Engine Carbon Cleaning Demystified
By Segun Adebayo (Technical Sales Executive, Carbon Cleaning Nigeria)
Questions about Carbon Cleaning, what it is, and how it’s done, has long existed in the auto industry. The response you get depends on the experience or preference of the auto-technician, and in some cases on the state of the engine.
Most vehicle owners routinely perform the usual oil maintenance service, spark plug and oil filter changes; but most have never heard about engine carbon cleaning. The difference between engine oil maintenance service and engine carbon cleaning service is related to the difference between oil sludge and carbon deposits.
After performing an oil maintenance service, an engine is given a pass mark as being healthy. In fact, most people believe that performing routine oil maintenance service reduces carbon buildup in the engine, this is not so. These are some of the misconceptions that I will shed more light on in this post.
In countries where most vehicles are either “Tokunbo” (second-hand automobiles shipped into the country) or “Country-used”(e.g. Nigerian used second-hand cars), engine carbon cleaning is very important. Most of these vehicles have exceeded a mileage of 25,000 km and have been used for more than two years before being sold. These vehicles need a full diagnostic scan to highlight engine problems but they also need to be decarbonized.
What do you know about engine carbon cleaning?
This brief guide will take you through the necessary information you need without wasting your time.
You can always jump over to the subject that you find interesting, however, the content is detailed but concise.
- What is Engine carbon cleaning?
- How does Carbon form in the engine?
- What is the difference between carbon deposits and oil sludge?
- What are the different types of Carbon Cleaning machines?
- The advantages of performing engine carbon cleaning?
What is Engine Carbon Cleaning?
Engine carbon cleaning which is also called engine decarbonization simply involves the removal of carbon deposits in the engine of a vehicle.
How does carbon deposit form in the engine?
Carbon deposits are a by-product of incomplete combustion of fuel and air in the engine. These deposits are usually found on the spark plug tip, injector nozzles, top of the piston, valves, the combustion chamber, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system, O2 sensors and the catalytic converter (catalyst).
Most petrol combustion engines have a thermal efficiency of around 20%, which means that fuel is not completely burnt. Some of the unburnt fuel in the form of carbon deposits will be leftover in the engine. This is tolerable to an extent, however, if these deposits are allowed to buildup, the accumulation over time will impact on the engine’s efficiency, which may also result in engine damage (knocking) due to complications during combustion.
Bad quality fuel and lots of stop-and-go traffic increase carbon buildup exponentially and engine efficiency takes a nosedive.
What causes an increase in carbon buildup in the engine
Carbon buildup is an unwanted waste product produced naturally in the engine and there are some factors that contribute to its rapid increase over time. Some of these include:
- Faulty emission system.
- Bad air system.
- Low-grade fuel.
- Additives used in fuel.
- Traffic congestion (hold-up).
The result of carbon buildup includes:
- Low engine power.
- Increase in fuel consumption.
- Reduced acceleration (or poor throttle response).
- Rough starting (e.g. cold start).
- Increase in exhaust smoke.
- Increase in engine noise.
- Engine oil turning black faster or even appearing slightly burnt.
What is the Difference between Carbon Deposits and Oil Sludge?
There is some misconception about carbon deposit and oil sludge. This has resulted in the wrong diagnosis and treatment for both waste products.
First and foremost, oil sludge is a thick, viscous mixture of oil, water, and sediments that sits in areas where oil flow is low. This includes the head and the bottom of the oil pan, When it’s in excess, it results in the oil passage getting clogged. Whereas, carbon deposit builds up on pistons, valves, catalytic converters (catalyst), EGR, etc.
A high amount of oil sludge in the oil pan is a result of irregular or lack of oil maintenance service, bad quality oil used in the engine, or use of the wrong oil specification. This makes it a man-made problem that could be easily prevented. This can’t be said of carbon deposit which is produced naturally from the incomplete combustion of fuel and air.
Oil sludge has little to do with an engine knocking (pinging), having a rough start or poor performance, whereas carbon buildup can be a major cause of these problems.
Different Types of Engine Carbon Cleaning
There are two types of Engine Carbon Cleaning services:
There are several methods that involve either dismantling the engine or applying strong chemicals to remove carbon deposits in the engine. They are carbon cleaning methods that may damage the engine in the long run.
(1) Dismantling automobile engine parts involves opening up the engine to scrape off carbon, (2) chemical foam is a chemical technique that creates foam inside the engine, similar to how DPF cleaning works for diesel particulate filter. It can do a good job on diesel fuel engines but may cause damage to the petrol engine. (3) Pure hydrogen carbon cleaning can cause hydro knocking.
These methods are usually corrosive and aggressive. They are usually used when carbon buildup might have damaged engine components like the catalytic converter and most times they don’t resuscitate the component.
Carbon cleaning for repair is what most vehicle owners and motorists are familiar with and sometimes confused with the oil sludge removal method. This method of dismantling the engine is not advisable as it requires some level of expertise. There’s also likely to be the replacement of some engine parts. The use of strong chemicals or gas for the repair can cause smoking and can also shorten the engine life span.
There are two newer machines made for this:
- The Oxyhydrogen carbon cleaning machine: This can remove the engine deposits completely and while running it, you may see carbon waste coming out of your vehicle. It’s not always effective and accidents can occasionally occur during the process.
- HHO Carbon Cleaning machine: This is the upgraded version of oxyhydrogen carbon cleaning. It’s not only upgraded but also has a built-in safety system. It works efficiently in emission reduction. Compared with other machines, it is a totally green technology for the removal of carbon build-up and has a lasting effect on engine performance.
The HHO carbon cleaning service is highly recommended as a preventative maintenance service for vehicles with mileage above 25,000 km or vehicles that are more than 2-3 years old.
Advantages of Carbon Cleaning for Preventative Maintenance
- No dismantling of engine parts.
- Reduces fuel consumption.
- Restores engine performance.
- Reduce toxic emissions.
- Smoother, quieter, and enhanced driving experience.
- Reduces annual maintenance costs.
- Prolongs engine life.
- Revitalises engine inlet system.
Carbon Cleaning service is necessary to resuscitate and bring your engine back to its optimum performance. At Carbon Cleaning Nigeria, we offer this premium quality service at your preferred location. Check out our customer review page and also visit our Instagram page for social proof of our service. We have been operating since 2018. You can book an appointment with us today through this link and we will drive down to your location.