It seems like every car repair shop today is pushing the “quick engine flush” as a miracle cure for what ails your car. Is this service really a necessary part of your vehicle’s maintenance, or is it just more snake oil designed to take your hard-earned dollars? The simple answer is that it may be a little bit of both. Here are some basic facts about the engine flush, why it may or may not be necessary for you, and how to avoid it in the future.
What is an Engine Flush
Simply put, an engine flush is a method of cleaning the internal components of your car’s motor (not to be confused with a radiator flush. . . that’s something completely different!). When we don’t change our car’s oil frequently enough (or if the car is regularly driven in very dusty or otherwise challenging conditions), deposits of all kinds can accumulate inside the engine. Once this happens, oil flow can become restricted, resulting in diminished performance and – ultimately –damage to the engine. A flush is performed by adding a cleaning agent to the engine oil crankcase, running it through the system, then draining and replacing it with engine oil.
Do I Need an Engine Flush
Before you even consider an engine flush, check with the manufacturer’s recommendations for your vehicle. Some strongly advise against it. There are some cases where you should, however, consider having an engine flush. If you have recently purchased a used car from an unknown source, an engine flush may be a good idea. You have no idea how the vehicle has been maintained, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Also, if you have been particularly lax in having your own regular maintenance (especially oil changes) done, you may also want to consider having the engine flushed. When your car has been left to sit undriven for an extended period, it might be wise to flush the motor. Finally, if you plan to keep your car for the long haul, consider having the engine flushed every few years to extend the car’s life. For some older cars, an engine flush may be necessary to pass an annual safety inspection or emissions test.
Maintenance Tips to Avoid Engine Flush
The quick answer is to have regular oil changes performed by a reputable auto repair shop. Use the type of oil recommended for your vehicle. Keep up with all of your other maintenance tasks as well. If you do find yourself in need of an engine flush – or if you’re simply not sure – talk to a reputable mechanic in your area for recommendations.