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Since I work out of our house, my "E" sits in the garage and stays clean. But my wife's '02 CR-V, with a very similar layout, seems to accumulate a lot of garboo for a transversely mounted engine w/ thermostatically controlled electric fan (fans that run with engines really suck in airborne particulate matter). Her 1st generation ’97 stayed reasonably clean and didn’t have said holes. So I agree with Michael, the large openings in the wheel wells are probably the culprit.

Occasionally rinsing the engine compartment off at the whiz wash probably won’t hurt, but I’d be tempted to use their “spot-free rinse” to minimize nasty hard water marks. The air intake is fairly protected, but I’d watch using high pressure around electrical boxes since they are normally protected by being under the hood.

Jim in very wintry Ohio
 
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