What is an Engine Flush?
An engine flush is an aftermarket chemical additive that is meant to clean out accumulated deposits, sludge, and other debris in your engine. If you are one of those drivers who very rarely goes to get their oil changed, you will most likely need an engine flush, especially if you’re planning to get an oil change soon.
Engine oil is meant to cycle through the engine to lubricate components to help keep them in good working order. Sometimes, however, the way a person drives can impede the oil from doing the job it’s meant to do. If you make short trips that include a lot of stop and go, the oil doesn’t have time to heat up and evaporate within the chamber leaving deposits in the engine. If left alone for too long without an oil change, this can lead to lasting effects on your engine or even needing a complete engine replacement.
When there is oil deposit buildup in our engine, your car can’t perform optimally. If it’s been a while since your last “routine oil change”, here are a few symptoms of oil deposits to look out for.
Symptoms of Oil Deposits
- Difficult Start
- You put the key in the ignition and turn it only to hear a chug-a-chug-a before it finally turns over. You know it shouldn’t be that hard.
- In an ignition misfire, the spark plug for a given cylinder fails to ignite the fuel when it enters the combustion chamber. You would feel this as a sudden jerk of the engine while it’s running.
- Bad Oxygen Sensors
- When too much other stuff starts getting burnt that is not supposed to be, the O2 sensor catches if. If the contamination is bad enough, the sensor will activate the vehicle’s Check Engine light.
- Engine Too Hot
- As the oil circulates back to the oil pan, it cools off so that it can repeat the circuit and remove more heat. The oil has to be at the right consistency to do this. If it’s too thin or if it’s thick and sludgy, it’ll be inadequate to properly cool the engine for long.
- Low Oil Indicator Light
- Sludge buildup can be blocking oil from circulating which would trip the low oil indicator light to turn on. You shouldn’t be constantly putting in more oil unless the manufacturer recommends it.
Why Engines Need Oil
Our vehicles consume both fuel and oil; oil enters the combustion chamber and burns along with the fuel. Both your vehicle’s engine design and your driving style determine just how much oil it consumes.
As your vehicle is running, the engine oil constantly circulates around the combustion chamber. Therefore, some oil ends up inside the chamber. Engines are designed to allow oil to enter into areas around the piston and valves.
Engine oil also lubricates the very thin space (about 1-thousandth of an inch) between the bearings and the moving surfaces of the crankshaft. Metallic surfaces should never directly touch while moving inside your engine; therefore, a thin film of oil is needed to protect and prolong the life of these parts.
How to Flush Your Engine
An engine flush can occur in one of three ways:
- A small amount of oil is removed from the engine and a non-solvent flush additive chemical, designed to break up carbon deposits in the engine, is added to the system. Then, the car is taken for a test drive to work the chemical throughout the engine. As the deposits are loosened, they become suspended in the oil and trapped in the filter. Lastly, the vehicle receives an oil change with a new filter, thus, removing dirt and gunk.
- A small amount of oil is removed from the engine and then the non-solvent flush additive chemical is added, then the vehicle is idled for 5-10 minutes without being driven. This allows the chemical solution to circulate through the engine and break down any sludge and suspend it within the oil filter. Finally, the oil is changed along with the filter. Any sludge within the engine is removed with the spent oil.
- Oil is drained out of the vehicle, as with any oil change service and clean oil that contains a non-solvent chemical formation is added to the vehicle. Next, the engine is either driven or allowed to idle to ensure the cleaning agent reaches every area within the engine that oil would. Lastly, they change the oil and filter ensuring the vehicle is back to its normal condition.