Oil Colors! What Do They Mean?

Oil Colors! What Do They Mean?

Motor oil is the lifeblood of your engine. Without it, your car wouldn’t even be able to operate. As a car owner, it’s important to understand the necessity of regular oil changes as part of a good preventative maintenance plan. The oil in your vehicle can be a variety of colors, and each color holds a different meaning. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common colors motor oil can present so you can be aware of any warning signs.

Thin Oil with an Amber Color

When you pour motor oil right from the bottle, it should be a reddish-brown or golden amber color. The oil shouldn’t be too thin, but it should have a fairly thin consistency when it pours. This color is usually seen in most conventional oils, and if the oil has any detergents added to it, the color may darken over time. All motor oil gets thicker as you drive since it starts to accumulate gunk and grime from the engine. Once your oil turns a dark color or is extremely thick, it’s time for an oil change.

Very Thick, Dark Oil

Synthetic blends tend to be a bit darker and a little bit thinner than conventional motor oil. Synthetic motor oil includes additives that enhance the performance of your engine. Because of this, the oil tends to collect a lot more grime than conventional oil., which makes it look even darker right out of the bottle. As long as you’re getting regularly scheduled oil changes and you use synthetic oil, this dark color should not be a cause for concern. On the other hand, if the oil seems to be extremely thick and sludge-like, it’s likely time to get it changed. Too much muck will turn dark, thin oil into a very thick mess.

Milky Oil or Frothy Oil

Motor oil should never appear milky or frothy in color or texture. If it does, it may indicate a serious leak or failure in your head gasket, water pump, or the intake manifold. This color and texture are usually explained by coolant that has seeped through and mixed with your oil. This coolant gives the oil the lighter color and a strange, frothy texture. Allow your vehicle to cool off, and then check your radiator fluid levels. If they’re low, it may be a sign that it’s leaking and the coolant is now mixing with your oil. Water mixing with oil is another cause for a milky color. In general, any time your oil appears discolored, it’s a red flag that should be addressed as soon as possible.

For all your automotive maintenance and repair needs, contact Carfix located in Garner, NC and give us a call at 919-900-6505 today!