Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Sludge is a thickening and breakdown of the oil as it deteriorates, as moisture and contaminants build up. This causes the oil to gel, resulting in excess wear as friction increases or, in extreme cases, a stop-right-now failure. Thousands of owners of vehicles of popular brands like Chrysler, Dodge, Toyota, Lexus, Volkswagen, Audi and Saab have had sludge problems. Chrysler has a serious sludge problem with the 2.7-liter V-6 engine used on some of its Concordes and Sebrings and also on some Dodge Intrepids and Stratus in the 1998-2002 model years, said Clarence M. Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety. Mr. Ditlow said the center’s Web site (autosafety.org) had about 2,800 complaints of failures from sludge. A lack of adequate oil changes is the explanation for damage given by Audi, Lexus, Saab, Toyota and VW. Yet unlike Chrysler and Dodge, those automakers have formal compensation programs for sludge damage, although in some cases consumers must provide detailed service records — and in the case of Saab, must have used oil filters sold only by the company.