Engine Cleaning Scam?


Tha past number of times I’ve had my oil changed, The manager tell’s my I need the engine cleaned with their special system. They show me some dark areas on the air filter and deposits in the intake manafold. So the injectors and valves need to be cleaned. Vehicle has 40,000 mi.This is a new line to me and don’t have any good arguments against it.


Run for your life!!!


Change the question mark in the title of your post to an exclamation point, and there’s your answer.


Dark areas on your air cleaner mean you need an air cleaner, nothing more drastic than that. There’s nothing they can really do to clean your valves, even if they needed it. At 40,000 miles if you’ve been keeping up with your normal maintenance it shouldn’t need anything of the sort. I’d leave and never return to wherever this place is. Find someone more trustworthy to change your oil, and tell them you’re never coming back because they tried to screw you like this.


Thats what I did, and went to a different place and got the same kind of story. These are nationl chains and have literature to back it up.I need some good proof to get these people to back off. The fast oil change places are very convenient, most of the time a good repair shop can’t fit me in.


The words,“no, thank you.” should be all you need to get them to back off.

Be very careful with these quick lube places. In addition to hawking unneeded crap, they screw up basic oil changes with too much regularity.


Thanks, for your reply, What these shops are doing really bugs me, it seems to be a very prevalent practice in this area, and a looks like a lot of people buy into it.


I like your thinking!!


I need some good proof to get these people to back off.

You don’t need proof, you just need to tell them to pound salt up thier butt…or you could just say no.


One of the 2 vehicles my youngest son owns is an '04 Lincoln Aviator with about 45k miles on it.
A few weeks ago he was telling me on the phone he was going to take the vehicle in to the Ford dealer for some basic service. Nothing inherently wrong with that but I suggested strongly he come home (lives in another city) and I could do this for him in no time at minimum expense. He agreed.

So, as I go over the vehicle (which supposedly just had the fuel and air filters changed at the fast lube facility in his town a few months before) I find that both the air and fuel filters were filthy and marked with the “Motorcraft” logos, which of course means the vehicle still had the originals in it.

He mentioned that they also tried to sell him on some engine cleaning, transmission flushing, coolant flushing, and the obligatory fuel induction system cleaing. Luckily for him, he refused that.

There is a very simple way to tell if you suspect there may be a dirty injector problem (and the word “dirty” used to describe an injector is WAY overblown; that is seldom the case).
The car will have a very subtle roughness or a miss to it at idle. If it idles smooth it needs nothing.
Dark deposits on the air filter are normal and the filter should be changed; the exact opposite of what was done with my son’s Lincoln.


Let me guess, this was a quick oil change place OK I see on a later post you say it was a quick oil change place. Keep away from the quick change places. We hear far too many horror stories about them. Some may be fine, but many pay the help little, demand fast changes and that results in a high percentage of errors. Too many live by selling you something you don’t need at inflated prices.

Find a good local mechanic and stick with them for your needs.

Don't go to the quick lube places, even for directions.


Since you have a Camaro I think you have an excellent way to get away from these offsprings of Barnum as fast as possible. Learn to change the oil on your own or make time for a good repair shop or dealer to have it done for you. Your instincts to label this a scam are right on. You can purchase injector cleaner yourself and add it to a full tank of gas. Costs a couple bucks at the Walmart or Advance Auto, if you even need that. If you’re happy with the way your car is running why pay for what sounds like a scam anyway? And, if you insist on continuing with these guys doing the oil changes, at least make sure they do replace the oil filter.


This is the most common of revenue generation schemes by the quick lube places.

Another trick they pull is to put a drop of fluid from your transaxle/differential/power steering reservior/brake fluid reservoir (you pick) next to a drop of brand new fluid on a pure white cloth and show you how “dirty” it is, telling you it needs to be flished and/or drained and refilled. Any fluid with a few thousand miles on it dripped onto a white cloth next to a drop of brand new fluid will look dirty. especially since it comes from the plug on the lowest point of the fluid vessel where the worst of the contamination settles. That “demonstration” is completely meaningless. Slick, but meaningless.

If your car is running well then you need only that maintenance that is in the owner’s manual schedule and nothing else. Anything else is unnecessary.


I do change my own oil in the camaro. The family car is a 02 Chey Prizm.