We’ve taken one of our own cars – a 2007 Mercedes A180 with 95,000 miles – for an EDT engine decontamination treatment. Does it deliver on its promises?
2017 UPDATE: It’s two years since we had our own car treated by EDT, so we thought we ought to update this article and make it more current. You can read that update at the end of this review.
Long gone are the days when cars needed a regular de-coke to keep them running, and with modern engines and modern oils we’ve all got used to just having regular servicing, with no special additional work needed to keep our cars running well.
But a new company – EDT Automotive, established in the UK in 2013 – have a machine that will clean the inside of your engine (they liken it to de-scaling a dishwasher) with claims the treatment will reduce emissions, improve performance and give you better mpg. Which all sounds a bit too good to be true.
We’ve been impressed by the claims for the EDT treatment, but all common sense tells us it’s likely to be all about clever marketing, and the positive reviews from customers who’ve had the treatment more about them experiencing what they expected after swallowing the pre-sales banter.
So although we always try to have an open mind when we review anything, we did come at this with a fair degree of scepticism.
To make EDT’s job a bit more difficult, we decided to take along a car we use for lots of little local journeys – a 95,000 mile Mercedes A180 diesel – which is still in decent nick but smokes a bit, is a bit ragged round the edges and doesn’t have the get up and go it once had (which sounds a bit like most of the Cars UK staff).
EDT sent along Shaun, one of their team, to supervise the work – kindly undertaken by the very able Antony Servis at Dukes Park Automotive in Chelmsford – and we turned up with our little A-Class, deep down expecting to be disappointed and to find no real tangible changes in the car after the treatment.
The treatment is very straightforward, with the oil drained as normal before connecting up the EDT machine to the oil filter housing.
The machine then pulse-pumps soya oil (so there’s nothing chemical that could cause damage) through the engine, heated to 42 degrees at 40PSI (pressure and temperatures that are well below those your engine is used to dealing with) in three cycles.
The first cycle circulates the soya oil through the engine, the second cycle is a soak and the third a recovery. It all takes less than 15 minutes to complete and it’s astonishing how much additional gunk is cleared out.
Antony let the oil drain from the sump for longer than the EDT treatment took, despite which the EDT filter ended up thick with sludge (as you can see in the picture), sludge recovered from the engine that would never have come out with just an oil change.
It’s all very slick and professional, and there’s no doubt the process does clear debris, varnish and plenty of muck from the engine. But there are millions of cars on the road that survive perfectly well with just an oil change, so what difference can giving the engine’s internals an extra thorough clean really make?
We tried hard to find no difference after the EDT treatment, but we failed. The differences weren’t just slight, they were significant.
The little A-Class appears to have packed up smoking, it’s noticeably quieter and it’s much, much nicer to drive.
Most noticeable is the pick-up at low revs; where the car struggled to pull, especially ‘off turbo’, it now pulls much more strongly from low speeds at low revs, but even at higher speeds in sixth – where we did have to drop a gear when baulked – it now recovers its speed easily.
We were confused (it happens easily) by an apparently improved gear change. How could cleaning the inside of the engine have any impact on that? Were we imagining it?
It appears that an improved gear change is something EDT – and Antony – have experienced before, and they both put it down to an improvement in torque delivery after the clean. It’s a benefit we didn’t expect, but one we’ll take.
The A-Class also seems to be getting about 5mpg more than before. It’s not huge, but added to how much better it is to drive, it’s a great plus. We also have no doubts that the car’s ‘cleaner’ too, with EDT’s figures of a reduction in CO2 of 59 per cent and 81 per cent in hydrocarbons fully believable.
For those of you old enough to remember when a full service on a car made it feel like it had a new lease of life – when plugs, points, tappets, carb tweaks et al were done – the EDT treatment is the closest you get to that feeling with a modern car.
But perhaps a very non-technical response to how the car feels now, compared to before, sums it up.
The A-Class is used every day by our chief organiser, a lady who keeps us all in check and does the boring stuff. She loaded her dogs in to the car for a short trip to the local woods soon after we got back. Her verdict was simple: “The car feels like it’s smiling”, she declared.
Of course, the big question is: “Would we spend our own money to have an EDT treatment done?” Damn right we would. It costs around the same as the oil and filter again, which makes it as cheap as chips for the impact it has.
And, for once, we’re happy to have been proved wrong. The EDT treatment really does deliver.
EDT Engine Clean Video – Produced by ITN
EDT Automotive – 2017 Update
It’s two years since we sent our little A-Class off to get EDT’s engine clean, and so impressed were we with what it delivered that we’ve kept a weather eye on EDT ever since.
Having established, in the space of two years, a convincing business which delivered on its promise, it would have been easy for EDT to take the route of least resistance, let excellent reviews (like ours, still getting thousands of views two years on) convince potential customers, and rake in the profits.
But actually, EDT are doing the right thing by working hard to improve on the already highly effective engine clean system, adding new products and rolling out to even more service garages – independent and main dealer.
New EDT Engine Clean Machine
Since we used EDT’s services, they’ve launched a new machine (pictured right) which manages to improve on the already impressive abilities of their first generation cleaner, and introduced a machine which will do the same for automatic gearboxes as the original EDT machine did for engines.
The new machine cleans even more effectively, filtering to 3 microns instead of 5 (a 40 per cent improvement), with that ability retro-fitted to the existing EDT machines and, although it only really matters to the chaps doing the treatment, it’s quieter, fully electric and better looking.
Automatic Transmission Cleaning
Using the same technology as the engine cleaner, the new automatic transmission cleaner does the job of removing the old oil, cleaning the gearbox and refilling with new oil.
Impressively, the EDT machine removes at least 78 per cent of the old oil (manual fluid changing manages 60 per cent at best), which probably makes it worth the cost for that alone.
It’s good to see that everything we discovered when we did this review two years ago still applies, and to see a business that actually seems to care about its customers and partners.
That’s demonstrated with the diverse awards EDT has won, with The Green Organisation Award for reducing emissions, Top Product Award from Professional Motor Mechanic Magazine, and a 9.8 rating on Trust Pilot. So the green lobby happy, the garages using it happy and customers happy too. Blimey, that doesn’t often happen.
We’ll keep watching EDT, but we’re happy to say they are an even better bet now than they were in 2015.
And they’ve now done over 36,000 engine cleans in the UK, so we reckon they’ve probably got the hang of it.
Garages on Cars UK offering the EDT Treatment
Jackson & Phillips
Hypermotive – Bournemouth
Morris Road Garage – Lewes
Egerton Garage – Whalley Range
Premier Car Care – Romsey
Bushey Hall Garage – Bushey
DMS Auto Services
Cavendish Motor Company Limited
AWJ Automotive – Stoke-on-Trent
EDT treatments are offered Nationwide. Check out EDT for more information.
Disclaimer: EDT Automotive is a Cars UK advertiser, but this is NOT a paid for article.