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Got a little story for ya'll...


Literally just this morning, about 2 hours ago, I was at the car wash and got in line behind another Volt in the hand wash line. The very first thing the guy did was he popped the hood and sprayed the living hell out of the engine bay with the high pressure soapy wash, then rinsed, then sprayed again with the engine/tire selection, then again with the high pressure rinse setting. In disbelief I was afraid it wouldn't start up, but it did just fine. He went over to the vacuum section where I caught up to him after my wash. I asked him about it and he said he's washed the engine bay like that weekly since 2014 and never once had any problems. No CEL, no blown fuses...nothing.

I've always hand washed engine bays, paying careful attention to not use too much water. With the Volt, it's basically hand wipes or rags or nothing at all.

Now I don't know what to believe after seeing that guy go to town on his engine bay. It makes sense that everything under the hood would be 100% water proof, but I never imagined it was that water proof.

Even after talking with that guy for over 10 minutes, believing every word he said, I don't think I could ever hose it down like that.

Thoughts?
 

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What do you think they do at the dealership after a valve cover/timing/oil pan/etc gasket failure? They don't get in there with brake cleaner and a toothbrush...
 

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I have pressure washed the engine bay on other vehicles when I had access to a pressure washer (which I no longer own). I think the key is to maintain a reasonable distance between the nozzle and whatever your washing. You certainly wouldn't want to put it within an inch or two of your work, but maintaining 12" or so gives enough pressure to blast away stuff but not so much that your pushing water into sealed areas. I would also suggest running the vehicle in hold mode after so it can heat up the engine bay to help dry after your done. For the most part it should just be removing dust and any road debris as long as you don't have any engine leaks. If you do have leaks, I'd be cautious since those leaks indicate a "breach" in the seal which can allow water in just as easily as it's letting fluids (oil/coolant) out.
 

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My 2011 has a Do Not Pressure Wash symbol embossed in the black plastic cover to the right (drivers side) of the engine.
 

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Well, if they pressure wash engine bays at dealer shops, then add this to the several reasons I don't do business at dealer shops unless I absolutely HAVE to.

I have the same attitude towards Harley-Davidson dealer shops, which is one reason I do all my own work. At most Harley dealers they will pull the bike over to a pressure washer as a "courtesy" to render a supposedly dirty bike clean. People wonder why wheel bearings die early.

I can recall a few people, over the many years, who would spray an engine bay down with "gunk" and then hose it off. Something one might do to make a dirty old engine look better for a prospective buyer. Think Used Car Salesman.
 

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It has been almost 4 years since I purchased my 2017 Volt so my memory of what the engine bay looked like when new is a little unclear. There were anti-tamper clamps on each of the 3 coolant overflow tank caps (later removed at some point by the dealer's service technician.) I recall there were several stick on labels, lost now, that stated something to the effect "No Water Here." Except for a few leaves my engine compartment has remained very clean.
 

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Count me with the crowd that uses a wet towel to wipe away the road dirt/dust from the most accessible areas of the engine bay.

Logically, one would think that the engineers made sure that water wouldn't cause shorting of the electrical side of our Volts or allow water to do damage to the ICE side of the equation. However, a wipe with the wet towel suffices for me, thank-you-very-much. ;)
 

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Never ever never power-wash an engine.

Especially the Volt.

I NEVER wash my engine, maybe just wipe down the engine cover and some other basic parts with a damp towel.

Engine is better off slightly dirty than being power-washed.
 
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