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Causes of Turbocharged Oil Sludge in an Audi

by Dutch Silverstein May 7, 2022

A turbocharged engine is supposed to be more powerful and more responsive than ever, but for many Audi owners, the turbocharger may be high-maintenance and prone to sludge buildup. Let’s discuss some of the possible reasons why you might be experiencing oil sludge problems in your Audi’s turbocharger and some steps you can take to keep everything squeaky clean and running smoothly.

The Function of a Turbocharger

A turbocharger is a turbine that is attached to the engine, the exhaust, and the air intake of your vehicle. As you are driving down the road, the turbocharger takes the gasses produced by the exhaust and uses them to spin the turbine at an incredible rate of speed. This forces more air into the engine, which helps to increase the car’s power.

However, because that turbocharger is moving so quickly, it needs a lot of oil to keep it from becoming damaged. This oil is separate and different from engine oil, so be sure to use turbocharger oil, or you risk further problems.

Reasons Behind Oil Sludge in Your Audi

Oil sludge forms from heat and moisture with road debris and fine dirt. These mix to create a thick, dark build up that is impossible to circulate through moving parts without damaging them and becoming gummy. When this occurs, the moving parts the oil is supposed to protect becomes overheated. This can quickly damage your engine and turbocharger.

Some common reasons or contributing factors of oil sludge build up include:

  • Taking your car on short trips: If you only live a short distance from school or work, it might be better for your car’s engine if you walk or bike there instead of driving. Short trips can mean the engine doesn’t see enough use to circulate oil through its moving parts.
  • The oil is contaminated: When checking fluid levels and changing out fluids in your car, it’s very important that you keep different kinds of engine fluids separate from each other. Accidentally mixing them can cause problems like oil sludge. Additionally, simple dirt and debris can build up in oil and contaminate it as well.
  • Poor circulation of oil: You know how water in a pool or fish tank gets murky and dirty if you let it sit still for too long? Oil is like that, too. If for some reason the oil isn’t being properly circulated throughout the vehicle on a regular basis, such as on short trips or vintage cars sitting in a garage, it will become thick and start to turn into sludge.
  • Variations in engine temperature: If an engine is running too hot or too cold, it can affect the quality of the oil in the vehicle, causing it to turn into sludge.
  • Failure in the oil containment systems: If the head gasket or the oil seal is cracked or damaged in some way, oil can get out of the normal channels and work its way into places it shouldn’t be which can expose it to heat and moisture.

Audi Turbocharged Oil Change

Ways to Prevent and Fix Oil Sludge

The best way to prevent oil sludge buildup from occurring is to stay on track with your oil change and maintenance schedule recommended by Audi. If you’re not sure how often you should get your oil changed, check your owner’s manual. Often, there will be a section detailing when you should change your vehicle’s oil as well as what kind of oil it needs. Other than making sure your car’s oil is changed regularly, you should also do your best to change out the oil filter often. This helps filter out the road debris that can contaminate oil and thicken it.

If you need help figuring out your Audi’s oil sludge issues, or any other problems, the experienced technicians at A&M Auto Service will be happy to help you in any way we can. We are conveniently located for customers in and around Pineville, Charlotte, and Greensboro, North Carolina. If you’d like to learn more about us, our services, or how we can return your car in top condition, contact us or stop by our shop today. We look forward to servicing your Audi for all your repair and maintenance needs.

* Audi Car image credit goes to: tomeng.