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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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5,661 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Open up your hood and have a look.

My theory: Eliminate the usual things that you have to do at some point like head gaskets and timing belts, and longevity of your drivetrain beyond 100k miles boils down to about:
- 60% regular maintenance
- 30% luck
- and 10% cleanliness

No, I don't have any scientific study I can cite here. Just anecdotes. I've seen a lot of correlation of a clean engine bay to a long life, and while you can argue cause-and-effect here, you have to admit it's probably true.

I just passed 110k miles and 9 years age. Here's mine; not at its prime and not recently cleaned, but very typical of the way it's kept.

Come on, let's see them!
 

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Premium Member
Twilight Blue 2015 3.6R with Eyesight
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4,983 Posts
I always spray the engine after each oil change. I don't get get extreme, I just do a quick spray of engine cleaner and rinse.
This way, dirt isn't allowed to start accumulating, and never becomes a problem.
I've done this will all my cars, and I can say it really does make a difference.
A clean engine runs cooler, plus it helps ALLOT, because if something starts to go wrong, like oil leaks, you can pick up on it much faster, and get it fixed, before it becomes a much worse problem.
Some will say it's stupid to clean the engine, because it could damage sensitive electronic components, I call B/S. If that where the case then every time I drove my car in the rain, my car would stall, and the components would have to be replaced...
 

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2012 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited, with custom-added always-on auxillary power for an inverter, 3x DC jacks, and a radio transciever.
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639 Posts
Open up your hood and have a look.

My theory: Eliminate the usual things that you have to do at some point like head gaskets and timing belts, and longevity of your drivetrain beyond 100k miles boils down to about:
- 60% regular maintenance
- 30% luck
- and 10% cleanliness

No, I don't have any scientific study I can cite here. Just anecdotes. I've seen a lot of correlation of a clean engine bay to a long life, and while you can argue cause-and-effect here, you have to admit it's probably true.

I just passed 110k miles and 9 years age. Here's mine; not at its prime and not recently cleaned, but very typical of the way it's kept.

Come on, let's see them!
Curious, is this at a shop or just your personal vehicles you noticed this?

I wonder if part of it may be related to how people treat their vehicles...the ones that are cleaner are perhaps less abused and better cared for when problems develop early?

I've never tried to clean my engine but I've thought about it. I do try and wipe down stuff when I notice any spills and occasionally I will take a wet paper-towel and wipe what I can reach to get the road-dust off whatever I can reach. It's not spotless but it's not covered in filth either. I do notice if the car generally looks cleaner / better kept (and recently washed) the mechanics seem to treat it better than if it's got mud and road filth over the whole thing.
 

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'16 Outback 2.5i Limited - Eyesight
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83 Posts
I wonder if part of it may be related to how people treat their vehicles...the ones that are cleaner are perhaps less abused and better cared for when problems develop early?
...and you have, absolutely, got the the bottom of things.... those who care for their cars, clean the engines. BUT...it is just the outward display of how they take care of things. Better cared for = Fewer problems festering for a long time.
 

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2014 3.6R Limited
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968 Posts
Hmmmmm, While I would clean my engine if it needed it, I hadn't had to do that since I was young,scraping for pennies, and driving a beater! Of course I'm not an off roader, but the longest I kept a car was a 2004 Suburban I purchased new. It was over 9 years old and had over 120K on it when I traded it and the engine bay was spotless and had never been cleaned!
 

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2017 Outback Limited 2.5, Twilight Blue/Ivory, Eyesight. Also 1995 BMW 525i with 240,000 miles
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2,244 Posts
Hmmmmm, While I would clean my engine if it needed it, I hadn't had to do that since I was young,scraping for pennies, and driving a beater! Of course I'm not an off roader, but the longest I kept a car was a 2004 Suburban I purchased new. It was over 9 years old and had over 120K on it when I traded it and the engine bay was spotless and had never been cleaned!
Just a question. :) How can a 9-year-old vehicle have a spotless engine bay? Dust on the top and road grime on the bottom at the very least. Just saying...
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,078 Posts
Really?

Oh...this one was probably made for me. Frankie is pretty tight under the blouse. Her underside is just as clean. I like to wipe her down with a fine cloth...lol.
 

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2016 3.6 Limited with ES
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2,605 Posts
At the end my oil changes I get out some diluted Simple Green and give it a green spray. I wash it away with a watering can for that loving, rain clean feeling.
 

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2014 3.6R Limited
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Just a question. :) How can a 9-year-old vehicle have a spotless engine bay? Dust on the top and road grime on the bottom at the very least. Just saying...
If there is a way to post an image here from my computer I will upload a picture of the engine bay of my 10 year old Ford F250 Diesel that also never had the engine cleaned and I would pretty much eat off the engine cover! I traded it for my Suburu!
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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Discussion Starter #10
Curious, is this at a shop or just your personal vehicles you noticed this?
Both. And from pictures posted on this forum as well.

I wonder if part of it may be related to how people treat their vehicles...the ones that are cleaner are perhaps less abused and better cared for when problems develop early.
...and you [millermmail] have, absolutely, got the the bottom of things.... those who care for their cars, clean the engines. BUT...it is just the outward display of how they take care of things. Better cared for = Fewer problems festering for a long time.
Which I stated in my original post - you can always argue cause-and-effect here.

Note one other factor I didn't mention - if you employ others to work on your vehicle - and like most here I use shops as well as work on it myself, depending on the task - a professional mechanic is likely going to treat a clean engine better. Not only is it a better work environment for him or her, it also shows that the owner is paying attention.
 

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'11 outback 2.5i premium '12 impreza sport limited
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the inside of my engine bay is mostly brown. lots and lots of dust from the roads i drive on. thats even with my skid plate on the bottom.
 

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2017 Outback Limited 2.5, Twilight Blue/Ivory, Eyesight. Also 1995 BMW 525i with 240,000 miles
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If there is a way to post an image here from my computer I will upload a picture of the engine bay of my 10 year old Ford F250 Diesel that also never had the engine cleaned and I would pretty much eat off the engine cover! I traded it for my Suburu!
Sure...
 

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'18 Outback Limited/Ex: 2000 Outback Limited
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As a former wrench turner...when a customer would bring in a vehicle AND the engine compartment was essentially 'clean' we'd tend to be more careful and attentive. Bring in total disaster, well it's slam, bang, geterdun! Human impression DOES enter the equation at the darnest times.


Bill
 

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2018 Subaru Outback Limited 3.6R Crystal White Pearl/black interior
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My wife's 2012 Toyota Camry with 32,000 miles has always had a clean engine bay. No rust after nearly 7 years.
 

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2018 2.5i Premium
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34 Posts
I'm about to tackle this very job, I cannot wait as my bay is pretty nasty after two years of no cleaning and highway driving.

Any additional tip and tricks other than what's listed here already in this thread?
 

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20 Outback Premium
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With our 19 the engine bay looks typical. With our 20 it stays almost spotless as Subaru has added more rubber seals between the hood and the fenders so everything under the hood stays much cleaner.
 

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2017 Outback Limited 2.5, Twilight Blue/Ivory, Eyesight. Also 1995 BMW 525i with 240,000 miles
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2,244 Posts
With our 19 the engine bay looks typical. With our 20 it stays almost spotless as Subaru has added more rubber seals between the hood and the fenders so everything under the hood stays much cleaner.
I have wondered why Subaru installed those seals. I think it was to reduce external engine noise.
 
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