I'm a little curious as to what the sludge looks like. Is it dark brown
and gummy, or does it have a whitish appearance to it?
The answers to Matt's questions are important as well.
In general, however, the answer is more frequent oil changes. I'm a
believer in 3000 mile oil changes, but there's significant debate on this
as well, even among experts.
A lot depends on the type of sludge. If it is the black sludge from
overheating, then better oil or more frequent changes would likely help.
If it is the white/brown sludge formed by an emulsion of oil and
water, then you can change your oil every week and not prevent that in
cold weather as it forms very quickly. The only cure for that is to
drive a longer trip occasionally to fully heat the oil and evaporate the
I'm neither for or against a particular distance as each car has a different
set of circumstances.
You can start with the premise that more frequent changes do no harm (except
for the cost)
Most of my daily driving as a 26 mile trip, much of it highway or country
roads. Plenty of warm-up time, a nice 2000 rpm cruise no strain on
mountains, just a gentle hill or two. I change at 7500 miles. Even at
118,000 miles, I never have to add between changes.
It I did city driving, two mile trips where the engine never heats up, yes,
I'd go with 3000 miles, maybe even less.
Synthetics should go a lot longer, but again, it depends on your situation.
I've not used synthetics in my cars yet but I've not had any oil related
failures, even with up to 185,000 miles. Some years ago I was playing with
some small high RPM 2 cycle engines. Synthetics made a big difference in
getting higher rpm. If I was driving a high performance car and drove it
accordingly, I'd sure use the synthetic. .
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