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Answer: Carbon buildup is mostly a problem with today’s newer “direct injection” vehicles. Think of your engine like a fireplace.When the fireplace burns fuel it releases fumes, waste byproducts of smoke and carbon. In a fireplace the fumes go out the flu and deposit along the flu walls on the way out. The more fuel you burn the more caked on the deposits become, eventually blocking off the airflow of the flu and impacting the fireplace’s ability to warm the house. It’s similar in a car.
When the fuel burns, it releases the same kind of waste byproducts which deposit themselves on the intake manifold. The problem is that the carbon buildup restricts the airflow to the engine and causes obvious problems.
If you are having engine issues, the first thing you need to do is to take your vehicle to a reputable mechanic and have them check it out. If it is discovered that you have carbon build up affecting your engine, the mechanic will have to remove the intake manifold and manually clean them.There are several ways to remove carbon build up. Some shops use “walnut blasting;” which is spraying the manifold with crushed walnut shells to in essence scrape out the carbon out of the intake manifold. However, walnut blasting may not get all of the carbon out of the engine, and in addition, errant walnut shells may get into the engine causing friction (and damage) where you don’t want it. Another way to get rid of carbon build up is through the use of chemicals and this tends to be the most successful option.