CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Blowing out the carbs

In a recent question, it was asked if blowing out the carbs (running a short period at max RPM) is a good idea.

Car Talk replied that it was not necessary but my 1997 Saturn used to sputter and stumble when I drove it around 30 to 35 mph until one day I was late for an appointment and drove it for about 6 miles at 70 to 80 mph on the interstate. After that it runs smooth at low speeds.

Do you realise your Saturn doesn’t use “carbs” not even one? Don’t stop participating in the Forum over just one goof up, it’s here for all to enjoy.

In addition the quote probably was “blowing out the carbon”, which till today some people swear by.

Your 1997 Saturn was not carburated. And it produced a small fraction of the carbon deposits that carburated cars did. Blowing out the carbs was actually about clowing out the carbon deposits.

It is possible that you had a partially clogged injector that got blown out during your race to your appointment. But that would be an anomolie. Normally on a modern car driving it hard does no good at all.

In the old days of leaded gas, and especially with high performance engines, a high speed run could be beneficial because it would clean the spark plugs off.

If your Saturn requires a highway run to make it perform better then your Saturn has a problem.
Fix that problem and the highway run won’t be necessary.

In the old days of leaded gas, and especially with high performance engines, a high speed run could be beneficial

Hey. Don’t say that. If that gets out to the wives (and maybe some husbands) how are they going to justify their hot rod driving style? :slight_smile:

Tell them you?re clearing the plugs.
From a Mercedes owner?s manual ? Spark Plugs:
? . . . For faultless engine operation the spark plugs must not be fouled. To ?clear? fitted plugs from time to time, operate the engine under load conditions and at a high RPM number in the lower gears ? as on gradients . . .?

Of course it was from a 1974 280 (carburetor) but you don?t have to mention that.

“blowing out the carbs” = “Italian tune-up”, when it used to be recommended to drive your car hard, holding it at high rpms through the gears (manual transmissions) to clear out the deposits.