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The flushing of a car’s transmission fluid is a common procedure that has been performed for decades. Most dealerships and independent oil-change shops offer it along with other maintenance procedures. It’s an especially good thing to do periodically with older cars because it flushes out the dirt and debris that has collected over the years.  Transmission flushes typically cost some $80 to $120 but you only have to do it do it a few times during a car’s lifetime.

A new automotive flush procedure is starting to gain traction, though. It’s the flushing the oil channels in your car’s engine. The theory behind it is that debris and gunk build up in an engine over time, particularly in vehicles that don’t get their oil changed often. By forcing a cleaning solution thru an engine’s oil system under pressure, the debris can be loosened up and flushed out.

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How it’s done

Engine flushing isn’t a complicated procedure. First, the engine is warmed up and the old oil is drained out. Then a special cleaning agent is added to the engine in place of the old oil. This fluid is forced thru the oil channels under pressure and then drained out. Fresh oil is then added and topped off, and a new oil filter is installed at the same time.

Who needs an oil flush?

Most older engines can benefit from having an oil flush at some point, particularly cars with unknown maintenance records.  You just never know if the previous owner waited a long time in between oil changes. If they did, there might be a lot of sludge and debris in the engine. If you buy an older car, why take a chance, get your engine flushed out just for piece-of-mind.

Another situation that you might want to consider is a car with recent internal engine work. After you have any major internal engine work done, you may to get the engine oil flushed. This will remove any small metal particles and grit that is left over from machining work.

And, if you know a car has been neglected in regards to oil changes, there almost certainly is some sludge in the engine. This could give the car a longer engine life.

When you shouldn’t flush your engines oil

Engine oil flushing is not always recommended. In fact some manufacturers advise against performing it on their vehicles.  The service department at Brown’s Alfa Romeo of Patchogue, a local Alfa Romeo dealer in Patchogue, NY warns car owners to be careful. Honda, for example, is not a fan of oil flushing. Their belief is that by performing regular oil changes with the proper oil, engine flushes aren’t necessary. The engineers at GM are in the same camp. They state in their manuals that “Engine oil flushes are not recommended. If oil is changed on schedule, you shouldn’t have to flush the engine.”

When in doubt, check with your local brand dealer and ask them. Chances are that they perform engine oil flushes and will know what to suggest.