Here’s How You Can Take Care Of Engine Sludge


Most car owners can go years of driving without changing their engine oil. However, this may cause damage to the vehicles in question. If you’re noticing a knocking sound, or a pinging during acceleration, you may be facing an engine sludge problem.

Image from:

Image from:

Engine sludge is basically formed in the motor when the oil breaks down and collects on engine parts, usually due to the fact that the oil hasn’t been changed often enough. Malaysian drivers are also more prone to this due to short commutes with plenty of stop and go driving like in traffic jams, which helps to accelerate the process of engine sludge.

Engine sludge can collect in areas that interfere with normal lubrication, leading to a lubrication failure and catastrophic engine damage.  It can cause the engine to retain more heat, because oil normally functions to absorb and draw heat away from engine parts.  Collected sludge will both retain heat and also make the remaining oil less effective at doing this critical job.

“An engine knock or a minor rattle may get drowned out by music or traffic noise, but those little nuisances can turn into expensive repair bills if left unattended,” said Tony Molla, vice president of the Automotive Service Association. “Carbon build-up inside the engine can sap your vehicle’s performance and rob it of gas mileage.”

It’s important to know the tell-tale signs for carbon build-up, including reduced fuel economy, pinging during acceleration or increase and so on.

Image from:  Bizna Kenya

Image from: Bizna Kenya

“Excessive deposits of carbon build-up disrupts smooth airflow into the engine,” Molla explains. “Eventually, bits of carbon may break off and damage the engine and catalytic converters, or even affect sensors.”

But how can you tell if you have engine sludge? Here are a few simple diagnostic observations that can help you know if you need to quickly bring your car in for a repair session.

1. Check oil light. If your check oil light has been coming on, this can be a sign of sludge presence. Your oil may have polymerized enough to reduce its volume enough to cause the light to signal a low oil volume.

Image from:  Car from Japan

Image from: Car from Japan

2. Check for oil splatters. Look under your hood and inspect your engine. You should be able to see signs of oil or engine sludge on the outside of the car or engine, which is a sure sign of engine sludge problems.

3. Check the oil pan. If you remove your oil pan, you can take a flashlight and peer inside your oil pan. Make sure it’s still metallic and shiny. If there is any sign of sludge in the oil pan, you should know that there are sludge in other places.

If you find out that your engine may have deposits of engine sludge inside it, don’t panic. Here are some steps you can take to get rid of some or all of this harmful engine sludge.

1. Use an engine flush

Image from:  Car from Japan

Image from: Car from Japan

The simplest solution here is to use a chemical engine sludge remover because this is the easiest way to get rid of engine sludge. They are typically added to the old oil, which gives the chemical solution time to solvate the sludge and draw as much of it as possible back into the oil. The old oil is then changed and the engine sludge is removed along with it.

2. Bring it in for a thorough check up
If your tests point to the fact that you have a lot of engine sludge inside, you may not be able to clear it all by yourself. It would be worth it to take some time to bring your car in for a thorough check up and have them remove the sludge from the critical areas before it becomes a major problem.

Once you’ve gone through the whole route of clearing all your engine sludge, you’ve got a chance for a fresh start with your driving and car maintenance.  However, to prevent engine sludge from building up in your engine at all, Molla recommends routine maintenance to head off any potential issues, like a misfiring spark plug or too-rich fuel mixture.

“Deposits form in all internal combustion engines during normal operation, and they are not a problem if your vehicle gets seasonal maintenance,” Molla said.

The cost of not doing anything can often mean an entirely new engine.


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