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I have heard of a term called the "italian tuneup", also sometimes called the "internal metal polishing effect", where your push your car hard (up until redline) in order to remove carbon deposits from the engine and exhaust system, which supposedly improves performance and increases the life of the engine.

I have a friend who vehemently denies the term, and refuses to upshift his manual Lancer at anything more than 2.5k rpm. He says that pushing it too hard can cause damage, I think he's worried about the engine blowing up. I, on the other hand, believe engines are made to work, and no damage will occur from pushing them hard. I generally push my car to redline once or twice a week (for example, flooring it in second gear on a highway on-ramp). But, I don't know if doing this is actually improving the performance of the engine.

My question is, is the "italian tuneup" a real phenomenon, does the "internal metal polishing effect" exist? Will my car run better than my friends due to my occasional redlining?

And, if the italian tuneup does exist, what are the trade-offs of wear on other components, for example transmission, cooling system, oil system etc.

  • Yes, it is real. My Ford Taurus (Vulcan) by design carbonizes rapidly, causing ping & other problems. Flooring my car 50-80 MPH, six times in a row, always cures the problems. I have verified the removal of carbon from the pistons with a borescope, before & after. Paulster2 is mistaken on several points in the duplicate link. – Carguy Feb 22 '17 at 6:10
  • I agree - my car runs much better after a long run at motorway speeds (80mph) especially when "long" is 400 miles. – Solar Mike Feb 22 '17 at 8:09

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