Auto Service World
Feature   March 1, 2001   by CARS Magazine

Beware pressure-washer woes

Pressure washers are certainly a handy gadget to have around both shop and home, and for many consumers who love their cars, they allow the cleaning power of a coin-op wand wash to be enjoyed in their...


Pressure washers are certainly a handy gadget to have around both shop and home, and for many consumers who love their cars, they allow the cleaning power of a coin-op wand wash to be enjoyed in their driveways. That’s great, but if an overzealous customer uses the wand under the hood, look out for potential trouble. Obvious ones are electrical shorts and wetted-out ignition systems, but don’t forget the possibility of moisture inside the distributor cap and air box. Many washers have the power to dislodge coil or plug wires as well as vacuum lines, and will wash away the lubricant on hood latches and hinges. Look out in particular for heated O2 sensor failures. A blast of cold water on these can crack them internally causing erratic operation or failure. The same goes for household cleansers, which can be caustic enough to promote rapid corrosion in electrical connections, particularly in places where it’s difficult to rinse it away, such as injectors in V-type engines. If you’re trouble shooting an older engine which looks like it’s just out of the showroom, congratulate the owner. Then check everything in sight for moisture, corrosion and disconnects, including the O2 sensor, and don’t forget to lubricate every linkage, hinge and latch. An application of ignition sealer and the suggestion of a lighter touch with the fire hose should do the trick for the future.


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