When the oil light comes on while driving an Audi TT or any other vehicle, it is reason to pull over and call a tow truck. Lack of lubrication of the movable parts may result in total engine failure. There are various reasons that the oil light may come on. One of them is that an accumulation of sludge has caused the oil pumping system to malfunction.
Definition of Sludge
A tar-like substance called sludge is created when engine oil is heated to extreme temperatures and its chemical make-up is altered. The oil breaks down, oxidises, and the additive components of it break away and solidify. Oils that are made from minerals are more prone to create sludge than synthetic oils that have a higher tolerance to heat. One of the reasons that man-made oils were developed was to combat sludge and give an engine longer life.
How Sludge Affects an Engine
Sludge build-up affects an engine by clogging components. This process is also referred to as "coking." Any number of the moving parts may cease to function when coking occurs. When there is sufficient sludge in an engine to cause damage, the oil pressure may drop, the oil light may come on, the engine may not run smoothly, or it may cease to run completely. Moving engine parts may have to be replaced and the sludge may have to be cleaned out.
The Audi Recall
Audi recalled its 1.8T engines because of sludge problems. One reason coking may occur is that the turbo-powered engine may be too powerful for the small amount of oil that it holds. Over time, the oil is so overworked that it breaks down.
How to Eliminate Sludge
The use of a larger oil filter may reduce the build-up of sludge in the vehicle's oil. Some mechanics recommend washing the sludge build-up from the engine, while others say that that may cause more harm to components than good. Owner attentiveness is the overall key to keeping your Audi TT sludge-free. The oil should be checked and changed more often than the manufacturer recommends (about every 3,000 miles for an oil change). Synthetic oil is also recommended by Repairpal.com and an owner might consider replacing the oil filter with a larger one. The best authority from whom to ask advice is a Certified Audi Technician.
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