All cars require ongoing oil care in order to survive, but some drivers and cars may be more susceptible to oil sludge buildup in their engines. This is problematic and must be addressed quickly; oil sludge buildup greatly compromises your engine’s performance, and can affect other vital areas of your car as well. In this article we’ll go over a few basic suggestions for oil care and how to avoid oil sludge buildup.
The Importance of Motor Oil
Your Volkswagen requires a number of different fluids in order to function well. However, it’s safe to say that your motor oil is perhaps one of the most important ones. Your engine oil is meant to lubricate the various engine components to reduce friction, heat, and damage. Furthermore, it keeps the engine free of dust, dirt, debris, and other contaminants that can build up in the various pathways and parts. Motor oil maintenance is a critical task that must be carried out routinely, otherwise it can turn into sludge which can be highly damaging to your Volkswagen’s engine and overall performance.
How and Where Sludge Develops in Your Volkswagen
Sludge buildup is an unfortunate occurrence that greatly affects a car’s longevity, reliability, and performance. Sludge buildup occurs due to a process called oxidation, when the oil is in frequent or prolonged contact with oxygen under extremely hot conditions. Especially high temperatures, such as temperatures that engines reach, greatly contribute to the oxidation process and sludge buildup. The valve cover and oil pan are usually the first places to look for sludge buildup. But as the problem worsens, it can cause serious clogs, keeping your engine from being able to receive oil. This will ultimately be devastating to your engine, inevitably rendering it useless over time. The damages associated with oil sludge are catastrophic; beyond just simply engine problems, the issue can extend to the cooling system and timing belt as well as various gaskets and valves.
What Contributes to Sludge Buildup
Since we know that oxidation and high temperatures cause sludge to build up, we can take a look at a few factors that contribute to sludge buildup in certain Volkswagen cars over others. Here are a few common factors when it comes to sludge buildup:
- Driving Conditions – The more your engine strains and works, the higher the temperature gets. In especially condensed city locations where there is a lot of traffic and many intersections to stop and go at, your engine can reach especially high temperatures that are stressful for your engine, and perfectly contribute to sludge buildup—especially when the conditions are consistent over time.
- Driving Habits – Long, routine trips expose your engine to significant wear over a short period of time. Long commutes to work, or frequent visits out of town to visit family and friends on weekends puts a lot of strain on your car. It’s important to make sure you bring your car in to a reputed VW specialist before and after your trips to ensure no sludge buildup has occurred.
What You Can Do to Prevent Sludge Buildup
Some Volkswagens are more prone to sludge buildup than others, so it’s important to assess your driving habits to determine if your VW is more at risk than others. Here are a few other things you can do to ensure that your engine oil remains in good condition and that oil sludge isn’t accumulating anywhere:
- Follow through with ongoing maintenance, especially routine oil changes
- Look for common warning signs of oil issues
- Check-engine light
- Engine temperature rising
- Low oil pressure
- Bring your VW in for frequent inspections and routine services
Lastly, it’s important to follow your Volkswagen’s recommended maintenance plan set forth by the manufacturer. These guidelines were designed to ensure optimal performance.
What We Can Do to Help You
The Volkswagen experts here at Hayes European have attended to vehicles all over the areas of Santa Cruz, Aptos, Soquel, and Capitola, CA. We have encountered engine oil sludge buildup in Volkswagens before and have a set protocol for how to properly diagnose and treat the issue. If you’ve recently noticed any of the above warning signs of oil issues, please call us to schedule an appointment right away.
* Volkswagen Tiguan image credit goes to: y_carfan.