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Upper cylinder clean

What is an upper cylinder clean?

An upper cylinder/engine clean removes carbon deposits and other contaminants from the air intake and combustion chamber, without having to pull the engine apart to do so. An upper cylinder clean can improve vehicle performance, so it runs at it’s best.

Here are a few ways an upper cylinder clean can be carried out

  • Spray the cleaner into the throttle body where it gets sucked into the intake manifold
  • Pump the cleaning agent into a vacuum hose or pipe that enters into the intake manifold 
  • Remove the spark plugs and spray the cleaner into the spark plug holes

All methods can be done separately or performed together within the same upper cylinder cleaning task. There are various cylinder cleaners available and your mechanic will determine the best cleaner and method for your car.

How to tell if you need an upper cylinder clean

Why would you need an upper cylinder clean? 

Carbon build-up on the cylinders can cause pre-ignition, due to the heat of the carbon deposits, it leads to an engine misfire. 

When an engine is firing at the wrong time it’s not healthy and can cause the following problems.

The vehicle will eventually respond poorly, idle roughly, noticeable engine knocking and loss of power on acceleration. 

Fuel consumption could increase and the engine light may come on. 

Some of these signs can be subtle and easily go unnoticed, that’s why it’s a good idea to add an upper cylinder clean to your vehicle service on a regular basis.

How important is it to get an upper cylinder clean done?

Modern engines require regular cleaning and some vehicles are worse than others when it comes to carbon build-up. When fuel burns it leaves deposits which can build up over time and in some instances exhaust gases are recirculated back into the engine. 

Carbon build-up, grime and contaminants are part of an engine. If left to keep building up it can eventually lead to drivability issues and the engine will run rough and become less reliable. Over time this can lead to engine damage if the vehicle continues to misfire.

Upper cylinder clean

How is an upper cylinder clean carried out

As mentioned there are various ways to clean the upper cylinders which include spraying upper cylinder cleaning into the throttle body, attaching a line to a vacuum hose to the intake manifold and/or spraying into each cylinder via the spark plug holes. 

Whichever method the mechanic uses they will generally:

  • Warm the engine up first. 
  • Remove an air hose, vacuum hose or spark plugs. 
  • Spray or pump a portion of the upper cylinder cleaner into the chosen area. 
  • Wait the time recommended by cleaner manufacturer
  • Start the engine up and hold revs at a steady throttle position. If cleaner applied through spark plug holes the engine will be cranked enough to dry the cylinder before plugs are reinstalled and engine run, so as not to foul the spark plugs.
  • Smoke will come out of the exhaust (this is normal)
  • Mechanic may continue to add more cleaner into the same entry point or choose another area to apply the remaining cleaner
  • Engine is switched off and engine components re-attached

How much does an upper cylinder clean cost?

An upper cylinder clean will generally cost in the tens of dollars up to the hundreds, it depends on how dirty it is, the time taken to clean and the type of vehicle. An upper cylinder clean is a quicker and cheaper alternative to pulling an engine apart to be cleaned. In some cases, a can of spray might not fix the problem and the engine might need to be pulled apart, which can cost into the thousands.

Where can you get an upper cylinder clean?

A professional automotive mechanic can carry out an upper cylinder clean. They have the tools, knowledge and experience to know what cleaner is best for your vehicle and the best method to get the best results.

AutoGuru lists local and qualified mechanics that do an upper cylinder cleaning repair. You can search and book a top-rated mechanic in just a few clicks.