Clean Automotive Intake Valves and Why it Matters

by | Apr 8, 2013 | Car Problems & Repairs, Preventative Maintenance

Recently four of BA Auto Care’s technicians returned from four days of training in Kansas City. The big topic of conversation among them was the build-up of carbon on the valves due to direct fuel injection. I came across this blog that talks about issues related to carbon build up on BMW Mini valves.

At the training, the technicians had been given insight into the problems of direct fuel injection. Many new cars have direct injection because it considerably increases the miles per gallon (MPG) vehicles can achieve. Faced with the federal regulations pushing for higher MPG, there is a big incentive for manufacturers to leverage this technology.

The down side is the valves build up a lot of carbon on the intake side and this causes drivability issues that are very hard to diagnose. For the technical among you, this is explained if you follow the same blog link referenced above.

Our experience.

I remembered one of our auto technicians, Bleu, showing me a view of intake valves that were very clean so I thought I would include this photo so you can see the difference.

clean intake valve

What can you do to prevent carbon build-up from happening on your car?

  1. Use a top quality motor oil like Mobil I or European Castrol.
  2. Change the oil at least every 7500 miles.
  3. Keep the breather system clean.

FAQ scenario.

Q:  “My Mini tells me when to have the oil changed and when to perform a preventive maintenance. The Mini dealership even told me not to come in until the cars monitoring system says so!!”

A:  There are many systems on modern cars that monitor engine systems and drivers’ habits but there is NO substitute for having a qualified, experienced auto mechanic look at your car. These systems can’t monitor tire wear, OR uneven brake pad wear, OR damage from something hitting the underside of car, OR future battery issues…  The list goes on and on.

There is NO substitute for having a skilled technician service and maintain your Mini or any other vehicle.  However, you should know that using a good quality oil every 7500 miles will go along way toward preventing carbon build up on the valves of your Mini.

Thinking you might be having the same problem with your Mini. Bring it by, we’ll be happy to check it out for you!


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About the Author

About Brian England

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care), got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD. A few years later, he started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. Brian is a big believe in preventative maintenance, and his philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of a regular maintenance plan.