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Tips on Washing Your Engine
Aside from keeping the outside of your vehicle looking like brand new you also want to make sure you periodically clean the engine compartment. There are many reasons for doing this, including helping prevent rust, to check for oil or fluid leaks and to detect belt wear. To soften the grease and grunge that collects in the engine compartment you should start the engine and let it run for a few minutes and then shut it off. If you can just hold your hand on engine without burning, then it is warm enough to clean. The proper temperature for cleaning the engine is warm but not hot.
While the engine is cooling down you will want to cover the openings on the motor where you do not want water to get in. These include the air intake/air filter, the distributor, the coil and the oil dip stick/breather. You can use plastic baggies and rubber bands to cover the openings or a old car cover. You will also want to check the tightness of the oil filter cap, power steering cap, windshield washer fluid cap, battery filler caps and all other caps.
Now that you have the engine warm and everything is sealed, spray the engine and engine compartment with a high quality non petroleum based degreaser. Start at the bottom and work up, that way you won't be getting your face covered with degreaser.
Allow the degreaser to set for about three to five minutes and then use a 100% cotton towel or a soft brush to start removing the heavily soiled areas. Then, re-spray and re-brush any areas that need additional cleaning. Once the entire engine and engine compartment have been cleaned, rinse it thoroughly with water. You don't have to use a high pressure sprayer, a gentle spray will work just as well and you won't have to worry about getting water in any sensitive spots.
Once the engine compartment is clean you can remove the plastic bags and rubber bands. Then dry any puddles and aluminum parts with a soft towel, but use paper towels to thoroughly dry the battery. At this point, start the engine and allow it to warm up. This will dry the rest of the engine and will evaporate any moisture that has collected.
Once everything is dry and completely cooled you should wax the painted areas of the engine compartment, but not the engine. If the undercoated aluminum areas are dull or have white corrosion, use a mild metal polish to help restore the finish. At this time check the battery terminals to make sure they are clean. If they are not clean you can disconnect the cables and clean both the cable terminals and the battery posts with a wire brush.
Next, check all hinges, throttle cables and shocks to see if they need a thin coating of non silicone lubricant. Finally, check all fluid levels and remove any stray baggies and you have completed cleaning your engine.
Protect Against Leaf Damage
Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year in the United States as trees prepare for winter by shedding their leaves. Many people love the process of changing foliage, as leaves change vibrant colors and eventually fall gracefully to the ground. Although beautiful, these leaves can be a huge nuisance. After the spectacular process of color change, the leaves carpet the ground and become a huge mess for home and car owners to clean. They can clog gutters, make roads slippery, and leave behind sappy residue. In fact, if the leaves build up on your car, they can leave behind permanent leaf-shaped stains that will damage the exterior. Leaves are loaded with sap, pollen, and other acidic coatings that transfer on to the car when left for long periods of time. There are a few things you can do to prevent your car from being damaged by heaps of falling leaves.
First, you should prevent the leaves from landing on your car to begin with. One solution to this problem is to not park under trees, which may not be an option for most people. If leaves are on your car each morning, you can simply clean your car daily. Although, taking leaves off every day can be a bothersome, especially for those who don't have easy access to their car or the extra time. However, it is especially important to remove leaves before you drive. This can cause micro abrasions in the exterior and paint of your car. Also if you allow leaves fly off at high speed or you use your wipers to swish them away, this can be an incredibly dangerous hazard to you and other drivers once you start driving. Imagine a storm of orange and yellow leaves unexpectedly hitting the driver behind you.
If cleaning leaves off every morning is too much of a hassle, the best thing you can do to ensure protection is to cover it with a car cover. Not only will you be protecting your car from stains, but it'll be protected from scratches from the leaves as well. Car covers are a low-cost way to make sure your car stays clean and damage free from falling leaves. It will also give you the peace of mind that your car is safe and undamaged. Covering your car will protect it against factors such as rain, dust, wind, snow, ice, sun, and other environmental issues. With the rapid weather changes that occur during the Fall, and early morning frost being a factor, protecting your car this fall can increase the life of your paint and bodywork.
If you do find yourself with paint damage from falling leaves, there are a few things you can do to try to remove it. First, clean the area with hot water and soap, drying the area when done. Then, polish the area with a product appropriate for your car. Lastly, wax it with hot or cold wax to protect the finish of your paint. This process might not work, however, and leaf damage can be very costly if you have to bring it into a body shop to get it removed. A more preventative approach will help you in the long run.
Make sure your car is safe this fall season and protect it with a Max cover from Empirecovers.com. This cover is top of the line and will get the job done all winter long. You wouldn't go into the cold without a coat, don't let your car either!