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#2302685 - 06/30/11 03:59 PM Engine Oil Cleaner?
Chazus Offline

Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 1
Loc: NV
Engine Oil Cleaner?

1998 Plymouth Voyager Minivan, 2WD

I'm taking a short trip up north this weekend (400-600 miles) and figured it would be a good time to get up to date on all my maintenance. Smog check passed without problem. I went and got an oil change as well, and the tech said that I had a fair bit of oil sludge in there. I realized that I probably haven't gotten an oil change in a good 10,000 miles. He recommended that an engine cleaner be run through it as well (something that can apparently only be done during the oil change) for $30 extra. I declined at the time, simply because I was only planning to be there for 15 minutes before work.

After doing some research, I had a few questions.

Is this 'during oil change' cleaning process the only way to remove sludge?

I've read that using these cleaners like this can actually be bad because it may dislodge chunks and clog up lines. Is this a valid concern?

Will synthetic oils and more regular changes eventually resolve the sludge issue regardless?

My minivan currently runs more or less perfectly, for being 13 years old. Is there anything I should keep in mind with sludge and oil maintenance practices?

Edited by Chazus (06/30/11 04:00 PM)

#2302697 - 06/30/11 04:15 PM Re: Engine Oil Cleaner? [Re: Chazus]
ammolab Offline

Registered: 01/16/06
Posts: 556
Loc: Ruidoso, NM USA
In most cases this is just a "tech" trying to sell you something you don't need.

Run a few shorter oil change intervals if you worry about it.
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#2302700 - 06/30/11 04:20 PM Re: Engine Oil Cleaner? [Re: Chazus]
tenderloin Offline

Registered: 12/16/02
Posts: 6078
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
IMO unless your engine is a mess inside, "during oil change' cleaning process" If you want to use an additive IMO this is the way to go. Many here have had luck with Marvel Mystery Oil and Rislone. These will not cause damage by creating chunks etc. They clean safely when used as directed.

In reality 5,000 mile OCI's with the any of the newer conventional oils will clean over time as well. Pennzoil touts the cleaning ability of all their oils. Not a bad place to start.

#2302701 - 06/30/11 04:21 PM Re: Engine Oil Cleaner? [Re: Chazus]
55Test Offline

Registered: 09/22/04
Posts: 1838
Loc: New Brunswick
What engine do you have? 30 bucks for an oil 'flush' is a waste of money. You could spend 1/3 or less of that amount and get a good, safe oil system cleaner if you really needed it.
The total sum of everything I have learned from this website: ...Oil in engine, good!

#2302702 - 06/30/11 04:22 PM Re: Engine Oil Cleaner? [Re: Chazus]
walk23 Offline

Registered: 05/16/11
Posts: 553
A lot of people here suggest a mild cleaning process using Marvel Mystery Oil. You might try a pint in your oil now and driving it for 2-3 K and doing another oil change and look to see what actually comes out of your drain. From there you will know what to do. If there is sludge additional cleaning would require shorter intervals and a cleaning agent like the MMO or other agents A Rx, Kreen etc.
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#2302718 - 06/30/11 04:52 PM Re: Engine Oil Cleaner? [Re: ammolab]
cmf Offline

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 415
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: ammolab
In most cases this is just a "tech" trying to sell you something you don't need.

Run a few shorter oil change intervals if you worry about it.

I second this. Even just running one shorter interval and then going back to normal should be fine (and by shorter I mean like 3-4k instead of 5k, or 5k instead of 7.5k, etc). There might be some sludge but I'm also sure the tech was trying to get some extra money out of you. People selling you good and services never have your best interest in mind.

#2302721 - 06/30/11 04:53 PM Re: Engine Oil Cleaner? [Re: Chazus]
hounddog Offline

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1060
Loc: Ila Georgia,outside Athens Geo...
You can't remove sludge with bottle engine cleaner. What it does do is hopefully clean oil passage ways. It also helps oil drain. MMO and other stuff will clear up varnished lifters and stuck oil rings. But nothing gets 'sludge' per se without a tear down and soaking in parts cleaner or pressure washing with chemicals.
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#2302722 - 06/30/11 04:53 PM Re: Engine Oil Cleaner? [Re: Chazus]
HTSS_TR Offline

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 13499
Loc: Irvine, CA
You can use Amsoil Engine Flush or Lubegard Engine Flush or Kreen at the next oil change. Follow the instruction.
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#2302728 - 06/30/11 05:05 PM Re: Engine Oil Cleaner? [Re: HTSS_TR]
chubbs1 Offline

Registered: 06/09/10
Posts: 4574
Loc: Merritt Island FL, USA
Originally Posted By: HTSS_TR
You can use Amsoil Engine Flush or Lubegard Engine Flush or Kreen at the next oil change. Follow the instruction.

These are the good ones IMO. Add MMO to the list and it is tough. I would probably go with a lubeGard Product or MMO.
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#2302745 - 06/30/11 05:39 PM Re: Engine Oil Cleaner? [Re: Chazus]
kasedian Offline

Registered: 03/08/11
Posts: 411
Loc: Kansas
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#2302758 - 06/30/11 06:02 PM Re: Engine Oil Cleaner? [Re: Chazus]
OneEyeJack Offline

Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 2138
Loc: S California
Using an engine flush that operates quickly is a bit of a gamble. It is the best way for a shop that needs to do something right now and get paid. Because of that business model there will be no discussion of a plan to slowly remove sludge and do the job in a manner that is safe and effective. It does not fit their business model and might take expertise they don't have. Places that service automobiles and trucks may not always be the best source for information when it comes to lubrication. Some things that are known to be facts are just plain wrong. Find a way to slowly remove the sludge and become more involved in your vehicle maintenance.
84 Honda Civic wagon 5-speed, 432K+ Red Line 0w-30
03 Toyota 4Runner V8 2WD, 138K+ Red Line 0w-30

#2302765 - 06/30/11 06:20 PM Re: Engine Oil Cleaner? [Re: Chazus]
ARCOgraphite Offline

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 8747
Loc: N.H, U.S.A.
Chazus - How long did it take you to go the 10000 miles since the last oil change? What did you run for oil? If less than 6 months and you ran a decent SN oil I think you wouldnt have much sludge from THAT interval. I hope you dont have a Jiffy lube filter on your car. Good luck and have a nice vacation trip smile
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2015 Forester 6MT 5Door, OC#2 9991mi-VSP 0W20 + Blue service "FRAM" Filter

#2302766 - 06/30/11 06:22 PM Re: Engine Oil Cleaner? [Re: Chazus]
RF Overlord Offline

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 3270
Loc: Cape Cod, MA
Originally Posted By: Chazus
the tech said that I had a fair bit of oil sludge in there.
And he knows this because......he pulled a valve cover?...pulled the oil pan?

If he just looked at the dipstick, yeah many engines have "sludge" on the dipstick if it's near an exhaust manifold and gets super hot. Very common.

Most quicky-lubes would go out of business if all they did were oil changes, due to the fact that they use those as loss-leaders so they have come up with all these "vitally important" extra services that cost them very little and do nothing but remove money from your wallet.
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#2302968 - 06/30/11 10:10 PM Re: Engine Oil Cleaner? [Re: Chazus]
ahoier Offline

Registered: 02/03/10
Posts: 1720
Loc: Cocoa, FL
Don't knock on the quick lubes, wait til he comes back and tell us where he had the oil change done wink Not all "Quick Lubes" are bad....

But yea, you want a slow cleaner, like Marvel Mystery Oil. NEXT oil change, add 1 qt to your crankcase, then fill the rest of the crankcase with your typical motor oil, run the oil for 3k/3months, and get it changed.

[censored], even go to the same shop, so the guy can see how good the MMO worked wink Likely a LOT better than any of their "10 minute flushes" they offer....

That's the real danger, I know some of these joints make a good $$$ off these "addons" - but in 10 minutes with an engine simply idling, nothing is going to "come clean" takes time to clean up the mess...and that's why I like MMO, it works slowly to "reliquify" the carbon, varnish and "sludge" - to suspend it within the motor oil, to be either 1) trapped in the oil filter, or 2) drained down to the pan to be drained at the next OCI.

Some other stuff you can try is 6 oz. of Seafoam or 1.5 oz. per quart of Oil.....since you already HAD your oil changed, this may be your easier you can ride around with the Seafoam in the crankcase, doing it's cleaning, and then just change out the oil in 3000 miles.

Other option would be a good Heavy Duty Motor Oil, specifically what they use in the Diesels. Most of them are at least "SM" rated for today's may just notice a slight loss of MPG, since some of the HDEOs tend to be "thicker"....and really, now would be the time to run a good HDEO, in the summer heat; when you don't have to worry about below zero startup problems.....

With the HDEO, you should be able to go at least 5k....since it's motor oil itself, and not a solvent like Seafoam, or MMO...those heavy duty engines run loooong intervals on their oil....hehe. So 5k should be OK....but I'd recommend changing the oil filter at least once, half way through the OCI....

#2303219 - 07/01/11 08:53 AM Re: Engine Oil Cleaner? [Re: Chazus]
ARCOgraphite Offline

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 8747
Loc: N.H, U.S.A.
I would never put any of that %^%#^&%# in a modern engine crancase, especially in that dosage.
2014 Nissan Rogue S CVT, OC#1 2129+mi- Supertech Syn 5W30 + Honda004 Fltr
2015 Forester 6MT 5Door, OC#2 9991mi-VSP 0W20 + Blue service "FRAM" Filter

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