By Kara Bishop
VehicleMD Staff Writer
Originally published in Winter 2011 issue
When I was little I loved riding my horse, Bear. One day when I was riding, I spurred him and made him run laps around our arena for a long time, not letting him stop. My dad finally stopped me and asked, “How would you like to run for that long with someone riding you?” I realized that my “ride” needed special consideration.
The same applies to the “rides” we drive today. The engines underneath their hoods work hard all day long as we journey to and from work, run errands or just take joy rides.
Just as I once did with my horse, we tend to take advantage of our cars and their hard-working engines, spurring them on to work harder and endure longer service intervals. But just like a horse can only endure so much running without a break, your engine can only endure so much neglect before it begins to wear out, diminishing your car’s performance and potentially leaving you with a costly repair bill.
One of the biggest sources of neglect comes from the buildup of carbon inside our engines. This nasty substance is a leftover from the combustion of fuel (it’s what happens when your car’s engine burns its gasoline, in other words). Let enough carbon build up in your engine, and bad things happen.
“Due to the extreme heat beneath the hoods of our vehicles, carbon can build up leaving varnish and gum deposits. These can make the piston rings and lifters stick, which can lead to several problems. Our cars use more oil under this condition, and we are robbed of the good fuel mileage we got when the car was brand new,” said Jim Davis, technical service manager for Sea Foam.
To prevent this stress to your vehicle, the carbon buildup needs to be cleaned out.
Thankfully, there are products out there that can help with this problem without completely emptying out the wallet. According to the experts, you need a product that can do three basic things:
1. Clean – The gum and varnish deposits need to be cleaned out of the engine. High-quality engine cleaning products can liquefy these deposits and safely remove them so that no components of your engine are damaged.
2. Lubricate – Your engine needs help staying lubricated when it’s working hard. Choose a product that can add lubricity without changing oil viscosity.
3. Moisture Control – Condensation adds moisture to the engine easily, especially with the use of higher concentrations of ethanol in today’s fuels. A quality product will be able to encapsulate water molecules in the fuel and oil to prevent phase separation, rendering the absorbed moisture harmless.
So if you’ve been “riding” your vehicle really hard, consider cleaning up its engine with a motor treatment product; ask your service technician for more information about these types of products and their benefits. By doing this type of service regularly, you can help restore your car’s fuel mileage back to factory levels and boost performance from your engine.
As I learned, every “ride” needs a little TLC – and that includes your car’s engine. So the next time you take your car out for a spin, remember that it would appreciate a little consideration.
By Kara Bishop