I have a 2005 Grand Caravan with a 3.3L V6, and it seems to have an oil
sludge problem. Over the past couple of months, I have noticed that the
engine was making noises starting up - sort of a whine for only a
second of so, and only in cold weather. I was going to take it into the
dealer to look at it (the van is still covered under the 7/70 plan, and
it has 49,000 miles now), but it became warmer so the sound started to
go away. I told them I would wait until a cold snap would occur, then I
would take it in.
So the other day I take it in for an oil change at the local place, and
they tell me that the engine has a sludge problem. Sure enough, under
the cap it is pretty black - much more black that I had ever seen it.
They tried to sell me an engine flush, but I had read all sorts of
nasty things that can happen, so I declined. Anyway, with new oil the
van started better, so I figured I would try do desludge the engine
myself. Some research on the web seems to say that changing oil every
500-1000 miles for a few times would let the detergents in the oil do
their thing gently, rather than have a solvent do it. So this is what I
plan to do...
Until today, that is. The little oil light went on, just days after an
oil change. I shut down the van, checked the oil - all is fine. But I
do not want to drive this thing much at all now, unless it is to the
I have a horrible feeling the engine is dying, and another feeling that
the dealer will not want to do much other than a flush. I have heard
that more and more new cars are having sludge problems, even with
proper maintenance, and the only cure is an engine swap.
What say the experts?
I do change the oil myself sometimes, and other times I just take it to
a quick change place (Valvoline, etc.). I also buy decent oil - not the
best, but certainly not the worst. My last Caravan, a 1996, ran for
238,000 miles on the original engine*, so I must be doing something
right. I am also quite easy on engines.
*When the van died due to my friend smashing it up, the engine still