The "How To" prevent the Sludging problem.
You may be thinking of purchasing a Toyota or you may have heard the stories of engine problems with the Camry, Avalon, Sienna or Lexus engines. In any case I would like to share some ways you can prevent that from happening to you.
First: Use the dealer for your oil change maintenance.
Second: Use the dealer for your oil change maintenance.
Third: Use the dealer for your oil change maintenance.
Fourth: Go ahead and guess this one.
Having spent almost 30 years involved with service departments at auto dealerships I have seen many of the problems possible with vehicles. Many were a combination of design oversights or lack of maintenance by the owner. The engine sludge problem that has developed is still a mystery regarding the true cause. Toyota is maintaining that the owner is the fault since they choose not to use the dealer for oil changes. Having left the family and gone out on their own mistakes will be made and it's not their fault something bad happens. That's contrary to the warranty information they print and give you when you purchase the shinny new Toyota,but when you do what they recommend somewhere else, they basically say you asked for this and now it's yours to deal with.
On the other hand I will say that until recently the dealers were not seeing this problem with vehicles they maintained. Meaning, if the owner used the Toyota or Lexus dealer for oil changes and had the regular maintenance performed there, the engines did not suffer the sludge problem. I go into some detail as to the possible reasons why these vehicles are not as prone to sludge in other parts of this section, so I won't belabor the point now.
The point I want to make is that if you use the dealer for just oil changes, following the recommended time/mileage periods that Toyota suggests in the owners manual, how can they say no if your engine has the problem. You stayed faithful to them and if it still happens they won't even bring the subject up, they will stammer for a cause, but offer to take care of it on the spot.
You may be asking, "Can I start using them now?" . The answer is of course yes by all means.
I encourage you to use the dealer for all you maintenance, they have the trained people and know the vehicle. Not all 6 or 4 cylinder engines will sludge, but some will so why play the odds using a non-dealer to provide this needed service. The only caution I offer is the "regular maintenance" sales pitch they may recommend. Be careful here since they may suggest things not needed at that mileage and were manufactured to produce income not provide a true service value for your vehicle. You can prevent this from happening by reading the owner's manual maintenance section and follow the least demanding maintenance schedule. Almost no one drives under "severe conditions " no matter what the dealer will try to tell you, that is a hook they use to over repair the vehicle and thus generate additional department profits. The good dealers will offer you a choice, explaining the different levels needed, you may choose the basic or the more advanced (this is not bad by the way, just not needed for every visit) but regular dealer visits is the key to engine and vehicle longevity.
One final thought, use the dealer, use the dealer, use the dealer for your maintenance.