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Washing an Engine

Q: I recently power washed my engine, but now my “check engine light” comes on. Since I pressure washed the engine I also noticed the car getting a little sluggish upon acceleration. What could be the problem?

A: Washing an engine without properly covering all electrical connectors, fuse blocks, and sensors can cause a variety of problems. Using a pressure washer is even worse. The force from the pressure washer may have caused water to get in some of the wiring connectors or sensors. Water is a conductor of electricity. If water is in a connector it may be shorting out the electrical component or giving false voltage signals to the car’s computer. This is probably causing the check engine light to come on. Try to disconnect the wire connectors and dry them out with a hair dryer. Hopefully this will take care of the problem. If not, you may have damaged a component. Take your car to a shop that has a scanner. The technician can plug the car in and retrieve any codes. This may identify a sensor that is shorting out or a circuit that might be causing the car troubles.