Does Synthetic Oil Clean Sludge?

Do engine sludge problems annoy you at every oil change? Even when extreme care is paid when driving, engine sludge is a long-term problem for many car owners. If flushing the engine at every oil change can not wholly solve the problem, you need to seek a long-term solution.

Using synthetic engine oil is recommended by most mechanics. Why is synthetic oil? Can it help?

We will come to the answer after you are well aware of related issues of this problem and what synthetic oil is, and why you should use it in this case.

What Is Sludge And How Engine Sludge Forms?

Sludge is greasy dark gunk. Engine sludge is the end product of a sequence of chemical reactions. Oxygen and elevated temperatures force the lubricant to degrade as they are exposed. The speed of degradation is proportional to the temperature. Higher temperature causes faster degradation—the rate of oxidation doubles at every 18°F (10°C) increase in temperature.

This reaction forms the by-products that create some compounds. These highly reactive compounds will further chemically break down the lubricant. Then, a reply between the by-products and other contaminants will happen and result in the formation of organic acids and high-molecular-weight polymeric products. A further reaction between these products will form the insoluble product, called sludge.

The causes of sludge formation can be inadequate maintenance, low quality or inappropriate oils, skipped oil change intervals, or excessive engine idling. Moisture in the oil can boost the creation of sludge. Sludge formation is more frequently found in engines that use conventional oil.

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The Effects Of Engine Sludge

The most overt effect of sludge is that it can stop the oil passages and oil-pump pick-up screen, resulting in oil starvation. Not a sudden formation of sludge but cumulation leads to adverse effects.

Oil-pressure-operated mechanical devices are equipped in many engines with variable valve timing (VVT) to adjust valve timing, duration, and lift. Sludge issues lead to the solenoid screen or oil gallies blockage, preventing the VVT mechanisms from working correctly. Eventually, an expensive repair bill is unavoidable. Sludge is an annoying agent; efficiency is reduced while management time and money increase.

Engine Sludge Is A Serious Problem

You might find engine sludge harmless. If you think that your engine is dirty and that cleaning it can solve everything, you are optimistic. You, otherwise, might have to pay off a lot of money on repair because sludge might lead to a more severe problem. Engine sludge might end up causing a situation in which your current oil isn’t able to appropriately lubricate all the moving components of your car’s engine. You must be especially clear about sludge and what it can do to your car’s engine before starting any maintenance or repair. 

Sludge: Warning Signals

You might notice some warning signals of sludge. The most overt sign is a thick sludge smeared over your engine when you open the hood. Now you are in trouble with it. Another signal might be related to your oil pressure. Sludge might cause the low oil pressure or the oil light in your dashboard to flash continuously. There might be thick layers of sludge that make specific passages blocked. Consider if you’re in the oil draining and the process becomes slower than usual, or more seriously, the oil is not draining at all, you might think of a sludge blocking the oil passage. There will be little or no room for clean oil if there is too much sludge. You must follow your regular oil change intervals in your maintenance schedule to ensure there will not be any of these problems.

Synthetic Oil Changes And Other Possible Solutions To Handle Your Sludge Situation

Even though synthetic oils cost more than conventional oils, they deserve to be a good choice. They provide some outstanding benefits. Synthetic oil is a product that can tackle drastic temperature changes in your engine and lubricate for long-term use, therefore boosting the performance of your engine. Additionally, the use of synthetic oil will prevent sludge formation. If sludge already resides, synthetic oil can help scrub off the gunk and move it back into the oil filter. Another strength of synthetic oil is that it provides a higher range, around 7000 to 10000 miles, preventing engine oil overuse.

Moreover, synthetic oils resist oxidation because they are resistant to all forms of oxidation; that’s why engine oil is left intact for a more extended time, whether used or not. Remember to change the oil filter together with oil; otherwise, your new lubricant will be contaminated. Sometimes, the amount of engine sludge is excessive. In such cases, a chemical flush could be a good idea. Pour some of AMSOIL’s Engine and Transmission Flush into your old oil, then turn on your engine. After the engine idles for about ten minutes, high temperature in the engine will benefit the chemical to melt off most of the sludge and take it back into the oil. After that, you can keep up with changing your synthetic oil. Get your car cleaned by a mechanic if the flush can not completely fix your problem.

Nevertheless, the best way to eliminate sludge is to follow your oil change intervals and do regular service strictly. AMSOIL’s XL 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil is a long-lasting type of oil. It only needs to be changed after 10,0000 miles.

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Eco-Friendly Engine With A Synthetic Oil Change

Thanks to a clean, sludge-free engine, your car will perform better and become much friendlier to the environment. Keeping in mind the oil change intervals and regular maintenance is the best way to lengthen your engine’s life span, enhance its performance, and lower your vehicle’s carbon emissions.


The answer to “does synthetic oil clean sludge?” has already been revealed. Synthetic oil is what you need when seeking a way to save your sludge-blocked engine. We are sure that you can make your own decision to switch to synthetic oil to protect your car. But again, the best protection results from regular maintenance.