Is it OK to use a garden hose to spray road dust off my engine?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1997

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a '91 Chevy S-10 pickup. Is it OK to spray the water hose on the
engine to keep it clean of road dust? -- Grant

RAY: Sure. Don't forget that whenever you drive in the rain, water gets
splashed up from underneath the truck and comes pouring in through the
front grille anyway. So a little water is not going to hurt anything.

TOM: Electrical connections can get wet, but the important ones are all
"weather packed," to keep water out. So unless you're unlucky, or use
high-pressure steam, you shouldn't have any problem.

RAY: I would recommend, however, just to be on the safe side, that you
do your hosing when the engine is cold so none of the hot components
crack. That way, the worst that will happen is that one of your
electrical components or relays will get wet and will prevent the truck
from starting until it dries out a few hours (or a day) later.

TOM: And that may be a good thing, Grant. If you spray the engine on a
Saturday morning just before you're about to leave for your
mother-in-law's house, you might luck out and prevent it from starting
all weekend.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One