How to Clean Carbon off Valves- 3 Steps, Explained


Having a car sounds wonderful. But if you are careful enough about the health of your car, there are a number of responsibilities that you have to always carry on. And keeping it out of carbon buildup is one of them.

Carbon buildup is likely to happen on many places, of which the valve is a regular one. But as it is a part of the car engine, it is not as easy to clean for a new and inexperienced user.

Now, what you can do if you can call up a mechanic and get it done for a few hundred bucks. But if you want to do it all by yourself, you are in the right place.

In this article, we are going to show you how to clean carbon off valves from your car engine. Stay with us and we promise you that this article will be the last thing you will be looking for in this regard.

So, let’s start- 

On Which Kind of Vehicle Valves has Carbon Buildups?

To be frank, not all sort of cars come with frequent carbon buildups on the valve. If you’re the owner of a car engine with direct fuel injecting system, your car is less exposed to frequent carbon buildups. 

The reason is, these conventional fuel injecting systems deliver fuels directly into the engine throughout the way of injectors, which are located at the intake manifold. 

On the other hand, if you own a newer car model where the direct fuel injection system works by locating the fuel injectors directly into the combustion chamber, the chance of carbon buildup is even more. 

The reasons for this potential carbon buildup are, fuel doesn’t get a chance to pass over the washing process throughout the intake valve. And as a result, carbon builds up on the surface on valves. 

What Problem Does the Carbon Buildup Cause?

There are several bad sides of carbon buildup on your car engine valve. Here is a glimpse of some of them- 

The negative result of carbon buildup is- it impacts on the way through which air enters into the combustions chamber. And there are many bad symptoms of that. 

As a result, you can see misfiring, hard starting, poor fuel economy, rough running and so on. ANd the worst case is, you can see your valve to burn eventually. 

Therefore, it is highly recommended that you clean off the carbon buildup from the valve body quite often. And in the next few sections, we are going to provide you with a complete guideline on the process. 

Let’s proceed for what you are waiting for till now. 

3 Steps to Clean Carbon off Valves

Step 1: Removing the valve from the engine

The first step of removing the carbon buildup is to remove the valve from the engine. ANd that takes a good amount of preparation. 

What tools are needed to remove the car engine valve?

Here are the tools needed for removing the car engine- 

  1. A valve spring installer or remover tool.
    (Our favorite model: SUNCOO Valve Spring Compressor Remover Installer Tool Kit)
  2. A small magnet.
  3. Adequate light.

Once you have managed to get all these items in hand, go through the steps below- 

  • Choose one of the valve spring compressor tools and keep compressing the spring.
  • You have to use a magnet to pull the retainer clips out. The clips will be out from around the valve stem. You might notice that there are a couple of retainer clips.
  • As you are done with taking out both of the retainer clips, the pressure should be released from the valve spring. Remove the spring down along with the retainer clips right from the top of the head.
  • Go right under the head section and you should be able to slide out the valve. Be careful about removing the valve out. Make sure you do not damage the seal and the guide of the valve.
  • Finally, you are done with taking out the valve successfully from the car engine. 

Step 2: Clean with the Solvent Vapour

This is the main step where we will be cleaning up the carbon build up from the valve of the engine. The material that you have to use in this regard is called a solvent vapor.

Solvent vapor is a chemical that you can use throughout the air intake system and the engine is running. But what we advise is, you must have to remove the valve and clean it manually.

There are two kinds of cleaners that can be applied in this regard. One is called the Genuine GM Fluid 88861803 Upper Engine and Fuel Injector Cleaner and another one is the Piston Kleen Carbon Remover.

In case of both of the cleaners, there are instructions provided through which you can make the best use of them to clean up the carbon build up from your engine valve. 

In many conventional cases, users often referred to the process as Seafoaming the engine. This process includes taking a pouring seafoam directly into a vacuum wine to the vacuum brake booster. As you know, seafoam contains a decent amount of combustible solvents.

However, there is a warning while you are using this product. Using combustible solvents in these days is no longer recommended as a healthy process. Because it allows a decent amount of an unmetered air into the engine.

Step 3: clean up the carbon buildup manually

Instead of using the carbon build up liquid while the engine is running, a safer way is to clean it manually while taking the valve off. 

There are many carbon removal Chemicals available in the market that you can grab to do it in this way. Just a while ago, we have mentioned one of these products called Piston Kleen Carbon Remover.  Although, this product is supposed to be clean carbon build up from the piston, but it works fine for the valve as well. 

There are clear instructions that you will receive along with the product and you should strongly stick to the instructions.

Step 4: Putting the valve back on operation

After you are done completely with the cleaning of the carbon build up, it’s time to wash it out and put back on its place. Remember the way we have taken this off from the engine? Now let you go reverse.

Take the tools that you have used for step 1, and start assembling the valves on their places.

Make sure you are not keeping any hole or leakage back while putting the engine valve back. 

Can I use oil injector cleaner to clean out carbon buildup on valves?

This is a major question that many of the users are asking around quite often. But the answer is you cannot clean carbon build up from the valve using a direct injection fuel cleaner. In that kind of carbon build up, such cleaners do not work because the fuel cannot ever touch the valves.

To clean up at, you have to use a Cleaner throughout the way of the intake air duct. And we have provided a complete instruction in this regard throughout this article.

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