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Last Updated on June 12, 2021 by John Robinson
You can get sludge from any oil. But synthetic oil tends to build it up much slower than the conventional types. Although quite expensive, it is undoubtedly worth the investment.
A synthetic oil, unlike conventional, is a lubricant made with particular compounds. These compounds are far more effective in breaking down and rebuilding petroleum molecules, which helps keep the engine running better and smoother. In the age-old comparison between conventional and synthetic, synthetic has a lot more going for it. For example:
Conventional oil tends to evaporate much faster than synthetic. This means the oil loses its viscosity, the element which helps it coat the engine. Synthetic oil’s viscosity lasts longer, and so oil changes are less frequent.
Conventional oil also breaks down far quicker at high temperatures, which can cause oxidation, which will develop deposits and varnish. This can also cause sludge, and Synthetic oils don’t have these issues because it doesn’t break down as quickly.
With Synthetic oil, your engine will run much smoother for much longer.
Can frequent oil changes remove sludge?
It can’t remove sludge, but it can certainly prevent it.
Sludge is essentially a build-up of contamination in the oil. As the oil moves through the machine, it is continuously picking up small particles and debris. These particles build up and make the oil thick and sticky, which then turns into sludge.
Some oils are more prone to sludge than others. It also depends on the engine, the mileage, and the weather. But if you keep to the factory recommendations and change the oil when you should, you’re far less likely to have sludge build-up.
How can I remove sludge?
You will need to use an engine flush. This is an aftermarket chemical added to the engine oil to help clean up sludge by dissolving the sludge and dragging it into the oil to then be removed.
Add the engine flush to the oil, then let your engine idle for about 5-10 minutes, but don’t drive the car. The solution will solvate the sludge and draw it back into the old oil.
After ten or so minutes, change the oil, and then voila! You have an engine clean of sludge!
Is an engine flush harmful for your engine?
It shouldn’t be, but on older engines, it can do more harm than good.
Mainly an engine flush is used on newer engines if there is sludge build-up, but on older machines, it depends. Sometimes sludge keeps cracks and frayed seals from opening up entirely and allowing leaks to spring in the engine. If the engine is older and has had the sludge for a while, the chances are good that the sludge is helping to keep the engine running smoothly. Instead, check the seals first before flushing the engine.
With all of this being said, don’t do an engine flush on a car with little to no sludge build-up. Chances are good your engine is running fine, and if you keep changing your oil when you should, your engine will keep running well, and you won’t need a flush.
How long does it take for oil to turn to sludge?
This, once again, depends on the oil, the engine, the mileage, and the weather. All factors contribute to the probability of sludge and how it will form. Usually, it starts to happen between 3000 – 5000 miles. But it can take much longer than that.
Synthetic oil, for example, can help extend this period, and certain additives can also help keep the engine clean for more extended periods. But frequent oil changes and check-ups are required to keep your engine sludge-free.
Howdy! I’m John Robinson from Levittown, New York. I am a mechanical engineer for 15 years and already had an established car repair company. I developed a personal relationship with cars since I was a kid. I always love the sounds and smell emitted by a car or truck and even at construction machinery. Since then I have been married but my love for cars only grew.