What is Carbon Build Up?

Newer car owners can avoid worrying about some of the more dated threats to car maintenance. That does not mean, despite what car makers will tell you, that you have no pending threat to your car and its state of the art engine. Overall, new vehicles are much more environmentally conscious, but a great number are using traditional fossil fuels. In this case, it is important to know what to look for in terms of carbon build up, as well as how to treat it should it become an issue.

What is Carbon Build Up?

There are few threats of carbon build up in older vehicles. New cars use engines that burn fuel like a fireplace, releasing emissions like smoke and carbon through the intake manifold. This is a fine process and keeps the fumes out of your cabin air, but unfortunately, that means that airflow through the engine will grow problematic the longer that carbon mucks up the intake. As carbon continues to make its way through the car as miles add up and more and more driving occurs with the new car, the chance of carbon emissions building up and clogging the engine increases as well.

Symptoms of Carbon Build Up

A number of warning signs can point to a carbon build up in your engine. The first and most common is going to be obvious issues with the engine. These could include the engine light turning on, or more subtle warnings like misfires and engine backfires. If you go to start the car and the engine does not want to comply, the carbon build up is a common cause. Likewise, any drivability issues that can’t be blamed on tire or alignment may very well be an issue of carbon build up. If the car is jerking while you drive, or even surging at stops, the engine should be checked for carbon build up immediately. At its worse, the entire car may shake or vibrate, and that’s a good reason to get your car into a shop immediately.

Preventing Carbon Build Up

A few things can help with carbon build up. Regular oil changes are a must, and so is the correct fuel. If your manufacturer recommends a certain type, make sure to use it whenever possible. Likewise, careful acceleration and use of the gas and brake pedal help to avoid excess stress on the engine.


For any issues with carbon build up, or questions about the quality of your car, reach out to us to make sure everything is okay and safe with your vehicle.

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