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Q: I had my oil changed and they told me I have sludge on my engine, how can I clean it up to prevent any damage?

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I have always had my oil changed every 5K miles until recently when I had some health issues that I had to pay for and I ended up going 15K between an oil change. The recommended distance between oil changes is 7500 for my car. When I took it in to have it serviced I was told there was sludge in the top of my engine and that it was 2 quarts low. What can I do to remove the sludge and prevent anymore damage to my engine?

My car has 55400 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Although unfortunate, a limited presence of sludge in an engine does not necessarily require intervention. Really, the extent of the contamination would have to be confirmed before any useful advice could be given to you. If the sludge is limited to contamination in the cylinder head area, and there is no blockage of the oil pick up screen or oil galleys in the engine, your best course may be to simply change the oil more often for a while and use high quality synthetic oil. If the engine is heavily contaminated, though, the valve cover and oil pan should be removed to assess the situation and indeed manually clean as much as possible prior to introducing any cleaning compounds. There are products on the market such as SeaFoam and Auto-Rx but, again, use of those products would be premature, and could worsen your situation (if, for example, they loosen material that then gets entrained in the oil pump, pick up screen and passageways), until your engine could be carefully examined by a knowledgeable professional. If you desire an inspection and consideration of this issue, the same could be conveniently done during an oil/filter change, scheduled at your convenience right at your location. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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