Volkswagen models are popular among a variety of people for their quality and comfort combined with safety and reliability. Volkswagen owners know they have chosen a long-lasting, durable vehicle.
Volkswagens must be regularly serviced to increase their longevity and keep it running smoothly. Volkswagens, along with all other vehicles, have a large number of components, many of which create byproducts that can buildup on the engine overtime; one of these byproducts is oil sludge.
If left alone, oil sludge buildup can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to the engine and other parts by clogging the system. Conversely, oil sludge buildup can be curtailed if the vehicle is properly maintained.
You need to understand how to minimize this issue and how to recognize the signs of oil sludge buildup, so you can have it taken care of as soon as possible.
The Nature of Oil Sludge Buildup
Oil sludge is the naturally-occurring buildup of oil that solidifies into a gel-like state due to exposure to oxygen, high temperatures, and other contaminants, such as dirt and dust particles. It can reduce your vehicle’s performance by sticking to other parts.
When ignored, oil sludge buildup increases exponentially, because as the oil thickens and gels, it creates friction that can shave metal shards off of engine parts. This can contaminate the oil and thicken it further, creating a vicious cycle.
The best way to avoid oil sludge buildup is to have your vehicle’s oil changed regularly. However, there will still be buildup in some areas over time. If ignored, the buildup can reduce your vehicle’s overall performance by increasing the friction among parts, which in turn increases the temperature under your hood and puts your engine at risk of overheating.
Signs of Oil Sludge Buildup
If you notice any of the following signs of oil sludge buildup, bring your vehicle to our automotive shop for an engine cleaning:
- Engine Overheats: Oil sludge means there is a lack of lubrication in the engine, increasing the friction and temperature, causing the engine to overheat. Keep an eye on your vehicle’s temperature gauge to detect any signs of increased temperatures.
- Poor Fuel Economy: If your vehicle’s engine is having to work extra hard due to the increased friction, then you will notice an increase in fuel consumption as your gas mileage
- Check Engine Light Illuminates: The check engine light indicates a large number of issues, one of which is oil sludge buildup.
- Unusual Noises (e.g. clicking or knocking): When the engine’s parts are not running as smoothly due to sludge gumming up the system, it can result in unusual noises as the parts try to operate and move.
- Loss of Power: Your vehicle may not accelerate as quickly because the engine has to work harder to create power.
- Rough Idling: The excess friction can also cause your vehicle to shake or vibrate when idling.
- Black Gunk Clumped Around Engine and/or Oil Valve: If you suspect there is something wrong, you may look under your vehicle’s hood and find oil sludge visible on the outside of the engine and or around the oil valve.
How to Clean and Prevent Oil Sludge Buildup
While it may be tempting to try and clean the oil sludge buildup yourself, it is best to have your vehicle professionally cleaned by experienced automotive technicians that have the equipment and tools necessary to take the engine apart and clean it as thoroughly as possible.
The best ways to reduce the amount of oil sludge buildup in your engine is to:
- change your vehicle’s oil regularly
- clean and/or change your vehicle’s oil filter as recommended by the manufacturer of automotive shop
- use high-quality, unexpired oil
Engine oil is a critical fluid in your vehicle, so you want it to be able to do its job. Making sure the oil is clean and able to pass through the engine uninhibited allows the engine to stay lubricated, which helps extend your VW’s engine’s life.
Professional Automotive: The Professionals You Need for your Volkswagen
It is incredibly important to your vehicle’s health to have the oil changed regularly, and even when maintained properly, oil sludge buildup may still occur. If you notice any signs of oil sludge buildup in your Volkswagen, you will need to schedule an appointment to have it professionally cleaned in order for your vehicle to perform at its best.
At Professional Automotive, our ASE-certified technicians will provide your vehicle with the best automotive service in the area. We guarantee our work with a 24 month/24,000 mile warranty. If you are in Marlborough, MA, and your Volkswagen needs an oil change or an engine cleaning, schedule an appointment with us today and we will have your vehicle running smoothly.