Engine sludge can really wear down your engine, and decrease the performance of your car and truck. A properly tuned car free of engine sludge will perform at its best, so it’s important to take the steps necessary to get rid of it, so you can get it back to the way that it was before this all began.
It’s also important to learn how the situation got this way, and how you can prevent it from happening again, or you’ll just get in the cycle of letting it build up and then having to get rid of it again and again. Here we’ll give you a breakdown of some of the best ways we could find for this problem, as well as what to avoid doing that could exacerbate things.
Disclaimer: We’ve assembled some of the best ways to get rid of engine sludge, after seeing what some of the best mechanics out there had to say on the issue. Of course, every situation is different, so use your best judgment on what you think is right for your car or truck. We make no promises that any of these will work for your car, and any actions you take are your own responsibility.
Best Way to Get Rid of Engine Sludge: Regular Oil Changes
If you do nothing else but get oil changes as recommended, and be sure to use a good oil, your engine sludge problem should work itself out on its own. This is a better solution that trying to remove tons of it all at once, because you could also end up removing some of the lubricant that is helping your engine run properly. It’s like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It’s hard to know where the sludge stops and the stuff you want to keep starts.
That’s why a steady, gradual process is best. A good mechanic will let you know which oil they recommend, and will also be able to tell you just how bad your sludge problem is, and if they have any recommendations for your specific make and model, as well as the mileage, they’ll be able to let you know when you bring it in.
Try to Avoid: Additives
There are additives that can you put in your engine that are designed to loosen up some of that sludge and get things back to running smoothly again. Many mechanics out there will tell you that these are best avoided, because there are tons of horror stories where something like that caused the entire engine to seize up. It’s really the quick fix sort of thinking that causes more problems than it solves.
There are also a ton of other tips and tricks that you find out there from well-meaning car enthusiasts. Some of them are better than others, but you have to ask yourself who you want to listen to about cars. There’s not a really good way to check out a person’s credentials on car advice, and there’s no way to know if their car shares any sort of similarities to your car, as they’ll likely be different makes and models.
Even if you end up getting model specific advice, you probably will have different mileage than theirs, and you will not know if the two cars have the same sort of maintenance history. Perhaps they take stellar care of their car and you’re more lax about keeping it running. It wouldn’t be a true apples to apples comparison and so you wouldn’t be getting the best advice. That’s why you should take your car in to a good mechanic, someone that you can trust, and have them give you their professional opinion for your specific case.
What Causes Engine Sludge
Engine sludge builds up through lack of proper maintenance. If you miss some scheduled oil changes you will notice it start to back up. That’s why it’s best to just start getting more frequent oil changes and this usually acts to slowly but surely get things back to normal. Of course, a high mileage car has a higher chance of a sludge problem, and at some point you might not be able to avoid it any longer, even with perfect maintenance. It’s just something that happens with older cars, so you have to work at staving it off for as long as possible.
Preventing Future Engine Sludge Build-Up
As long as you hit all of your recommended oil changes, you shouldn’t run into engine sludge problems going forward. Don’t skimp on the oil and be sure that you get what’s recommended, even if it costs a few dollars more. A few dollars here and there is much better than a big engine problem later on.