Congratulations, you’ve bought a brand-new car! You wanted safety, reliability and all the bells and whistles. Well, you got them, and your new car should last you for at least ten years, right? Maybe.

Newer vehicles are safer, lighter, and more fuel-efficient. They come with the most innovative fuel technology to improve your mileage, and with proper maintenance, it should last you a long time. There is just one little problem that may decrease the life expectancy of your new car. That’s carbon buildup.

Watch this great video that Valvoline put together. Professional driver Chris Forsberg and Valvoline team members used a camera to show people the carbon deposits that were forming in their newer cars. Most of the cars had low mileage, and none were older than 2012, yet once the camera got down in the engine, dark black deposits were everywhere. The inside of their engines looked like a chimney that hadn’t been cleaned in years. Many of the drivers were utterly shocked. They had no idea this was happening in their cars. They trusted that their new vehicles were built to last and didn’t realize that the technology in their engines was causing this problem.

Carbon buildup occurs as the fuel burns in your car. Just like a log burning in a fire deposits soot and grime on the inside of a chimney, carbon deposits will begin to form in your new engine. This problem occurs mainly in more modern cars with engines from 2012 to the present. Why is this happening? Aren’t these cars supposed to last longer? The reason carbon build-up is occurring is a new engine technology, referred to as direct injection technology.

Older gasoline engines relied on fuel injectors to spray fuel into the air intake manifold where the air and fuel would mix. This mixture then moved through the engine cylinders at timed intervals and to the spark plugs where it ignited and boomed. It was a highly inefficient process that resulted in poor mileage and wasted fuel. Newer vehicles have direct injection engines. In these engines the fuel is transferred directly to the combustion chamber, skipping the air intake manifold and cylinder changes. This process creates a ‘lean’ mixture of fuel and air, about 40 parts of air to 1 part of gasoline or 40:1. The leaner mixture of fuel/air to burns better and more efficiently. The combustion chamber uses higher levels of heat than in a traditional gasoline engine, so it burns fuel better, so you get more mileage per gallon and reduced fuel emissions.

The carbon build-up problem occurs because of the high efficiency of the direct injection engine. High combustion pressure in a direct injection engine causes the build-up on intake values and other parts of the engine. The fuel and the detergents in it bypass the valve and don’t clean it off like in a traditional gas engine which compounds the problem.

Carbon deposits look like soot and ash on your engine. The way to stop these deposits from forming is to use engine oils designed for modern direct injection engines. Valvoline Modern Engine Full Synthetic is designed to help prevent these formations. It provides extreme temperature protection, meets API SN plus classification to protect against LSPI or low-speed pre-ignition. Using top tier fuels is also a great way to make sure that your engine is protected. Premium gas has additives that help clean your engine, and it is more refined to protect your engine.

Carbon buildups can prematurely destroy your engine. They can cause a loss in fuel economy, stalling, engine knocking and overheating. If your car is beginning to show these symptoms, you need to do more than switch to a better oil and premium fuel. You’ll need to get the deposits removed, and your engine cleaned. Here are a few ways you can remove carbon deposits:

 Book a regular engine cleaning with your mechanic. Make sure that they check for deposits and ask what methods they use to remove them. Some shops will remove the intake manifold and blast away the carbon or clean the engine with a solvent that removes the carbon.
 Chemical cleaning of the intake system can flush out any deposits
 Remove the cylinder head and perform a valve job, cleaning out any formations by hand

Newer vehicles are designed to be more fuel-efficient and to run better, but that technology can come at a cost. Regular maintenance and using the proper fuel and additives is essential to keep your car running for years to come. That’s why we always recommend Valvoline products. They are some of the best in the business, for the latest engine technology. When you are ordering supplies, talk to our team about carbon deposits. We can recommend products, like Valvoline Modern Engine Fuel Synthetic oil for your engines.

Don’t run your new vehicle into the ground by letting carbon build-up. Use the right fuels and oils, and schedule regular maintenance cleanings to get the most out of your car.