Auto and Truck Repair and Advice

Serving the Gainesville and Hawthorne Florida Area

Cleaning Your Car and Engine

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Auto engine cleaning: $50-$100 (Prices good for most domestic or import cars and light trucks)
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Washing your car or truck

Keeping your car washed and waxed is one of the best ways to keep it looking new. Insects and tree debris contain acids that can permanently damage the paint on your vehicle. You can do this yourself, or take your car to a professional car wash. If you do the job yourself, it's best to buy a special car wash detergent or soap. You can find car wash detergents at any parts store and many department stores with an automotive department.
You COULD just use dish soap or laundry detergent, but they can dissolve some of the chemicals that make up the paint. This can cause the paint to dull or fade prematurely.

Car Wax

Keeping a good coat of wax on your car can protect it from damage between washes. Insects, tree sap, pollen, salt air, and acid rain can badly damage a car's finish. A good wax will provide a protective layer, making it easier to remove the stuff that gets on your car.

Clear Coats

Just about all cars today have a clear coat on the paint. If you've ever seen a car that looks "milky" with white-ish splotches on the hood and roof, this is because the clear coat has failed. With a solid color it used to be possible to buff the paint and remove an oxidized layer, revealing good paint underneath. With a clear coat this isn't possible. Buffing a failed clear coat will just make itr worse. That's why it's smart to keep modern cars cleaned and waxed: you can't just buff out dull spots and bug pits anymore!

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Engine Cleaning

It helps to keep your engine clean. Working on it is a lot more pleasant. Grease and oil on rubber stuff under the hood can soften and destroy the rubber. This includes hoses and the insulation on electric wires! On a clean motor new leaks are easier to spot.

That being said, it's also a good way to make your car not start.

3 ways to clean an engine

There are basically 3 ways to clean an engine:

STEAM CLEANING

Steam cleaning is very powerful, but it can tear stuff up under the hood. Some professional shops have steam cleaners, but they're expensive. You could probably rent one, but I'd recommend another method for DIY engine cleaning.

SPRAY CAN ENGINE CLEANERS

Common in any parts store, most of these wash off with water. They do a fairly good job, but to wash all that oil, grease, and engine cleaner off in your driveway might be considered a bit polluting. Also: be careful with the water: modern cars have numerous computer sensors. If the wire connector gets wet it can cause the computer to malfunction. ON ALL VEHICLES the high voltage wiring of the secondary ignition system (plug wires, coil, distributor) are VERY SENSITIVE to moisture.

SPRAY CAN SOLVENTS

They are called carb cleaners, brake cleaners, and so on: they contain highly volitile solvents that cut grease and oil quite well. Some are highly flammable and are petrochemical based. Others are non-flammable and fluorocarbon based.

The good thing is that they use no water. The bad thing is they are expensive.

My Engine Cleaning Advice

For small greasy or oily areas use spray solvents. If you use the "wash off" engine cleaner, stay away from the distributor and coil area with the water.

IF YOU GET IT WET AND IT WON'T START

Most often it's the distributor cap which has gotten wet. Remove and dry out the cap.

WD-40: The WD stands for Water Displacement, and it can be used to dry out connectors and so on.


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Thank you for visiting the ECONOMECHANIX WEB SITE. Please feel free to comment. We also serve the surrounding communities of Alachua, High Springs, Hawthorne, and Newberry! Gainesville has been my home since 1974, and I've loved Gvl and the Gators since I came here in the fall of 1974 to attend the University of Florida. I loved it so much I stayed and opened my car repair business. Originally it was out of the back of a 1963 Chevrolet wagon, but in 1977 a fellow mechanic and I opened an auto repair shop with actual walls, etc. I stayed in the same location for 26 years, and recently moved my operation to property I bought 15 miles east of Gainesville. I am doing most all the repairs myself now, having reduced my overhead from $1500 per month to practically nothing. I do work by appointment only. I mostly work only on my established customers cars, but I will occasionally take on new clients. E-mail me and I will either make arrangements to look at your car, or I will recommend you to someone who will.

George G. Scott, Jr.


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Auto, Car, and Truck Article List

A
ABS: Anti-Lock Brake Systems
ADVANCE: Car ignition timing
ALTERNATORS and Car Battery
AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS
B
BAD CAR DESIGNS
BATTERIES: Auto, Car or Truck
BELTS AND HOSES
BEARINGS
BODY AND BUMPER REPAIRS
BRAKE REPAIRS: Car or Truck
C
Car Washing and Care
CARBURETORS:Car & Truck
CHECK ENGINE LIGHT
CLEANING: Engine Cleaning
CLUTCH REPAIRS: Car & Truck
COMPRESSION: Car Engine
COMPUTER CAR CONTROLS
CV JOINT OR CV AXLES
D
DISTRIBUTORS (IGNITION)
E
ELECTRIC WIRING REPAIR
ENGINES: Car & Truck
ENGINE CLEANING
EXPANSION PLUGS
F
FREEZE PLUGS
FUEL AIR MIXTURE
FUEL INJECTION: Car & Truck
FUEL PUMPS: Car & Truck
G
GAGES AND "IDIOT LIGHTS"
GASKETS AND SEALS
GLASS: WINDOWS AND WINDSHIELDS
H
HEADS & HEAD GASKET
HOSES AND BELTS
I
"IDIOT LIGHTS" AND GAGES
IGNITION TIMING: Car & Truck
J
AUTO JACKS: lifting cars safely
K
L
LEAN "Car runs lean"
LIGHTS: WARNING OR "IDIOT LIGHTS"
Limp Home Mode
M
MIL Light
MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS
N
NO START: Car Won't Start
O
OIL CHANGES
OIL: What's right for your car?
OIL LIGHT ON OR GAGE LOW
P
PCV Valve
Q
R
RADIATORS: Car and Truck
RICH: Car runs rich
S
SEALS AND GASKETS
SERVICE ENGINE SOON LIGHT
SPARK PLUGS
STARTERS: Auto, Truck
T
THERMOSTATS
TIMING: IGNITION TIMING
TIMING BELT & TIMING CHAIN
TIRE REPAIR
TRANSMISSIONS: AUTOMATIC
TRANSMISSIONS: MANUAL
U
V
VACUUM ADVANCE
WARNING LIGHTS OR "IDIOT LIGHTS"
Car Washing and Care
W
WATER PUMP REPAIR
WINDOWS AND WINDSHIELDS
WIRING REPAIR
X
Y
Z

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