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Your oil cap might be disengaged if

  1. Your car smells like fuel when you idle
  2. You notice a smell of hot, steamy, smokey rubber
  3. You open the hood and notice that:
    a) the oil cap is not attached (but fortunately lodged in the engine block still)
    b) there is oil all over the engine

Now, mind you, these discovers were just made at 12:30 am having returned from LA. Maybe the engine isn’t really covered in oil, but I dare say it is. About 1-2 quarts worth. Perhaps a bit less. I am burning through 1 quart per every gallon of gas. :frowning:

So, I thought I might ask a simple question or two. Can I just hose out the engine block tomorrow after the day course to clean out the oil? Do I need to do anything special? (Note - two special things I did were to refill the oil to max level and to put the cap back on). But, I will gladly do other things.

A simple hosing with fresh water won’t do very much. Get yourself a spray can of engine degreaser. This item plus a hose should be all you need.

Yes, a missing oil cap will make a nasty mess. If it is close to 2 quarts, I’d get 2 cans of engine degreaser, like Foamy Engine Brite. I had a similar problem with the wife’s car last year, except for her, the cap broke apart, and lost closer to 3 quarts. That mess took me 3 cans to clean up.

Go to one of those self-serve car washes where you can steam clean the engine with the wand.
Use the degreaser, as suggested above, let it sit a few minutes, and then use then use the wand to hose everything off.
You definitely don’t want oil on your driveway. That’s not that easy to remove.

Watch out for your electronics. Don’t wash them with the steam wand. A little water on them is OK, since they get wet while you drive in the rain. But they don’t get very wet because rain water comes up from below. You will be washing from the top of the engine bay.

I’d leave it alone, the oil isn’t hurting anything and there is a risk of doing damage by trying to clean it off.