How Often Should a Car Come In for an Engine Shampoo

January 27, 2012

There are a variety of reasons for getting an engine shampoo done, including the sale of your car, entrance into a car show or even just simple preventative maintenance and thorough detailing. An engine shampoo can remove all of the sludge build up that may be caused from past engine trouble such as a leaking head gasket or careless fluid refills, and can do wonders for removing the deposits of dust and grime that can build up in your engine bay during normal use. To decide just how often you should have this process done, you should look at the environment it operates in as well as how often your car is used in this environment in order to get a general idea.

Urban and City Use

For owners who live in urban areas and dense cities, or areas that have low amounts of dust and no seasonable snow fall, most detailing services will recommend at least 1-2 engine shampoo jobs per year. In cases such as these, as well as in the case of cars that do not see heavy or common use, grime accumulation is relatively slow and can often times be kept at bay with occasional detailing every time you wash your car. An engine shampoo in these cases is mainly to get the normally unseen areas that are harder to reach with quick detailing.

Harsh Seasons and Arid Regions

Arid regions tend to experience large amounts of dust, while areas with harsh seasonal weather tend to have extensive rainfall and snow fall. Dust can easily make its way into your engine bay, and will quick stick and gather around any spots of spilled oil or fluids. Areas with Snow fall almost always combat it with road salt, which can be kicked up into your engine bay and cause damage if left unattended. Regular shampooing to help combat the corrosion caused by road salt and mud should done every 2-3 months during the winter months when road salt is at its worst. For dusty areas, 1-2 times per year is fine when supplemented by regular detailing. If you do not often detail your car, consider doubling these figures.

After Major Repairs

Engine repairs such as replaced head gaskets, valve covers or other components that may cause spillage or leaking of fluids are a good opportunity to have an engine shampoo done. Not only does this clean away any sludge build up and freshen up the engine bay, it can also help with the diagnosis of any other potential problems by making any additional leaks easily noticeable.

Regular engine shampooing is just as important as washing your car’s exterior and undercarriage. Allowing excessive amounts of grime to build up can mask many important problems, as well as help to accelerate wear and potential failure of the various components in your engine bay. 1-2 times a year is a good general estimate, especially if supplemented with quick detailing, but consider having it done as many as four times a year if you experience heavy snow fall, or whenever major engine repairs are done.