Oil Sludge Build-Up In My Car's Engine

imageWe often hear reports in the news or internet about the "3000 mile oil change myth" or about how businesses who are trying to sell premature oil services. An oil change prevents engine oil sludge build up. The first sign of oil sludge often appears under the engine oil cap - see photo.

Some say that there's not really any difference between engine oil brands, types (such as synthetic vs. conventional) or even where you have your oil change performed. 

Is any of that true? -or- Does it really make a difference what oil you use?


  1. Auto engines produce waste internally into the oil. (exhaust fumes, fuel vapor, heat, water moisture, etc.)
  2. Oil does not regenerate and depending on oil type, brand, quality and chemical composition. It's purpose is filtering and absorption agent for waste production caused by the engine's combustion and even moisture absorption when the vehicle is sitting unused. 
  3. A variety of oil filters, screens and valves in the car assist the oil in eliminating combustion by-products.
  4. When the oil begins to breakdown, it no longer can absorb waste products properly and the filters, screens and valves get overwhelmed. Conventional oil types will coagulate and block important oil passages. 
  5. Fluid and filter replacement is needed before coagulation forms to prevent bigger problems.
  6. Auto engines may need be replaced or rebuilt if the oil is allowed to breakdown to the point that it's protection properties are depleted, and causing the engines internal bearings to seize-up and producing a severe clatter or knocking in the lower part of the engine. (Photo: Engine oil sludge build up. Bottom: An engine which has been properly maintained.)
  7. Different brands of oil have different chemical additives that can shorten or extend the breakdown interval.
  8. Conventional motor oil, which is petroleum based, is susceptible to sludge and has a much shorter life than synthetics. 
  9. Not all synthetics are the same. Each has a unique chemical composition that allows for different time and mileage intervals between servicing. 
  10. The goal is to change the oil BEFORE it has completely broken down and overloaded with contamination.

imageWe recommend getting your engine oil changed at regular service intervals to prevent oil sludge build up. At The Repair Shop, we will keep track of each oil service you get in our computer system history, and we can contact you with a service reminder if you choose to do so. 

As an automotive shop - we care about your car's condition so you don't have to. Let us do a courtesy inspection today, and we will let you know if there are any hidden issues that typically go unchecked. We will get you back on the road with confidence and safety.

Service Reminders

service-reminderSign-up today for service interval reminders such as: oil & filter, brakes, tires, and more... These parts are designed to wear & need to be replaced before any major damage occurs. We can help.