If you’re into cars, a lot of your time is probably spent looking under the hood. Well, Pat Goss has some tips to make sure you can find what you’re looking for.
Keeping the under hood of the car clean used to be the matter of aesthetics. You wanted it to look good and that was about as far as it went. But on modern cars it goes a lot deeper than that. See modern cars have all kinds of computer related items, sensors, and so on. They have wire harnesses, wire connectors; they are all over the place under the hood of the car. So keeping it clean can actually provide benefits in better performance and fewer problems as the vehicle ages.
But how do you keep it clean? Well you have to use the proper chemical of course. And you could use a high pressure washer, but turn the pressure way down. We don’t want to force water into places where it shouldn’t go. Also never use a steam cleaner under the hood of the car. The steam can be deadly on a lot of these parts. Also you’ll have to figure out what parts don’t want any water on them. And you’re going to cover those parts using plastic wrap or plastic sandwich bags or something like that. Now, once you have done all this, what you’re doing is you’re buying more reliability with the electronics on the vehicle.
Now, here’s a good example. This computer wire connector, it is very badly corroded. And that corrosion comes from either chemicals or from water getting inside the connector. Now, the way that happens, lots of times is you get a buildup of dirt or grease under the hood of the car. And it tends to migrate very, very slowly into these connectors and it takes contaminants with it as it moves in there. And those contaminants cause the corrosion.So, if you’re really a do it yourselfer, you know the proper steps, something else you can do, you have a check engine light? Well, you could find all of the connectors within that circuit and you could clean them using electronics cleaner. Now before you put it back together, what you want to do is you want to coat the contacts with di-electric grease. Now this is going to help keep moisture from migrating into the connectors and it’s going to prevent corrosion. So you can really gain a lot more reliability on the electronics on your car by doing this.
Now, here’s something where people get confused, do not under the hood of your car use spray silicone. The spray silicone can actually get into the oxygen sensors and damage them or kill them. So you never use spray silicone under the hood of a car. And if you have a comment or question, drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.