Dirt in the Engine? I need advice


I have a '97 Geo Prism: I work at a summer camp filled with dusty gravel roads. The car is a loan from my parents and they are concerned that driving it at camp too much (i.e. this summer) will put too much wear on the car because of the dirt getting in the engine, etc. Is there a way to combat this or to get the engine cleaned somehow at the end of the summer? I really need the car out there and if there’s any way to convince my parents I’d love it!


Tell everyone to relax. Dirt and dust will not get into the engine at all. That’s why all cars have an air filter. Remeber to change the filter at the end of the summer.

Take the car to a car wash before reporting home each time. Vacuum the inside. It’s also a good idea to wipe the (cold) engine with a dust rug now and then to keep it looking shiny.

Remeber – it’s just a car. It’s supposed to take you from here to there. What’s the point of having a car if you won’t let it do its job!


I would suggest an extra air filter change mid summer, but the air filter will take care of it. It will however tend to clog so that is way you want to change it. BTW when was the last time it was changed? Does anyone remember? It may be past due. You might want to make sure all the regular maintenance like oil & filter and fuel filter are changed as well, you can return the car in better shape than it was when you got it.

Really the dust is not a problem.


Dirt is nothing compared to hitting a deer. Don’t worry about either one. But watch out for the wildlife.


If it’s real dust then just change the filter more often. I don’t drive dirt roads, but I do drive through construction zones on the way to work and I need to change my air filter twice as often as suggested by the Owners manual. You may have to change more often then that.

Hold the air filter up to a light source…if you can see light getting through then it’s still good. If not then you need to replace it…Since I know someone will mention this…this method does NOT work for oil bath systems.