A Complete Buying Guide to the Best Engine Flush

A Complete Buying Guide to the Best Engine Flush

When it comes to maintaining a well-functioning and properly working vehicle, there are several actions that you can take in order to ensure that your vehicle runs for as long as possible. Your engine is possibly one of the most important components to your vehicle overall so making sure that it sustains maximum efficiency and operation is critical in maintaining a well-running vehicle all around.

There are several different components that go into making your engine operate successfully which is why accurately identifying any potential issues is vital to ensure a safe motor vehicle. There are a lot of ways that you can flush your engine to ensure your vehicle is running smoothly and safely however depending on the make and model of your vehicle, certain engine flush products may be better suited for your needs when compared to others. Before making a final purchase decision on which engine flush is best for your vehicle, you’ll need to take into consideration various factors.

These things include the capacity of your engine, it’s recommended maintenance procedures as stated by the manufacturer, the amount of dirt inside your engine and more. One of the main benefits to using an engine flush product is that you can clean out any debris, dust, soiling materials, and other substances which can affect the performance of your engine over time. Speaking in general, engine flushes are generally very safe to use and can improve the performance of your engine almost instantly.

However, due to the fact that all engines are crafted using different operational requirements some engine flush products can put specific engine types at risk for even further damage. That’s why it’s so important for you to do the proper amount of research before buying any engine flush product to ensure that it’s safe to use on your vehicle and won’t interfere with any existing engine functions.

There are a plethora of engine flush options for you to choose from on the market and all of them provide their own benefits depending on the problem that you’re facing in regards to your engine and the results you expect to see from using the engine flush of your choice.

car engine

All of these various factors can make finding the perfect engine flush for your vehicle quite challenging, luckily, you’ve come to the right place to get all of the information you need about engine flushes and how to choose the correct one for your vehicle.

In this guide, we’re going to give you a detailed breakdown about all of the critical factors that you need to consider before buying an engine flush and how to ensure that the product you choose is compatible with your vehicle. We’ll cover all of the important information that you need to know about engine flushed so that you can maintain a high performing engine for a long time to come.

Use all of the information in this guide to help you figure out how you can determine which engine flush is optimal for your engine. All of the engine flush products listed in this guide will have their own distinct benefits and attributes so make sure you thoroughly read each section to accurately comprehend the information.

Let’s begin by talking about engine flushes, what they are and how they can help your vehicle perform better over extended periods of time while in use.

Engine Flushes: Explained

engine flush

Most people don’t realize that they’re engine collects dirt, sludge, and other soil deposits which can affect its performance over extended periods of time. When these various deposits begin to settle in your engine, they can interrupt the efficiency and performance standards of your vehicle.

An engine flush is an aftermarket chemical additive designed to clean accumulated deposits, sludge and other gunk from your engine. You pour it into your engine’s oil-filler port and idle the engine for about 10-15 minutes. It mixes with the oil and circulates through the engine, helping dissolve sludge and clean deposits. Then, you drain the oil (along with much of the gunk, in theory), change the oil filter, add fresh oil and return to the business of driving.

If it did its job, your engine’s performance will return to the heady days of its youth, when it delivered maximum power and efficiency. Over time, however, harmful deposits and sludge may have accumulated, causing power and performance loss.

Deposits and sludge can form for several reasons, including:

  • Frequent short trips that don’t allow the oil to fully warm up and evaporate moisture

  • Ingestion of air-borne dirt

  • Fuel dilution

  • High heat breaks down the oil

As it settles, sludge can clog narrow oil passages or the screen on the oil pickup tube, restricting oil flow to vital parts, especially the upper valve train. Deposits can cause the rings to stick, reducing engine compression and horsepower.

Engine Sludge and Its effect on your vehicle

engine sludge.

You may be wondering if engine sludge can be removed from your engine, the answer is yes. The proper detergents in the correct concentration can dissolve engine sludge, deposits, and varnish. Ideally, sludge won’t form at all; however, sometimes mechanical issues arise, such as a leaking head gasket, and the formation of sludge occurs. If sludge does form, the oil’s detergents help dissolve and disperse sludge to clean the engine.

This is more challenging than it sounds. For starters, the oil must perform several functions, not just help prevent engine sludge. For that reason, oils contain a limited concentration of detergents (compared to an engine flush product) to ensure room in the formulation for other additives that protect against wear, fight oxidation, combat rust and more.

An engine flush product, on the other hand, is designed solely to clean. AMSOIL Engine and Transmission Flush, for example, contains nothing but potent detergents, making it a more effective cleaner than motor oil. Plus, it cleans at the molecular level, ensuring deposits are dissolved and properly exit the engine with the oil when it’s drained. This is important since some motorists fear that an engine flush will free large chunks and cause an avalanche of debris to clog passages inside the engine. AMSOIL Engine and Transmission Flush guards against this scenario.

Are Engine Flushes Required to Maintain Your Vehicle?

engine flush in car

A good engine flush can help loosen deposits and dissolve sludge, returning your engine to like-new condition. However, in old engines with high miles, sludge may be the only barrier keeping oil from seeping through worn or cracked seals. Removing the sludge exposes the seals for what they really are – junk.

Soon, your engine begins leaking oil, and your mind instantly associates the engine flush product with an oil leak. In reality, the seals were already bad; the flush simply revealed their true condition. If you suspect your vehicle falls into this camp, leave well enough alone and skip the engine flush. It’s probably not worth trying to revive an engine in such poor condition without first fixing the bad seals or other defects. In effect, you’re choosing your problem: either sludge and deposits robbing performance or if you clean the engine, the seals showing their true condition.

But that’s not to say an engine flush is never a good idea. In fact, it’s often the first step in helping restore a neglected vehicle to top-notch performance. And, often when you buy a used vehicle, that’s what you’re getting – a vehicle whose owner found antiquing on Saturday afternoon more enjoyable than changing oil or dropping the transmission pan.

Consequently, your “pre-owned” ride, while not complete junk, may boast a sketchy maintenance record. In these cases, a potent, detergent-based flush can help prepare the engine for new oil, loosening sticky valves or rings and helping remove harmful sludge. While not a required step when switching to AMSOIL synthetic motor oil, we do recommend flushing your engine if you want to give your vehicle a fresh start.

Main Benefits of Using an Engine Flush

Engine flushes can offer a lot of great benefits to vehicle owners who are looking to maintain the car or truck without having to perform really costly repairs. To help you better understand the potential benefits that you could receive from using an engine flush, we’re going to list some of the main advantages to using them and how they can potentially help you save time and money.

Obtain maximum fuel efficiency

Contaminants circulating throughout the engine can lead to oil breakdown and increased viscosity – and higher-viscosity oil requires more energy to circulate throughout the engine. Sludge and deposits on engine parts can also increase resistance, which wastes fuel to overcome. Cleaning the engine helps ensure parts move efficiently, maximizing fuel economy.

Emissions Reductions

If deposits in the piston-ring lands cause the rings to stick, oil can migrate into the combustion chamber, where it burns. This not only leads to harmful deposits; it also increases exhaust emissions as the burned oil exits the tailpipe. A good engine flush helps free stuck rings and reduce oil consumption, in turn reducing emissions.

Heat reduction

Excessive heat is bad for your engine and the oil. Extreme heat reduces engine efficiency while increasing the rate at which the oil oxidizes (chemically breaks down). Sludge and deposits act as insulators that prevent the engine from dissipating heat as designed. Flushing your engine helps ensure it manages heat properly for optimum efficiency and oil life.

Fast acting results

This might not apply to every engine flush, but it applies to AMSOIL Engine and Transmission Flush. It delivers results after just one application. And it only takes 10-15 minutes to use. Plus, you can safely use it in gas or diesel engines and automatic transmissions. While some solvent-based flush products require a cumbersome disposal process, AMSOIL Engine and Transmission Flush use a detergent-based formulation. As such, you can dispose of it easily with waste oil.

Helps prepare your engine for new oil

An engine flush helps loosen sticky valves or rings and remove harmful sludge and other contaminants. By cleaning the engine prior to installing fresh oil, you ensure the new oil functions as intended and delivers maximum protection. The oil won’t last as long or protect as well if it must contend with sludge and deposits from the previous oil. By the way, we don’t require the use of AMSOIL Engine and Transmission Flush before switching to AMSOIL synthetic motor oil, but we recommend flushing your engine if you want to give it a fresh start.

What to know before deciding on which engine flush is right for your vehicle

It’s very important that you confirm that the engine flush you intend on using is compatible with your vehicle. Using an engine flush on a vehicle that it wasn’t intended for can cause a serious problem almost instantly which can lead to some very costly repairs. If you want to avoid situations like this, you should always confirm the compatibility of the engine flush with your vehicle make and model to ensure optimal results.

Engine compatibility is becoming less and less of an issue, but the fact still remains that there are numerous engine flushes out there whose main ingredients do not work as well for certain types of engines. This is ignoring that fact that you need a specialized type of engine flush for a wet clutch like the kind you find with numerous motorcycles and other small engine vehicles. But even for the standard combustion engines, there are still plenty of engine flushes that are not meant to be used for one or another.

Another good example of this is tuned engines which often contain parts and components made of non-standard materials. While this may help improve their performance, it can also leave those parts susceptible to scouring and damage caused by some of the harsher ingredients used in engine flushes. Mineral oils, acids, alcohols, and a litany of other ingredients will react with different metals differently.

It is also worth considering the compatibility of the engine flush with the oil since most of the time you will need to mix them together as part of the application. These days, few engine flushes are incompatible with any kind of common motor oil, though you will still want to make sure beforehand. Performance motor oil, like those used for race cars, is one of the few types that may not always be compatible, generally depending on the ingredient base.

Out of all the various additives, you can add to your vehicle to improve its performance, an engine flush is actually one of the most controversial. It is important to bring attention to the fact that you should never need to use an engine flush, and no user’s manual for a consumer-grade vehicle suggests that you ever do so. We are going to assume that by looking for some guidance, you probably do not have to worry about this for a vehicle you have owned its entire life. Of course, if you purchase a used vehicle, there is no telling what the previous owner put the vehicle through and what maintenance may have been overlooked.

However, if you are purchasing an older used vehicle, especially if it has over 100k miles, there is a reasonable chance that the previous owner may not be as fastidious as you are. Similarly, if you are trying to reclaim and restore an older vehicle that may have been exposed to the elements for significant amounts of time. Regardless of the starting circumstances, the fact remains that the engine is liable to be filled with gunk.

While a degreaser is liable to help loosen and clean the engine, there is a good possibility that the gunk might have more than grease mixed in. This is where an engine flush comes into play as it is generally a combination of additives that have detergent and dispersant effects on top of degreasing agents. Some of the best engine flushes will even provide additional conditioners and preserving agents to ensure that the engine stays in good condition once clean.

Understanding How Additives Affect Your Engine

flush for engine

When it comes right down to it, an engine flush is really usually a number of particular additives mixed into a single solution. That said, different engine flushes include different additive combinations which are often designed to provide a particular end result. This means that you might need a specific focus or combination of additives for an engine flush to perform the best with your vehicle.

Considering the subject of our article, you will definitely want to look for various cleaning agents. These are detergents and dispersants and both are necessary to provide a complete deep clean. However, there are plenty of additives that contain both detergents and dispersants. That is why most engine flushes actually use fairly strong chemicals compared to other additives.

In fact, the strength and potency of engine flushes are usually such that you cannot leave it in your engine for too long without risking the engine flush doing damage. However, it is also how the engine flush accomplishes its job and why you should only use it for dire situations. Moreover, you will need to ensure that you follow the directions exactly to prevent the engine flush from accidentally damaging the parts.

  • Detergents – This is one of the necessary additives to all engine flushes as it is responsible for dissolving the sludge and deposits that have accumulated. In this case, the most common detergents are alcohols or acids, though there is actually an instance of an engine flush including an actual soap ingredient. Regardless, this is what does all the cleaning.

  • Dispersants – The second necessary ingredient for all engine flushes are dispersants which break up solidified carbon deposits. The detergents can only clean what they can reach and most of the gunk in a carbon deposit is on the inside. This is where the dispersants will dislodge the deposit from the power system so it can be safely dissolved into the detergents.

  • Antiwear – Out of all the non-essential additives included in engine flushes, this is one of the more common. This additive will basically use some type of carbon or even metal to bond to the metal and help prevent wear and tear. It is also worth noting that most of the antiwear agents work better with the harsh detergents found in engine flushes. Another thing to consider is that the antiwear agents included in an engine flush are nice, but they are nowhere near as effective as the antiwear agents used in specialized antiwear products.

  • Lubricant – It might be a toss-up between antiwear agents and lubricants in terms of which non-essential additive is most commonly found in engine flushes. For a lubricant, the purpose is often to reinforce the clean oil that will be used after you finish the engine flush. As such, these lubricants are often designed to work with motor oil alone. It is also worth noting that the lubricants included in engine flushes are not a substitute and will not make a particular type of oil perform better than it otherwise would. Generally, these additives simply increase the mileage of a single oil change.

  • Rust-Inhibitors – This is by far the least common additive included in an engine flush which seems a bit odd. You would expect a rust-inhibitor to be the exact thing to apply to your engine’s raw metal after a good scrubbing. Unfortunately, the acids and alcohols used in most engine flushes do not work well with most of the rust-inhibiting agents. That said, some of the milder engine flushes may also include rust-inhibiting agents

Top Engine Flush Recommendations

Now that you have all the information you need to know about engine flushes and how to choose the right one for your vehicle, it’s time to list some of the best engine flush products on the market that you can use in order to maintain, boost, or improve the performance of your vehicle.

Niteo Motor Medic MFD1

 

This engine flush is specially manufactured for all gasoline and diesel engines. It is also perfect for turbo-charged engines. It is safe to use the product for the engine because it doesn’t harm any seals or any other internal parts of the engine. It is also safe for engines that use conventional or synthetic oils.

It is a high-performance engine detergent and dissolves the unwanted matter within 5 minutes which is very less as compared to other products. Most products at least take 10 minutes but this product gets the task done way earlier than the others.

As the contaminants start getting deposited in the internal parts of the engine, the performance of the engine starts declining. When you start observing high consumption of fuel and the unsmooth engine then you certainly need this product to restore the performance of your engine.

Unlike other products, it doesn’t cause wear and tear to the engine but it ensures that the life of the engine increases. It also has the capacity to increase the time between oil changes. If you are someone who wants to save some time and money then you need this product that maintains the condition of the engine and saves your energy as well.

XADO Engine Oil

This engine flush is amazing because it can be used for all kinds of engines including turbo-supercharged engines. It is a powerful product that has the aptitude to clean all the unwanted deposited material present inside the engine.

The deposited materials can cause mobility reduction which can lead to shutting down of your car in the middle of the road. In order to prevent such situations, it is necessary to flush out all the gunk with this product. It is safe to use the product so it eliminates the contaminants without causing any harm to the engine.

It eradicates carbon from the engine as well and it is also preparing the engine for fresh oil. It also maintains the technical purity of the engine. However, it requires 10-15 minutes idle in the engine to dissolve the residue or sludge accumulated in the engine.

The time taken by this engine flush is more as compared to other products but it can be ignored because of its high efficiency and amazing performance. It prevents wears and tears in the engine and the best thing about this product is that it prevents possible defects that can be caused by future engine operation.

Lubeguard 40902 Bio/Tech Engine Flush

This engine flush comes with a variety of benefits for the engine. It can be used in all gasoline and diesel engines so you don’t have to find any specific product for the engine. It will get the chore done easily and safely. It doesn’t cause wear and tear to the engine but instead, it increases the engine life by eradicating the contaminants.

In cold weather, it is observed that the engine may be very noisy but with the use of this product, you will see that the engine will be smooth and less noisy even in the cold. It makes sure that your vehicle runs smoothly and also extends the life of the engine.

The life of the engine decreases if its condition is not kept in check. It has anti-wear and anti-friction properties that make it unique and improved than most of the other products. It not only maintains the cleanliness of the engine but also ensures its long life. It is a great product for older engines as well as for the new and advanced engines.

Another exceptional factor about this product is that it reduces hot engine oil temperatures. Hot engine oil temperatures can cause unsmooth and noisy engine which consumes a lot of fuel as well. This product is extremely recommended because of its unique features and its ability to increase the life of the engine while cleansing it.

Lubeguard 98901 Engine Flush

If you ever notice high fuel consumption and a noisier engine then there is certainly gunk accumulated in the internal parts of the engine. This product is a perfect solution to the problem of accumulation of unwanted particles. It is capable of getting rid of all the deposited particles while providing you with a smooth ride with less fuel consumption.

After the use of this engine flush, you will feel the difference instantly. The fresh oil provides less emission and less heat while optimizing the power of the engine. However, it is not the strongest product available when compared with other engine flushes available in the market. Not only does this engine flush cleanses the engine but it also extends the life of the engine.

Once the internal parts of the engine are accumulated with sludge, gunk or unwanted matter, regular oil changes are not able to get rid of it. However, an engine flush can get the task done without causing damage to other parts of the engine. It is simple to use this product and it maintains the good condition of the engine. If the residue or deposited materials are not flushed out while changing oils then it will get dirty within a small period of time and you will notice a decline in the horsepower of the engine. Flush out the gunk, pour in fresh oil and you are ready to enjoy smooth rides and fuel efficiency.

Prestone Yellow Radiator Engine Flush

 

This radiator flush comes in a bright yellow color which you can easily find in a diversity of products. It is particularly designed to clean the cooling systems so that overheating can be prevented. With the deposits and gunk, overheating can become a major problem of your vehicle.

You don’t need to worry because this radiator flush will flush out the unwanted matter for you. Since this radiator flush is non-toxic and non-acidic, it will not damage the internal parts of the radiator. It will only remove unwanted substances while preventing overheating. It dissolves the metal oxides and gets rid of them while ensuring that the cooling system is working with maximum performance.

It is a strong product and has the ability to dissolve all sorts of deposits that may be accumulated in the engine. If you ever notice that your cooling system is having overheating issues then this product will end up being your savior. It will ensure that your cooling system restores its high performance and functioning.

FAQ’s Before Buying An Engine Flush Product

Do you use diesel?

For those who are looking to flush a diesel engine, it’s important to know that you’ll have to buy a specific engine flush— not every cleaner is meant for both gasoline and diesel engines. Keep an eye out for diesel compatible flushes when you go shopping.

Do you need a solvent?

If you’re worried about your car’s seals, you may want to pay special attention to the type of engine flush your using. Companies like Liqui Moly advertise that their engine flush does not attack seals. Others advertise to use little to no solvents in their engine flushes.

What type of motor oil are you using?

You’ll want to make sure that the engine flush oil you buy is compatible with your preferred type of oil. If you’re unsure, stick to flushes that are compatible with all commercially motor oils commercially available.

What is your price point?

For those looking to keep the price low, you’ll want to keep an eye not only on the price tag but also the number of typical uses. While some offer multiple uses with one container, most are a single application.

Do you want a full system?

For those who are looking to do a deep clean, it may be worth looking into a full system. Many of the top-rated engine flushes recommend special oil or additives you can use to give your vehicle the extra boost it needs. If you’re looking to give your vehicle the full treatment, keep an eye out for bundles, such as the one offered by LUBEGARD. Remember that an engine flush isn’t something you’ll want to rush into. Deciding on the best product for you is important, and once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to make the right decision.

Conclusion

Use all of the information included in this article to help you make the right decision about which engine flush is best for you. As long as you follow all of the tips mentioned previously, you’ll be able to avoid running into potential issues when trying to apply the engine flush and other instances that can occur.

Make sure that you read each section thoroughly and even re-read them if necessary so that you can ensure that you have accurate information regarding how you can decide on which engine flush product is best. Take the time to preserve your car engine by using one of the recommended engine flush products listed earlier. Use this guide as a companion when trying to find the right engine flush product for your vehicle and you won’t be able to go wrong.

Ben Holt

I grew up on a farm, and when a vehicle had a problem, we fixed it ourselves! Experiencing this as a young man, I was able to work on and fix my vehicles as an adult. I bought a BMW when I was 20, and after working on that car, every other car is a pretty easy fix! I've been called an adrenaline junkie, and when it comes to adrenaline, nothing gets the job done quite like a fast car! Let's ride!
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