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I can’t start my 2008 Toyota Highlander after washing the engine with a garden hose. Do you have any suggestions? – Jeff

As far as I’m concerned the only time an engine needs to be washed is as a necessary clean-up procedure, after a large fluid leak has occurred. And then, a degrease-and-wash should be done with a high-pressure water system, not a garden hose.

Having it done professionally is a good idea. In addition to the high pressure, a key advantage is that volume of water is much lower than that of a garden hose.

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The first repair for your situation is to have the ignition coils removed and the spark plug tubes cleared of all water. This is relatively easy if your Highlander is a four-cylinder model. Things become complicated if you are driving a six-cylinder, as the rear engine bank is located underneath the intake manifold plenum which is difficult to access.

Fortunately, the remote location of the rear coils may mean that they didn’t get drowned by the flood of water and you may get away with just servicing the forward bank. If this doesn’t get it running, prepare yourself for a potentially ugly electrical repair bill.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.

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