The Why and How of Engine Flushing
Your customers depend on their vehicles, and most want to protect their vehicles so they last as long as possible. After all, they have spent thousands of dollars and expect the vehicle to last for a long time.
If consumers are using high-quality motor oil and maintaining their vehicles according to manufacturer recommendations, can they do more to help protect the engine? Of course, the answer is yes. For example, upgrading to a synthetic blend or full synthetic motor oil can help provide additional protection for the engine. However, many customers believe that also means they can change the oil less often. If they can change the oil less often, that means lower maintenance costs, right?
Wrong. Extending oil changes means the engine may accumulate more engine deposits. It also means the oil has more opportunities to thicken over time to the point that fuel economy is reduced, engine temperature is increased and wear from circulating combustion deposits and other debris particles increases, thus reducing the life of the engine.
Have you ever pulled the engine drain plug and nothing happened? Or if something did happen, it was very slow? These engines were likely abused by severely extending the oil and filter drain intervals. Will an engine flush service turn this abused engine back into a clean, like new machine? In a word, no. Nothing aside from expensive repairs will completely restore these engines. However, engine flushes and regular oil and filter changes might help by removing some of the deposits while avoiding expensive repairs.
The primary purpose of an engine flush service is routine maintenance. When the oil is changed, not all of the old oil is completely drained from the engine. Engine flush products are designed to help clean out loose deposits and dirty oil that can remain in an engine after the oil is changed. The engine flush allows the new engine oil to have a clean start by effectively removing all the old, dirty oil and loose deposits inside the engine oil passageways. This service should be conducted as directed by the flush product manufacturer.
There are generally three types of engine flush services available: pour-in flushes, engine flush machines and lubricating drain-and-fill flushes.
The most common type of engine flush uses approximately 12 ounces of a mineral spirits based formula that is added to used engine oil. The technician adds this product before draining the oil, runs the engine for a period of time and then discards the used oil and flush product. A new oil filter is installed, and fresh oil is added. Some manufacturers also make a two part kit.
A second engine flush procedure uses a machine to pump a flush product through the engine. There are several variations of these machines available, yet all work in similar manners. The technician removes the oil filter and drain plug, and attaches an adapter to the filter base plate. The flush product returns through the drain plug. The engine does not run during this service. The engine flush machine runs until the programmed cleaning procedure is completed. The installer disconnects the machine and completes the service by installing fresh oil and a new oil filter.