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Engine Carbon Cleaning

What is Carbon Buildup?

Think of your engine like a fireplace.  When the fireplace burns fuel it releases fumes, waste byproducts of smoke and carbon. In a fireplace the fumes go out the flu and deposit along the flu walls on the way out.  The more fuel you burn the more caked on the deposits become, eventually blocking off the airflow of the flu and impacting the fireplace’s ability to warm the house.

It’s similar in a car. When the fuel burns in the cyclinders, it releases the same kind of waste byproducts which deposit themselves on the intake manifold, valves, piston heads, various sensors and exhuast passage.

The problem this causes is that the carbon buildup restricts the airflow to and from the engine which causes the engine to run less efficiently, and if it does build up enough on sensors it can cause failure or more serious running issues.

This is also complicated in modern engines by features like the EGR valve, which circulates exhaust gases (containing carbon) around the intake system, Carbon build up is one of the most common reasons for failure of the EGR valve itself, but having a direct path for exhuast gases to reach the intake can lead to increased build up In the entire intake system.

How can I tell if my engine Is affected?

If you drive a lot of short journeys, or not a high speeds then you are more likely to be affected by carbon buildup

What are the symptoms of carbon build up?

  • Drivability issues, engine not running smoothly
  • Engine vibration or shaking
  • Car jerking or surging at stops
  • Check engine light may be on
  • Cold start misfires
  • Trouble starting engine
  • Smoking from exhaust under load, or on cold start


If you have any of these issues then carbon build up may be part of or all of the problem

How do we clean?

Some cleaning methods use strong solutions injected via the fueling system to clean the engines internals, which requires tampering with the engines fuel lines, and chemicals that could potentially cause lasting damage. 

Instead of this we use hydrogen gas, made using water, which is fed into the vehicles intake along with the normal flow of air, this then acts to breakdown carbon buildup through the entire intake system, which is then released out of the exhaust, you will see this as smoke essentially.

We use a portable cleaning system, so we can provide the same mobile service as we do for remapping. The process for cleaning involves diagnostic reading if necassary, and then we will advise on the expected improvement, or if the carbon buildup is to severe we may advise against the work due to potential issues.

The results will be instantly noticeable, depending on the level of carbon removed the improvement will vary, but seeing the state of the car to begin with we can normally give an honest opinion on the potential.

Fuel Savings after carbon cleaning

One of the biggest issues caused by carbon build-up is a decrease in engine efficiency, which leads to a loss in economy, its one of the reasons why a 150,000 mile car won’t return the same MPG figures as that same vehicle when new. 

So by giving the engine a detox, most of our customers see an impressive increase in fuel economy. 

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