Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Engine flush — pros and cons

Should you do an engine flush — pros and cons

Shops are pushing engine flush services–Getting an engine flush is a terrible idea

If you’re wondering whether you should say yes to the shop’s advice to do an engine flush, the answer is a resounding NO. In the vast majority of cases, you don’t need an engine flush. It’s a complete waste of money. Routine oil changes keep your engine clean. In other cases where you may have sludge buildup, an engine flush can dislodge clumps of sludge, which can then clog an oil passage causing oil starvation which can destroy your engine.

Why shops recommend an engine flush

It’s a money-maker for the shop. It’s that simple. Plus, it’s easy to sell unsuspecting customer on the supposed benefit of a “cleaner engine.” The service consists of pumping heated cleaning solvents into the engine to “dissolve the sludge.” That may remove some of the surface deposits, but it merely softens the most severe trouble spots. Long after you’ve paid for the flush, the detergents in the new oil continue to break up the stubborn deposits. When that happens, the freed up grit can clog oil passages, causing oil starvation and catastrophic engine failures.

An engine flush makes no sense for 90% of all car owners

If you think about it logically, a flush makes no sense. Because, if your engine has a sludge problem, it’s the result of neglected maintenance and you’ve most likely already caused significant damage to your engine. No flush can ever fix that. Flushing hot solvent through a neglected engine only serves to flush your wallet of hard earned cash. Look at these photos and the thick muck that’s caked onto the engine parts.

image of an engine with sludge builduup

This is what oil sludge looks like. This engine has been neglected and already has severe wear. No engine flush can correct the damage that’s already been done. And, with that much sludge, there’s a huge risk the deposit will break off and destroy the engine.

image of motor oil sludge in engine

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sludged engine

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example of a sludged engine that should not have an engine flush

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Do you really think a quick bath in solvent is going get rid of all that sludge? Sure, you’ll get some of it off. But what about the rest? It’ll just continue to break off and destroy your engine. See the brown colored metal? That’s scorched oil known as varnish. When metal gets hot enough to scorch oil, it’s already worn metal parts.

Getting an engine flush is risky

Make sure you understand the risks before you do an engine flush

Bottom line: If you’ve taken care of your car by servicing it on a regular basis, you don’t need a flush. If you’ve neglected your engine by not servicing it, a flush may be the worst thing you can do. In fact, several auto makers have issued Technical Service Bulletins advising dealers NOT TO PERFORM flush procedures on their customer’s cars. Even if your particular car maker hasn’t issued a bulletin advising dealer not to perform the service, it’s important to note than NO manufacturer actually recommends it either.

© 2012 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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