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What Is The Color Of Your Engine Oil Trying To Tell You?

Published by Lean Airo Loking on

car oil color

Paying attention to the color of your vehicle’s engine oil is an essential part of the upkeep of your vehicle’s condition. If you pay close enough attention, you can figure out the maintenance that needs to be taken care of based on the color of the oil. Making it important for you to understand what these different colors indicate based oil you are using. Normally, engine oil is an amber color that tends to range slightly depending on the exact type of oil you are working with and can get darker depending on a few factors. So, how will you know for sure when it’s time to change the oil and how can you tell if your oil is trying to tell you something more? Here are a few color indicators to go by.

Amber Colored Oil

If your engine’s oil is an amber color, it’s most likely new, clean, and fresh oil. This is the color that your oil should generally be when you first pour it in. When you pull your dipstick out and it comes out clear or light amber, then you know that the oil is still in good shape and fairly new. Conventional oils are typically this color right out of the bottle and will get thicker and darker as contaminants enter the oil from the engine.

Milky/Cream-Colored Oil

If you check your oil and it comes out creamy colored, this could indicate a leak in your head gasket. However, you can also pick up on this issue if you have white smoke coming from your exhaust and are losing coolant.

If the oil is frothy in addition the creamy colored, then you could have a problem with water contamination if your exhaust is not blowing the white smoke as it would with a head gasket problem.

Dark Colored Oil

This one can be a bit tricky as some oils have an additive that makes it a bit darker than usual. However, most of the time, this dark colored oil indicates that it’s been used and abused, so it’s time for a change.

Although, it could just be the type of oil that you are using. Synthetic blended oils tend to appear darker right from the bottle and will appear darker over a shorter amount of time. So, it's important to take note on the consistency as well as the smell if you are using synthetic oil.

If the oil is a dark brown, it’s usually nothing to worry about and a quick oil change will suffice. But if the oil is near black, you may want to investigate the situation a bit further to check for any underlying issues.

Thick and Dark Oil

This type of oil can also be a little tricky depending on when you are testing your oil. If you have just run your car to the bone and if the weather is humid and hot, the oil may change consistencies, so it's best to wait until it cools off. Also, if you take your vehicle off-roading frequently, you may have a few contaminants in the oil causing it to become sludgy.

Make Sure to Check it Frequently

The best way to ensure that you are running a vehicle with the best-colored oil is to check it frequently for discoloration. If you feel that something is up, pop the hood and check the color. If you still feel that there may be an issue, it's time to contact a mechanic to settle your worries. After you've checked your engine oil a few times, you will soon become a pro at the subject, and be able to differentiate the clean oil from the 'something's not right here' oil. Depending on the oil you use will determine how discolored the oil will get over time. It's crucial that you use the right type of oil for your vehicle so that it can perform at its absolute best. When it comes to the engine oil for your vehicle, cheaper isn't always better and you will want to make sure that you know what your vehicle needs to run properly depending on how rough you plan on using the vehicle. Remember to always keep an eye on any significant color changes and contact your mechanic if you feel that anything seems concerning.

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