Glad to Be Back: Now, Let's Clean Up

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Hey there. I had to step away for a moment. I’m glad to be back. Let’s get right to it!

Today’s vehicle manufacturers are making engines that are more sophisticated and efficient than ever before. The levels of performance, efficiency, durability and longevity are far more advanced than they have ever been. While these engines are designed using cutting-edge technology and sophisticated computer controls, it is the lubricants inside these engines that are tasked with ensuring performance.

Cleanliness is the word of the day when it comes to maintaining these newer engine designs at their optimum performance levels.

Yesterday’s engines seemed to be able to tolerate the effects of build-up and deposits a little better. Yesterday’s engines also did not operate as efficiently as today’s engines, either. However, as engines become more and more sophisticated, they are required to operate at the highest levels of efficiency possible — and they do.

To operate this efficiently, they use finely designed valves and solenoids to control all sorts of internal engine functions, most notably the variable valve and cam timing. These new systems allow the engines to operate near maximum efficiency over a wider range of RPM. To do so, the engines must maintain a very high level of internal cleanliness at all times. 

The OEMs are specifying semi-synthetic and full-synthetic motor oils at an ever-increasing rate to help ensure engine cleanliness goals are achieved, but even so, it is a tough level to maintain. They need some help.

Gasoline is Dirty

Gasoline sold today is the cleanest-burning gas there has ever been, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t “dirty.” The simple truth is that it begins from a filthy, crude-oil based component that is then refined in many steps to give it the best performance possible, while attempting to keep your engine as clean as possible. The process of burning gas in your engine tends to leave long-term carbon deposits on many of the engine’s internals that can, and do, dramatically affect your engine’s performance in a negative way. Carbon deposits on the intake valves can affect your engine idle, power and fuel efficiency. Carbon deposits on your pistons can create localized hotspots that affect the consistency of the fuel during combustion and can lead to poor economy or even engine “pinging” under severe circumstances. This can also lead to early and severe engine damage.

Carbon deposits on the piston rings will lead to poor engine-oil control, which manifests itself as high oil consumption. Dirty rings can also exacerbate blow-by of gasoline and combustion byproducts into the oil, contaminating it very early in its life cycle. Carbon deposits on the pintle-end of the fuel-injector tips lead to poor fuel atomization and poor combustion. Loss of power and poor fuel economy are the most noticeable results of dirt fuel-injectors.

Some of these damaging effects of gasoline-related carbon deposits can be lessened by using a higher-quality “top-tier” rated gasoline. Drivers won’t find top-tier gasoline at your typical warehouse club or convenience store. Top-tier gas is a premium product that the name-brand retailers usually charge a little extra for.

Now, even if they’re on a steady diet of top-tier gasoline, engines will still eventually build-up detrimental carbon deposits — there is nothing you can do to prevent the process as long as gasoline is still used in the engine. So, a timely and consistent service to clean up the carbon build-up is necessary to keep engines performing as if they were new.

Upper Engine De-carbonization

Performing an upper-engine complete de-carbonization service on your customers’ engines is one of the best ways there is to ensure their engines will continue to run as they were designed to. Typically, this service will consist of a two- or three-part process to complete the service.

The first part of the service is a strong and effective fuel system additive that you install into the customer’s gas tank with at least one-half tank of gas. This fuel additive will most often contain powerful multi-stage cleaning agents that will wind their way through the fuel system, treating the fuel itself and also helping to remove excess moisture that has developed within the fuel tank. The carbon-cleaning portion of this additive will clean and treat the fuel-injector tips, allowing them to render the fine-mist conical spray pattern they were designed to, properly atomizing the fuel so it will combust as efficiently as possible. Other temperature-stable components of this fuel additive, which will not burn during combustion, will help to soften and remove built-up carbon deposits that form on the tops of the pistons.

The second part of this service is typically an etheramine-based formula that is administered into the idling engine through a convenient engine vacuum source that is close to the throttle blade. This product is introduced into the engine at idle and is drawn past the intake valves and then into the combustion chamber. As it washes over the face of the intake valves, it helps to remove the small carbon deposits that build up and prevent proper valve seating, which can lead to poor idle, loss of power and poor fuel economy. It also helps to remove the deposits that can form on the oil-control ring “lands,” giving those rings the best chance to seal properly and control oil consumption. Compression rings can suffer the same malady, and this product will help to clean those up, as well, restoring lost compression, which can lead to increased fuel economy and engine power.

Other parts of this service can, but do not always, include an oil additive to help the fresh motor oil prevent formation of sludge deposits on the oil control rings and condition those rings to stay clean. Another aspect of the service that is sometimes included is a throttle-body cleaning chemical to remove the carbon that builds up on the backside of the throttle blade due to the process of reversion.

Today, many manufacturers are utilizing the gasoline direct injection (GDI) method of fuel injection, a sophisticated and highly efficient design that offers maximum power capability from a smaller engine. Unfortunately, all GDI engines suffer from rapidly accelerated fuel-related carbon deposits. The manufacturers don’t like to speak of it much, but GDI-related carbon deposits have been known to render some engines inoperable in as little as 20,000-25,000 miles. Some GDI engines are equipped with turbocharging, as well, making the damaging effects of carbon deposits even more detrimental. GDI engines need upper engine de-carbonization service about once a year or every 15,000-20,000 miles. Be sure to recommend it to your customers when appropriate.

This is a very effective and beneficial service to perform for your customers. It will help their vehicles perform as when they were new — sometimes even better!

Let Your Chemical Vendors Train You

The best vendors of automotive maintenance chemicals will gladly help you and your technicians learn all the specific benefits of not only this product, but of all their products. If you are close to their facilities, they will typically have a classroom/demonstration laboratory set-up and can host 30 or more people at a time to put on very detailed and informative presentations for your technicians.

If your locations are not located near enough to their locations, they will usually come to your location at a time and place convenient to you and set up a remote demonstration event.

Some of the best vendors have even developed their own in-house training and certification programs that they offer to your technicians. By earning diplomas that can be hung in view of your customers and patches that can be worn on their uniforms, your technicians will have an increased sense of skill and accomplishment, and your customers will have the extra confidence that comes from knowing skilled techs are working on their vehicle.

This is just one of the many highly sophisticated and effective chemical “opportunities” available to you and your customers. Be sure to ask your supplier about their whole line of products. They will certainly tailor a program specifically to your particular needs.

Glad to be back. See ya next time, and make it happen.

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