Details for CLICK & CLACK

Dear Car Talk:
I own a 2013
Chevy Sonic with a
turbo engine. I love
the car and it gets
great gas mileage.
I don’t drive like a
grandma, but I tend
to drive a little on
the easy side in order to maximize my
gas mileage. I get
in the upper 30s to
lower 40s mpg.
My buddy, who is
a mechanic, says
that I drive my car
too gently. He says
driving the way
I do does not let
the engine get hot
enough, and I need
to periodically “put
the pedal to the
metal” in order to
“blow out the carbon.”
He says this is
especially true with
a turbo engine, as
you need to “make
the turbo howl” every once in a while.
I know that taking too many short
trips can cause
problems with the
engine not getting
hot enough, but
most of my trips
are in the 15- to 20mile range.
My buddy specializes in hot rod
cars from the 1970s
and ‘80s, so I think
that is affecting
his thinking about
today’s cars. Is my
buddy right? Or
are things different
now? -- Ed
Dear Ed:
Your buddy has his
headlight firmly implanted in his taillight socket, Ed. Put
your fingers in your
ears the next time he
starts talking to you.
There is no carbon
in engines anymore.
Computer controlled
engines, like yours,
that they really leave
no deposits at all to
“blow out.”
The goal of modern

Ray Magliozzi

can be reached by e-mail at the Car
Talk website at

engine management
is to protect the catalytic converter, minimize emissions and
maximize fuel economy. To do that, the
engine must burn the
fuel as completely as
possible, which leaves
nothing behind. We
almost never see carbon deposits in engines anymore. If we
did, they couldn’t be
“blown out” by driving hard anyway.
As for the turbo,
“turbo howl” is something that costs about
to fix in our shop.
That’s nonsense, too.
The more gently you
drive, the longer your
engine and turbo will
last. Period.
So yes, I think your
buddy is still living in
the 1960s and ‘70s.
And I think he may
have been exposed
to too much leaded
gasoline and exhaust
fumes over the years.
about modern engines the next time
you see him, Ed, and
keep doing exactly
what you’re doing.
Got a question about
cars? Write to Ray in
care of King Features,
628 Virginia Drive,
Orlando, FL 32803, or
email by visiting the Car
Talk website at www.
(c) 2019 by Ray Magliozzi
and Doug Berman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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