Causes of Engine Sludge

Engine sludge happens when there are issues with the ventilation system, like low temperature or poorly designed crankcase, crankshaft-induced cavitation or internal water leaks, causing clumps in the oil that can coat and clog your engine. Also, driving without routine engine oil changes or inadequate motor oil levels increases the chances of accumulating engine sludge. Another problematic driving behavior is constant stop-and-go driving.

Can Engine Sludge Hurt my Car?

In a word: yes. Motor oil lubricates all the moving parts of your engine. When you have engine sludge, the oil pump can’t work properly, which can cause friction with metal-on-metal contact. Unchecked, this can lead to expensive repairs.

How Do I Know It’s Engine Sludge?

First, there are a couple of symptoms to keep in mind when it comes to assessing your vehicle for engine sludge:

Ticking or Clicking Noise

Typically, engine sludge is seen near the tappet area of your vehicle. This issue can block the hydraulic jacks, exhaust valves, and air intakes from moving freely, resulting in a ticking or clicking noise.

Low Oil Pressure

When the sludge blocks the movement of these areas, the speed at which the motor oil is circulated through the engine can be drastically reduced.

Dashboard Lights

When your engine is compromised, either your check engine or oil change light should light up on your dash. Combined with the other symptoms, this could signal engine sludge.

Secondly, you can do a visual inspection of your engine. Do you see any oil spatter or thicker, clumpy oil build-up? Next, remove the oil cap from your oil pan and shine a flashlight inside. If the liquid in the oil pan looks clean and smooth, you’re good. If you see anything other than metallic silver, your motor may have a significant engine sludge issue.

What Do I Do?

Prevention is key! By investing in a preventative maintenance schedule for your vehicle with a trusted automotive repair shop, like London’s Automotive in Corvallis, OR. You can rest assured that your vehicle will always be two steps ahead of any performance issues. We will sit down and discuss the best plan for your vehicle and budget. Already suspect engine sludge? No problem! Our knowledgeable team of technicians can get your system cleaned quickly and efficiently. Contact our office for an appointment today!