'Honest' engine bay dirt or detail?

Sambo

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My SL has had one owner from new till I bought it and she's never been cleaned under the bonnet. As a result its dusty as hell but 'honest' looking as Mike Brewer would say.

Is has no leaks or anything scary and in some ways I think it looks reassuring that someone's not trying to hide something, but a bigger part of me can't wait to get cleaning!

What are your thoughts? Would it put you off if an engine bay is too clean?!

 

Mrhanky

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A really clean engine bay doesnt put me off. As long as its in keeping with the rest of the cars state of cleaniness and rings true with the type of seller if private. If its via a dealer it would simply make me have more of a look around the engine for issues.
 
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Sambo

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Think I'll get cracking then :)
 

nordicmatter

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I always like to see a clean engine bay as it shows care by the owner rather than some one who never opens the bonnet until a light tells them to.
 

SPX

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Most car enthusiasts prefer a clean engine bay but a lot of normal folk, in my experience, think the cleanliness is hiding something.
 

Jeff666

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In between... A certain amount of care. I like to see a little pride in their car.
 

neilrr

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Most car enthusiasts prefer a clean engine bay but a lot of normal folk, in my experience, think the cleanliness is hiding something.
Pretty much what I think.

If I see an engine bay that's too clean I wonder am I dealing with an obsessive cleaner nutcase or someone who is trying to hide a fault.
 

meeeb

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I've been a car owner for 50 years and have always cleaned the engine bay whenever I wash the car. It's the way I was trained. I don't slosh water around or use 'Back to Black', just a damp microfibre is enough if you keep up to it.

I recently rejected a Jaguar XJ at a main dealership because although the car was otherwise immaculate, the engine bay had never been touched, which to me indicated the general level of care the car had been subjected to. It had been a Jaguar management car, so probably nobody had really cared for it until it was time to sell.

I think it's not too difficult to tell if a car has just been well looked after, or if the engine bay has been cleaned to hide something. If there had been liberal applications of 'detailing products', I'd be cautious. To me there's nothing more artificial looking than shiny plastic.

Some of us just look after stuff, some of us don't. Like a lot of things it's down to individuality.
 

E55BOF

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I went to see a very keenly-priced Rover 800 Vitesse once. The car was in lovely condition, and the engine bay was beautifully clean. Looking underneath, though, there was a long streak of oil down the centre of the car where the engine or turbo had blown up shortly before. The engine in it seemed, oddly, to have only a partial engine number where it should have been :fail

I don't mind a grubby engine bay; good honest dirt, and at least if there were any leaks they would show up. I look after my cars mechanically, but I don't clean engine bays; good luck to those who do, but for me, life's too short...
 

c4sman

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mercedes 219 CLS
Detailed bay for me. If there is a serious leak a detailed bay wouldn't hide it for long.
 

mbenz1

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This is the powerhouse of my CLK 320 after a clean.

I used Autoglym Engine Degreaser. I split the engine cleaning plan into 4/5 parts. I sprayed the chemical, waited, gave a good brush then used a water spray bottle to remove the chemical and avoid water going to unwanted places, then repeated the same procedure on the next parts.

I didn't bother with a detail or black trim gel as I prefer the natural matt shine of the engine cover and other plastics.
 
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markjay

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I clean under the bonnet.

But at the same time I would prefer to see an untouched engine bay on any car I am looking at buying because it tells a story.

In the same way as I would prefer to buy a car with 100% original paintwork even if scratched, peeling, faded, or dented (and even rusty), than buying a car where one panel or more have been recently resprayed.

As for the owner being a car enthusiast... let's face it, if looking for an 'honest car', the ideal previous owner would be someone who bought the car new, had it serviced at a Merc dealer every year and paid what they asked for servicing and 'additional items', and never fiddled under the bonnet himself... or changed the wheels.... or fitted a sporty exhaust box.... etc.
 

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