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What is the Best Way to Clean Carbon from Engine?

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Ever wondered why your engine isn’t running as efficiently as it was before? You may be struggling with a carbon problem located inside of your engine. Here we are going to not only discuss what exactly carbon in the engine is, but what it can do to your car and how you can fix and avoid the problem in the future.

What is Carbon Build Up

Carbon is essentially just a waste product that is caused when the fuel burns. This byproduct can become built up over time, much like the residue you might find in a fireplace over a lengthy period of time. This carbon will build up in your engine and cause noteable problems, and when you see these problems start to arise, you need to handle the problem right away.

Symptoms of Carbon Build Up in the Engine

Carbon build up causes some serious damage to your engine, and the effect is extremely obvious. Even if you’re not a ‘car enthusiast’, you will be able to tell when your car is running strangely do to the excess of carbon. Some of the things you will notice when there is too much carbon includes the following:

  • Your car will not run as smoothly as it used to. You may notice that your drive is a bit more rugged and stalled, and that your not getting a ride that is enjoyable or even normal. The ruggedness of the vehicle will be noticed when you first start the car as well as during your drive, especially when you’re first putting on the gas after stopping at a stop sign or light.
  • You may notice that your engine is shaking or vibrating. This will be an obvious shake or vibration that you can feel in the steering wheel, and it should not be taken lightly. The shakiness or vibration will likely not stop after you begin to drive, in fact it may become worse the longer the car is running.
  • If you notice that your car is suddenly jerking instead of smoothly going forward after a stop light, it’s likely an issue due to carbon build up in the engine.
  • Has your car started to misfire when you turn on the ignition? A misfire can be caused by many issues, but one big cause is carbon in the engine. This type of build up will be so dense that it doesn’t allow the car to combust whatsoever, which means your car will not start at all.
  • Last but not least, your car’s engine light may be on. This is rare, but sometimes it can be seen. Engine lights are usually turned on by other problems, but either way, if the car engine light is on, it’s something that needs to be looked into.

How to Fix Carbon Build Up

Take Your Car to the Mechanic

The first choice for many car owners out there is to simply take the car into the shop to be checked out by a mechanic. This is especially useful if you’re not great with cars and don’t want to try and solve problems on your own, or you’re dealing with an engine light that is on and you’re not sure what the cause is.

A mechanic will be able to tell you exactly what is wrong with the vehicle, and if you’re struggling with excess carbon. At this point you can have the mechanic deal with the problem using his tools and products, or opt to solve the problem on your own.

Make Sure Your Car is Up to Date

Another great first step to take is to make sure that your vehicle is up to date. Usually a manufacturer will send out a notice to vehicle owners if it is time to update their car or need to check certain things after a certain number of miles. Pay attention to the manufacturer when it comes to your car and make sure it is always up to date to avoid any issues such as carbon build up. If you don’t get a notice, you can always take your car into the shop to see if it is up to date.

Use Top Tier Gas

Another way to make sure that your car is carbon-free is to always use top tier gas. By using this highest level of fuel, you will not only be receiving excellent gas mileage, but top tier gas includes fuel injector cleaners that will essentially clean out the car from any carbon. The injectors ensure that fuel is flowing through injectors thoroughly, not causing an excess buildup of carbon in the engine.

Use Fuel Injector Cleaner

One simple fix for carbon build up is to simply add in a fuel injector cleaner to your gas tank. There are also cylinder cleaners for your car as well, and each of these are easy to use and can clean up the carbon from your engine in no time. Not only are these products quick and easy to use, they produce excellent options for a cheap price. Make sure you buy these products directly from the shop as to receive the best quality products on the market.

Scrape off Carbon Buildup

Another solution to removing carbon from your engine is to manually clean it off. You should only do this if your wearing the proper protective gear and working in a well ventilated area. You will need a special product that loosens up the carbon so it is easily removed using a scraper. These products are available in shops across the country and shouldn’t be too pricey of a material.

All you will need to do is spray the solvent onto the carbon buildup and use a plastic or wooden scraper to very gently remove the buildup. You should take great care when you scrape the carbon, however, as you do not want to ruin the aluminum underneath. Take it slow when taking off the carbon, making sure to get into the knicks and crannies around the engine so you don’t leave any carbon behind. Stubborn carbon may need bristles to be removed, but make sure not to scrape the aluminum either.

How to Prevent Carbon Build Up

To avoid carbon build up in the first place, there’s several steps you can take:

  1. Make sure you are getting oil changes regularly. These are essential to a well-running and efficient vehicle, so never skimp on oil changes. Also ensure that you’re using the right fuel for your vehicle. Premium may be more pricey, but if your car requires it, you shouldn’t use a lesser quality material to save a few bucks; you will have to spend more in the future as your car fails from lack of quality.
  2. If you find you only drive on the roads to get around, taking your car for a spin on the highway may render positive results. This allows the car to ‘blow out’ some of the carbon that may be built up and unable to escape from speeds less than 45 most of the time.
  3. Use fuel additives such a fuel cleaners and engine cleaners to ensure there is no build up. These additives will allow for your car to be cleaned while being ran, which means there is no chance for carbon to build up on your car. However, it is still important to check the engine often to make sure there’s no build up that needs to be taken care of.


Carbon buildup in the engine is normal. However, if you take proper precautions and get the oil changed regularly, you greatly reduce the change of carbon being built up in your vehicle. If buildup occurs, you have options, whether you manually scrape it off or opt for a simpler solution such as fuel cleaners. If all else fails, take your car to the shop for maintenance of carbon buildup.

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