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Tuesday, 5 November 2013

What are the causes of engine sludge build up?

There are several causes of engine sludge build up.

Although some of the causes of engine sludge build up, also known as black sludge, may be debatable the consequences are not: If left unattended, oil starvation will lead to catastrophic engine failure. But it’s not only a failure that drivers should be concerned about; while the engine sludge is building up the engine is loosing lubrication and therefore wear increases.

What are the common causes of engine sludge build up?

Engine sludge build up can usually be traced
to inadequate servicing, such as missed or extended oil change intervals or to the use of poor quality or inappropriate oils.

Operating conditions also have a significant impact on the formation of black sludge. In Europe taxis were amongst the first to suffer. The reason being the short distances they travelled, often in cold ambient temperatures, never allowed the engine to reach full operating temperature.

The impact of this was that the vehicles often ran on rich mixtures which in turn produced more condensate, which ended up in the oil in the sump. The crankcase and oil never really getting to operating temperature also meant that the condensate never flashed off.

Another of the causes of engine sludge build up is coolant leaks directly into the oil. This problem can be exacerbated by higher temperatures, so cooling system problems need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

How does engine sludge build up damage the engine. 

Basically damage occurs when the engine sludge build up restricts the oil flow – whether it blocks the pick up from the sump or clogs the oil galleries in the block or cylinder head the reduced flow of oil starts a cycle that results in a rise in temperature with associated scuffing and eventual failure.

 This failure usually occurs over a short time and could be detected through a rise in temperature and even through the intermittent illumination of the oil pressure warning light as the pressure fails.

What’s the best way of overcoming the causes of engine sludge build up?

If the vehicle operates under severe conditions which are likely to cause engine sludge build up then choosing a quality synthetic oil should be the first line of defence. Synthetic oils have tailor-made quality additive packages that contain dispersants and detergents that clean the engines components. The particles that have been cleaned remain in suspension and do not form the sludge.

Synthetic lubricants cost slightly more than conventional oils, but offer the best engine protection because of superior thermal stability and reduced oxidation.

Whether or not you’re concerned about the causes of engine sludge build up in your vehicle it’s always well worth filling with a quality synthetic lubricant. Habot Synthetic Lubricants manufacture a wide range of synthetic engine lubricants that improve performance and fuel consumption while offering improved protection against wear. Give our professional staff a call to discuss your requirements.