5 Tips to Reducing Carbon Buildup in Your Car

As fuel burns, waste byproducts deposit themselves on the engine’s intake manifold and exhaust system, which includes the catalytic converter. Having such carbon buildup seriously restricts the engine’s airflow, causing obvious problems.

What are the symptoms of carbon buildup?

Some symptoms of carbon build up in your car include:

  • Engine not running smoothly
  • Vibration or shaking of the engine
  • Car surging or jerking at stops
  • The check engine light comes on
  • Cold start misfires
  • Poor fuel efficiency
  • Failed emissions test

If carbon build up is affecting your engine, a mechanic will manually remove the gunk out. Fortunately, you can use the methods below to reduce carbon buildup in your car and reduce the number of visits you make to the mechanic’s shop.

Regular Maintenance

carbon buildup

Checking vital components whenever you take your car in for service will help catch carbon build-up before it becomes a significant problem.  One place to start is ensuring that spark plugs are inspected to reduce the amount of unburned fuel in the combustion chamber.

In addition, make use of the manufacturer’s specified oil and oil change intervals.

As a rule of thumb, you should do a full synthetic oil change at least after every 5,000 miles. Regular changing of the oils allows your car’s intake valves to perform at optimum levels. Most importantly, make sure that regular maintenance includes cleaning of the fuel injector to help improve its spraying capacity.

Regularly Clean Your Catalytic Converter

Your car’s catalytic converter is tasked with one job – that of cleaning up the exhaust gases coming from your engine before they are directed out through the exhaust pipe. The converter uses small amounts of catalyst material like platinum, palladium or rhodium to clean exhaust gases through a chemical reaction.

The catalytic converter fails when stuff that should not go into it does. These particles may come from various sources like oil or coolant leak in the engine and even using the wrong oil. If your car is misfiring for some reason, plenty of unburned fuel ends up in the catalytic converter, making it useless.

In extreme cases, or if you ignore the problem, the substrate (the converter’s core) can break down and block the exhaust system. The result is loss of power and a serious increase in average fuel consumption.

Fortunately, you can use the best catalytic converter cleaner to break down the carbon deposits in the system. Not only does the liquid help in cleaning the catalytic converter, but also the car’s entire fuel system.

Floor It

Most vehicles redline at more than 6,000 Revolutions per Minute; however, everyday driving will not see you crest even half of that. Drivetrains are programmed to reduce engine revolutions for efficiency and while higher RPM burn fuel faster and increase strain, it’s a good idea to let your car run through its RPM range – occasionally.

Flooring it helps remove carbon deposits likely to foul valves, intake manifold, and the exhaust system. This will result in increased catalytic converter efficiency. However, only do this once your engine is warmed up and you are in a safe, wide-open lot or freeway. While you will waste some gas, you will also help your engine last longer.

Update Your Car’s Engine Management Software

The latest software versions may reduce carbon deposits by reducing the amount of time valves are exposed to conditions likely to cause carbon buildup. Such systems do this by adjusting the timing of valves and sparks.

However, you will not find a TSB stating that re-flashing your ECM will help correct any carbon buildup issues. Actually, most regular updates may never even indicate that the problem exists. The best way to see if your car has the latest software version is by checking the OEM’s website.

Occasionally Run Car on High-Octane Gasoline

The car’s engine design, including combustion ratio and operating temperature, is related to octane rating. Octane rating applies to the engine itself, not the gasoline. It represents the minimum octane level the engine requires for proper operation. The octane rating you find on gasoline is the measure of its anti-ping or anti-knock properties.

A car that has been running for a long time may require a higher-octane gasoline every four to six years. This is because carbon deposits in the cylinders raise the engine’s combustion ration, raising its octane rating. Also, premium gas has other additives like detergents and other solvents that will help keep your carburetor and the fuel system clean.

Conclusion

Reducing carbon buildup is possible, as long as you implement the methods above. Your car will surely run smoothly and much more fuel-efficiently for a long time, once you have reduced the carbon build up.

Jim Thompson