How To Fix Carbon Build Up In Engine (Easy Fixes)

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For a car to run smoothly, it is necessary for the engine to be clean. Carbon build up in an engine can cause various problems and need to be addressed as quickly as possible to avoid damaging your engine.

This problem occurs when carbon particles accumulate on parts of the piston head or oil ring that has moving surfaces such as bearings and gears, which causes wear. It also binds with oil and causes the engine to become sluggish.

In today’s post, you’re going to learn how to fix carbon build up in engine. Apart from this, you will also get to understand how to know when your engine has carbon build up, the cost of removing carbon build up on engines, etc.

Let’s get started!

What Is Carbon Build Up?

Carbon buildup in an engine is the accumulation of carbon deposits that form from incomplete combustion.

Carbon build up happens as a result of the gasoline-powered engine’s piston rings not sealing off the combustion chamber.

What Causes Carbon Build Up In Engine?

What Causes Carbon Build Up In Engine

Carbon buildup is a common problem in older vehicles, but it can happen to newer cars as well.

Carbon build up happens most often when an engine uses poor quality fuel or runs without oil. It also occurs from driving at high speeds for extended periods of time since the engine is working harder.

Another thing that can cause carbon build in an engine is an intermittent misfire. An intermittent miss happens when the engine’s timing is off or there are mechanical problems with the engine, such as worn piston rings.

What Can Carbon Build Up Do To A Car?

The buildup of carbon in an engine can cause a number of vehicle-related issues including reduced fuel efficiency and increased emissions levels from exhaust gasses that become more corrosive and dirtier because they’re not burning properly.

Additionally, if the gas burns too rich, it will create black sludge on spark plugs that must be cleaned off.

Carbon build up can also cause misfires which result in a loss of power and poor acceleration because they’re not igniting properly when you apply pressure to the throttle pedal.

Furthermore, carbon buildup can cause pressure to rise inside the cylinders and lead to piston failure, lost power, lost fuel efficiency and ultimately a breakdown of your car because it’s unable to produce enough force for acceleration or deceleration respectively.

How Will You Know If You Have Carbon Build Up In Your Engine?

How To Fix Carbon Build Up In Engine

There are a few signs of carbon build up that will help you to know when its present on your engine.

Some of these signs include:

  • Poor acceleration
  • Loss of power especially when driving at higher speed.
  • Engine misfires
  • Cold stalling
  • Engine judder at idle speed
  • Reduced fuel efficiency
  • Rough running
  • Check engine light turned on
  • Etc.

How To Fix Carbon Build Up In Engine

The best way to fix carbon build up in car engine is by using a good quality fuel with the right octane. This will help keep your engine clean and prevent any issues caused by buildup of carbon deposits on valves and pistons, etc.

You can also use additives that are specifically designed for this purpose but they’re not as effective.

People often think of fuel injector cleaner when it comes to fixing carbon build up in engine but that will only remove the deposits from your car’s combustion chamber. You need a higher quality fuel and proper maintenance for this problem.

That said, below are the simplest steps to control the formation of harmful carbon deposits in a car engine:

  • Change your engine oil on time or every 5000 miles, whichever comes first
  • Keep the proper gas mixture in the tank by adding fuel additives to maintain clean air intake and prevent clogged injectors, which can cause foul emissions from engine
  • Replace spark plugs every 60,000 miles for optimum performance
  • Clean carburetor jets if they are clogged with debris or dirt during operation
  • Clean and replace the air filter as often as possible to maintain clean airflow

To identify if there is an issue with the compression of the engine, check for corrosion on the spark plugs.

If there is any corrosion or a build up of carbon inside the cylinders, then this can be an indicator that you need to have your vehicle’s engine serviced as soon as possible.

While this may seem overwhelming, with a little routine maintenance it is easy to prevent harmful carbon build up in your car engine. By following these steps diligently, you will have an engine that will last for years and offer maximum performance.

How Do I Get Rid Of Carbon Build Up In My Engine?

How do you remove carbon build up? There are three different methods for removing carbon buildup: chemical, mechanical, or physical cleaning.

All of these have advantages and disadvantages so the best option varies by circumstance but is important to understand when an issue arises.

The first type of solution is the chemical, which uses a solvent to dissolve the carbon buildup. The liquid is then flushed from the engine with gasoline or diesel fuel.

This type of solution is good for removing heavy deposits and does not require a lot of time but it can be harmful to paintwork if spilled on surfaces.

Mechanical cleaners contain brushes that are used to scrub away soot and other deposits. This type of solution is good for removing heavy deposits but can be abrasive to paintwork.

The last option, the physical cleaning, uses a solvent that contains solids in order to scrub away carbon buildup mechanically without damaging metal surfaces.

It is not as effective as chemical cleaners when it comes to removing hard buildups but can be used to remove light deposits and can also be sprayed onto the engine with an aerosol.

The solvent is then flushed from the engine with gasoline or diesel fuel. This type of solution is good for removing heavy deposits and does not require a lot of time but it can be harmful to paintwork if spilled on surfaces

Mechanical cleaners contain a gritty substance, like a scouring powder. This type of cleaner is generally used for removing light deposits and will not damage paintwork.

Mechanical cleaners work by using the solids to scrub away carbon buildup mechanically without damaging metal surfaces.

How Much Does It Cost To Remove Carbon Build Up?

First of all, you must understand that the basic carbon removal is not an easy job – and takes about 8 to 10 hours and all these will definitely add to the cost.

On average, you should expect to spend anywhere from $1000 to $1500 to remove carbon build ups in your engine.


Fixing carbon buildup in your engine with a DIY approach is possible and easy to do, but not all of the methods will be ideal for every situation.

Take it slow and take care when performing these tasks as you are dealing with hot metal that could cause bodily harm if handled improperly.

If done correctly though, cleaning up around the valves inside the engine should take no more than an hour or two and the process can be repeated every few thousand miles.

  • Use a wire brush to get rid of excess carbon buildup around valves if there is any.
  • Pour liquid detergent over the area – Scrub it up with a toothbrush
  • Rinse off all particles from the surface

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