• On Monday October 19, footage of a carwash attendant busy at work was shared across various social media platforms with Kenyans engaging in a heated debate.

    The attendant can be seen pouring buckets of water on the exposed engine block to give it a crispy clean look.

    This formed the subject of the engaging debate on whether doing it could ‘kill’ the car’s engine or lead to costly damages.

    Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, a motorist narrated his personal experience following a similar incident.

    A car pictured at a carwash.

    “Engine cover to key electrical terminations haiko poa. Nilipitia hiyo mateso na Ka Toyota 100.  Ilibidi mechanic afanye kazi ya kukausha na tissue paper ndio ipitishe moto (The electrical parts weren’t properly insulated or covered. I went through this with my Toyota 100 and the mechanic had to dry the entire engine block using tissue paper just to get it to start),” he recounted.  

    According to an expert from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), a jet of soapy water and a quick rinse will get the engine clean – but you could end up with a glistening engine that won’t start, or worse.

    It was further detailed that the engine compartment is not designed for such – you could be getting water into areas where it shouldn’t be and it can cause corrosion.

    Spraying high-pressured warm or cool water on a hot engine could cool things too fast, stressing the metal and, potentially, causing cracks. 

    The worst case scenario would be water getting into your engine through the induction system, from around the air cleaner.

    While a modern electrical system should be able to keep out moisture – jets of water could cause trouble.

    If uncertain on what parts to avoid getting wet, getting your engine professionally cleaned is the recommended option.

    As the mechanics put it, a greasy and grimy engine that runs properly is much better than a clean engine that doesn’t.

    However, if you would still prefer a sparkly clean look under the hood, don’t use high-pressure sprayers like you find in self-serve car washes as they can force water past rubber seals and weather stripping into places it isn’t supposed to go.

    The carwash attendant in viral video was using a small plastic container to wash the engine block, which is safer compared to the jetspray but still not recommended as the risks outweigh the benefits.

    Watch the carwash footage below: