Every time you start your gasoline engine, carbon deposits form on the piston crown, combustion chamber (CCD), and intake valve (IVD). Soon your engine performance and your vehicle’s ability to start will start to suffer.

When carbon builds up around the IVD impacts airflow into the piston – the build-up of carbon starts to leak into the fuel. It can contaminate the fuel and inhibit your vehicle’s performance and overall ability to run.

Old Wives’ Tales

An old wives’ tale mechanics would use a technique of dripping water or automatic transmission fluid into the engine’s induction system to try and break the sediment loose. This doesn’t work and can cause more damage to your engine. Several companies have now created a drip tool and chemical that would safely and efficiently remove build-up from both the IVD and the CCD.

Tool Kit

A tool kit like this is essentially a bottle containing the chemical cleaner, a flow valve, and a vacuum hose to connect to the engine. When used pairing with the proper cleaning agent, it does an exceptional job of wipe out carbon deposits in a machine.

When working on a smaller engine that doesn’t have a vacuum port to connect a drip pan, in a case like this, you need to use a piston soak chemical through the spark plug hole(s).

Of course, the best situation if you never let carbon build-up form. A mark of good-quality gasoline combined with the use of a product in the fuel tank a few times a year will keep carbon from building up and will keep your engine purring.


You’ll want to soak the piston by pouring a few ounces in each bore and let sit overnight. You should turn the engine over; this will help push out the cleaner solvent out. Then you will want to ensure that you do an oil change. After you start your car after all this is done, you’ll want to run the engine at a higher rpm. Now, be prepared – your machine is going to smoke. The longer it smokes, the more carbon build-up you had in your engine.

With the drip tool, the engine should run around 1,500 rpm for 30 to 45 minutes. Adjust the flow for about one drip per second. The high speed is used to carry the chemical into the cylinders and not allow it to puddle in the intake manifold.

This can sound like a lot if you aren’t a skilled mechanic – maybe you need a little extra help and guidance. Let us help you! Our technicians are trained to help with carbon build-up at Advanced Auto Care Vista. Give us a call; we are happy to help!