Should You Flush Your Engine Block?
You probably know that flushing a car’s automatic transmission is a common service procedure. Many car dealers and independent oil-change shops offer it along with the other types of maintenance they perform. Transmission flushing is a smart thing to do when a car has high mileage because it cleans out all the debris and gunk that has settled in oil passages and in the oil pan.
So, if transmission flushing makes so much sense, why aren’t engine blocks flushed? After all, sludge can certainly build up inside a high-mileage engine, especially one that hasn’t had its oil changed regularly. Well, to make a long story short, quite a few dealerships and repair shops are now offering engine flushing to their menu of maintenance procedures.
How it’s done
Engine oil flushing a simple procedure that starts with an automotive technician starting up the car’s engine, getting it good and warm, and then draining out the old oil. Then the engine is filled up with a special cleaning solution and the engine is idled for a few more minutes. When finished, the technician drains out the cleaning solution out and pours in fresh engine oil. Usually a new oil filter is installed at the same time and that’s it.
When should engines be flushed?
Many older engines can benefit from having an oil flush, particularly cars with unknown maintenance records. You just never know if the previous owner waited a long time in between oil changes and layers of sludge have built up. Sometimes you can even see the effects of this by looking in the oil filler cap. You might want to flush your engine after any major internal engine work too. This will remove any small metal particles and grit that is left over from the machining of the cylinder heads or other parts of the engine.
When not to flush
OK, ready for this? Engine oil flushing works well but is not always recommended! As matter of fact, some manufacturers advise against it. We spoke with the service department at Thompson Hyundai in Baltimore, MD, and asked what the Hyundai policy is. As it turns out, Hyundai is one of those companies that does not recommend oil flushing. Their belief is that by performing regular oil changes with the proper oil, engine flushes aren’t necessary.
We also checked with a local Chevrolet dealer and discovered that GM suggests the same. In fact, they state in their manuals that “Engine oil flushes are not necessary. If oil is changed on schedule, you shouldn’t have to flush the engine during the life of your car.”
Check with your local brand dealer if you are thinking of having your engine flushed. Chances are it will help to clean out accumulated gunk but if the manufacturer doesn’t recommend it, its best to heed their advice.
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