What Every Motorist Needs to Know about Engine Sludge

When Your Engine Gets the Crud

 An ooey, gooey, sticky, and gluey substance that oozes around a vehicle’s motor and its components is engine sludge. It takes form when motor oil breaks down due to oxidation, moisture, loss of viscosity, and contamination. Motor oils are made from base oils, which are made from plants. If conditions are favorable, plants thrive; if conditions are not favorable, plants fester and die. So, it only makes sense that motor oil deteriorates if its composition becomes tainted due to substandard elements. These less than perfect conditions include:

  • Running temperatures higher than 220° F/ 104 ° C
  • Condensation build-up due to fluctuating temperatures
  • The extreme pressure oil is subject to as it works its way around an engine
  • Carbon build-up due to a lack of detergent and dispersants

Although newer vehicles and more advanced oils keep these issues at bay for longer periods of time, engines will eventually suffer from sludge if neglected.

Why is Engine Sludge Bad? 

Thick and sticky, clingy, and creepy gunk is never good for an engine. The main purpose of motor oil is to reduce friction by lubricating components of the engine, thus protecting it from damaging wear and tear. If the oil turns jelly-like, it cannot perform its function properly. In this situation, the engine will have to work harder, increasing stress on all parts. They will slow to doing their job, you will experience a decrease in fuel efficiency, and the engine will fail. This is not something you ever want to happen! And although motor oil is durable, it does not last forever. It is important to be mindful when it comes to caring for your vehicle’s engine.

What you can do About Engine Sludge?

The best way to prevent oil sludge is to have regular oil changes.  Whether you do it yourself or have it changed at a reputable auto shop, refer to the manufacturer’s guide so you will know when it’s due for service.  Also, make sure you are using the right motor oil in your vehicle.  This information can be found in the guide as well.  If you miss these important deadlines (Life happens!), and engine sludge does take hold, you’ll definitely want a professional automotive expert to diagnose the extent of the problem, as well as provide the best options.  Carlisle Air Automotive in South San Antonio, Texas, knows about sludge and is ready to clean up its act.

Written by Carlisle Air Automotive

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