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The Benefits of Intake Cleaning

An intake manifold with carbon buildup.
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Most modern vehicles disperse fuel in one of two ways: through the intake valves to the engine or directly into the combustion chamber. Carbon buildup in the form of soot eventually clogs injectors, covers cylinder walls and affects vehicle performance if left untreated. The solution to this carbon quandary is intake cleaning. By using an aerosol intake system cleaner to remove carbon expansion from time to time, you can extend the life of your engine and your car. Here’s a closer look at how to rid your vehicle of unwanted soot accumulation and the benefits of doing so.

Where to Find Carbon Buildup

Carbon growth occurs in cars, regardless of the type of fuel management system used. Fuel additive detergents can help, but not always.

In older vehicles, fuel typically flows through intake ports and valves, where carbon buildup occurs. In modern cars equipped with direct-injection technology, fuel is sent directly into each cylinder, bypassing the intake. Although direct injection is a more efficient way to distribute fuel, carbon is much more likely to cake cylinder walls.

Whether your engine is new or old, adding intake cleaning to your maintenance routine will help you achieve the following benefits.

Enhance Vehicle Performance

Soot escalation is always problematic, as it eventually impedes key components. Whether the carbon buildup is in the valves, ports or combustion chamber, it will eventually degrade performance. Remove the carbon, and you’ll enjoy improved acceleration.

Stop Engine Knock

Engine knock is never a good thing, as it can damage the piston and cylinder wall. Take care of the soot problem, and the knocking will end, as your engine once again runs efficiently.

Improve Fuel Efficiency

Carbon accumulation affects performance, which is directly tied to fuel economy. By removing the soot, you’ll add a little extra distance between fill-ups.

Reduce Harmful Emissions

A poorly running engine consumes more fuel, and increased fuel consumption leads to more pollution, as your vehicle expels harmful emissions through the exhaust system. Simply put: You can reduce your carbon footprint by reducing your car’s carbon buildup.
engine bay
While you’re performing intake cleaning, check the other items that can affect engine performance. For instance, a dirty air filter can reduce horsepower, cause the engine to misfire, increase pollution and decrease fuel economy. Old spark plugs can also cause similar problems. It’s important to follow the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual to tend to these and other due items.

Check out all the chemical products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on the benefits of intake cleaning, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.


Matthew C. Keegan View All

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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