Engine Decarbonisation – The Facts and the Myths Decoded

Engine Decarbonisation should be done from time to time as increases engine life by a good margin and gives you a ‘brand new’ feeling when you do it

In this article, we cover the myths, beliefs, and facts on the important topic of – Engine Decarbonisation. You could have heard people discuss and talk a lot about engine decarbonization and perhaps you could have even planned on doing this to your car or bike, but why is it so important? Engine decarbonization literally means to free your engine from all the carbon deposits that otherwise may harm your engine. By engine we mean the walls of the combustion chamber, the top of the piston, the exhaust and intake valves as well as manifolds.

Now you may ask why carbon gets deposits in all these areas. Guess what? We have the answers ready.

One major reason for carbon deposition is the age of the vehicle. As the vehicle clocks more kilometres, it wears the engine out and so some of the carbon sticks to walls, to the valves etc as scales. Another reason is using low-quality fuel or incomplete combustion of fuel. Another cause is worn out piston rings, which if not replaced cause major harm and carbon deposition.

ducati-panigale-v4-engine-spied

When should you decarbonize your engine? Does the vehicle show any signs that its engine needs decarbonization?
Typically for any vehicle (petrol or diesel), decarbonization is carried out when it nears the 50,000 kms mileage. However, this depends on the make of the engine and some engines may even need decarbonization sooner or later than this. The range, however, hovers around the 40,000-50,000 kms mark.

Yes the vehicle does show signs that the carbon has affected your engine. Firstly there will be noticeable drop in power and fuel economy of the vehicle. You might even find the engine shuddering or stuttering and not responding quickly to your throttle inputs. That’s because it affects the compression pressure of the engine and also blocks the valves preventing smooth in and outflow of gases. Another visible side effect is excessive smoke which the vehicle will emit which hints at inappropriate combustion of fuel. This carbon deposition also fouls the spark plugs which if not paid attention to will have to replaced frequently.

Drive-E 3-cylinder Petrol engine

How is engine decarbonization carried out? What are the costs incurred?

Engine carbonization is of two types – Chemical and Physical/Mechanical.

Chemical Decarbonisation – A rather simple process in which a mechanic pours a chemical cleaner in the fuel tank to clean the path of fuel and also the engine components. This cleaner clears all the muck that’s deposited in the engine. This process can cost you from as low as 300 to 1500 or 2000 depending on the make of the vehicle and place of service.

Mechanical/Physical Deposition – This method is just the opposite of simple. For mechanical decarbonization the engine has to be dismantled and the carbon scales have to be removed by scrapping off each layer. This method is costly and takes time and can set you back by around 4000-5000. In some cases the cost can go as high as 10,000 to 12,000 depending on the make of the car.

That rounds off engine decarbonisation. A word of advice is to make sure that your engine need decarbonization and also make sure that it is carried out by a professional. If done improperly, it can even harm the engine so do exercise caution.

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