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Cleaning the Inside of Your Car With a Leaf Blower Is a Bad Idea

Can you really use your home leaf blower to clean the inside of your car as a quick and easy way to detail your car? You could, but these experts recommend against it for at least one important reason you should consider with today’s cars.

Car Wash Regimens We all have our own personal car wash regimens we stick to when it comes to cleaning our rides. For some of us it is Zen-like and probably a good therapeutic tool toward avoiding violent confrontations with “that neighbor” when outdoors of your home…or so I’ve been told. For other car owners who are either pressed for time or prefer to hire out their car cleaning duties, there are plenty of drive-thru and home service detailers to make your life a little easier. However, when it is someone else doing your car cleaning, most of us prefer to know that they are doing the job right. It is pretty much accepted by car detailers that using a leaf blower from home is okay as a way to dry off a car’s exterior after washing to prevent finish spotting and to avoid micro-scratches (or larger) from improper drying cloths and squeegees. The added advantage of using a leaf blower to the exterior of a vehicle after a car wash is that it helps force out trapped moisture in all of the nooks and crannies within a car that can lead to corrosion damage. However, according to a recent Consumer Reports update, it appears that car owners---and some car detailers as well---have extended the use of leaf blowers to not just the exterior of vehicles, but the interior as well during the car cleaning process. But is this really a good idea? The Wrong Tool for an Important Job One of the truest maxims of any job involving a car whether it’s for maintenance or repair is that you should always use the right tool for the job intended. My dad was one for maxims and his personal favorite was “Don’t force it…get a bigger hammer.” As a result, I went through years of repair mistakes following his advice, but now see the wisdom of always using the right tool for the job intended. And, therefore, using a leaf blower for cleaning the interior of a car is a good example of what not to do in spite of the fact that this has become a common practice. “I was surprised to see how many people online recommend using a leaf blower to clean your interior, including some car detailing experts…I could see it working in some cases, but remember, leaf blowers are blowing things around rather than picking them up. You could potentially be driving the dust deep into the crevices of your interior,” says Keith Barry, a Consumer Reports autos editor. CR points our correctly that using a leaf blower on the interior of a car could result in damage and problems with your car that greatly offset any convenience in using a leaf blower to save time during cleaning. For example, with the newer car models becoming increasingly electronics-dependent with a hundred or more computer chips alone, air filled with dust and dirt while attempting to blow it out of the vehicle can just as easily blow a significant amount of debris---that is impossible to access afterward---that could interfere with sensitive electronics. From years of handling chips in electronic projects, I can attest to that all it takes is a tiny bit of dust to cause a short between two pins of a chip to ruin it forever. There’s also the fact that you might be blowing dirt and debris into your air vents, which in turn will blow it back into you and your passenger’s face the next time you turn on the climate controls. It’s practically the equivalent of snorting carpeting trod upon by street shoes. The Correct Tool for The Job While not as convenient, choosing a vacuum cleaner of any type is a better and more correct tool for the job. However, depending on the type used, you should always ensure the exhaust port of the vacuum is venting away from the interior (with a filter preferably), otherwise you are blowing more dust and dirt around within the interior of your car. And finally… For more articles about car maintenance, repair and care, be sure to check out these selected articles on changing your oil and why smelling gasoline around your car is an immediate problem not to be taken lightly. COMING UP NEXT: 2022 VW Taos has major safety problem. Timothy Boyer is Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily automotive-related news. Photo by Martin Katler on Unsplash