Banish Performance-Robbing Crud From Your Engine

If you’re noticing a knocking sound, or a pinging during acceleration, you might be due for a stop at your trusted service center for an inspection.

“An engine knock or a minor rattle may get drowned out by music or traffic noise, but those little nuisances can turn into expensive repair bills if left unattended,” said Tony Molla, vice president of the Automotive Service Association. “Carbon build-up inside the engine can sap your vehicle’s performance and rob it of gas mileage.”

Engine gunk, known as carbon build-up, refers to the dark, sticky deposits that form on internal engine components. These deposits are byproducts of normal combustion within the engine. How quickly they accumulate depends on a number of factors, including fuel quality and engine efficiency.

Below, Molla offers some basic facts about carbon deposits:

  • Carbon build-up occurs naturally. Although small amounts of deposits are no cause for concern, excessive build-up may damage the engine or catalytic converter and sensors.
  • Know the tell-tale signs for carbon build-up. That includes reduced fuel economy, pinging during acceleration or increased emissions.
  • Use the recommended fuel. Lower octane fuel in a high-performance engine increases problems with carbon build-up.
  • Clean it out. If you suspect problems associated with carbon build-up, have your service advisor inspect the engine and recommend the best way to remove deposits. The solution may be as simple as replacing spark plugs.