Engine Oil Flush

Wow - I’m sure this is a hot potato, but I ask anyway. Do you really, really recommend engine oil flushes?

I read the Baltimore Sun column today and was very surprised to see that you do recommend them.

Then, my question is this - who offers the type of flush that you recommend? It seems that most online “experts” consider oil flushes a scam [http://www.nordicgroup.us/oil.htm] and here is one that quotes “Click and Clack.”

So were the old flushes bad? I’m so confused I’m turning … blonde.

Any link to that column? I’m surprised they’d recommend it, unless the circumstances were unusual.

engine oil flush only if sludge build up remains after two quick oil changes.

A engine oil flush is NOT going to hurt anything. But I don’t think it does much good if you’ve kept up on regular oil changes.

Ok - since this is a syndicated column, I realize that they might recycle old columns that haven’t been printed in a particular paper - in this case, the Baltimore Sun. Note that I found it in today’s edition, Aug 1 2008, in the classified section for cars. I can’t find it online, and it’s not the first time I’ve seen a paper’s article in print, only to not find it online.

So here is the same article, with a 2007 copyright: http://hamptonroads.com/node/262541

Thanks for the link. Like I thought, applies to certain limited circumstances (emphasis added):
"Now, there is another type of “oil suction” machine that we DO like. It’s called an “engine flush,” and it attaches where the oil filter is screwed in. It’s an automated machine that uses high pressure to push out the old oil, clean the engine with a detergent and then refill the engine with new oil. That machine is very good, and it also limits liability. But it’s designed for an occasional cleaning of engines that are thought to be sludged up. It’s not for regular oil changes. "

Unless your engine is sludged up, you don’t need it. The best way to determine if it is sludged up it to remove the valve cover, and inspect the top of the cylinder head. Since the oil up there is typically out of the pressurized circuit, and relies on gravity to drop back to the pan through drain holes in the cylinder head, any sludging of the engine can be easily seen around the drain holes and valve springs. If your engine here is clean, the rest is bound to be as well. And no flush is required.

I had a Toyota engine (22R) last 325,000 miles on a steady diet of Castrol GTX changed every 4,000 miles. Never had a sludging problem. After the retaining wall won a fight, I sold that engine for $700. Compression was right on, and it burned no oil.

The good news about engine oil flushes is that they work well.

The bad news about engine oil flushes is that they work well.

All the “flushed” sludge tends to get lodged in the pickup of the oil pump. Without removing the pan, it’s often difficult to know if a flush has caused your pickup screen to become partially clogged. This has nothing to do with the oil filter.

Flushing a badly sludged engine is NOT good. What tends to happen is clumps of sludge are dislodged from where they were sitting in the engine and clog up the oil pickup screen. I removed an oil pan from a friends Cuda when he said he his oil pressure dropped to almost nothing the day after he did an engine flush. He said he stopped his car immediately and had it towed to his house. When we pulled the pan the oil pickup screen was loaded with sludged. We pulled it and soaked it in kerosene for a few hours. Then reinstalled it and put the pan back on. Luckily he turned his engine off quick enough and it started right up and ran great for years after that.

Oil flushes are great if you get paid well for doing them. They’re a good hobby too. I think that you should not fish for trouble and just do the recommended maintenance. This is a general answer to a general question.