What Color Should Your Engine Oil Be? Learn The Facts!

When it comes to the overall health of your car, you need to check your engine oil on a regular basis, and when doing so make sure to follow your manufacturer’s recommended oil change intervals.

It’s safe to say that changing your engine oil helps to clean the engine, lubricate its moving parts, prevent rust and collision, and also plays a role in extending the life of your engine.

In this article, I’m going to explain the differences in motor oil and what color your engine oil should be.

What Does Oil Color Tell Me About My Car’s Health?

We always think it a good idea to regularly check your oil level and the color of your car since it gives you an idea of the health of your engine. This also indicates if there are contamination and oil leaks in your engine.

Let’s start by saying that engine oil can eventually change as it ages, contaminants, heat, etc. Although the color of your oil can indicate when there is an issue, you should never use it alone to put off an oil change.

How to Check Engine Oil Color

What Color Should Your Engine Oil Be

You can easily check the engine oil color as it is very easy to do. When you are ready to do so, all you have to do is park your car on a flat surface and allow the engine to cool for roughly 20 minutes. At this point, the only thing you’ll need to get is gloves just to prevent your hands from being dirty and a rag.

Once you’ve checked and the engine is cool, all you have to do is open the hood and locate the dipstick. If it’s a case where you are having trouble locating the dipstick or you’ve probably noticed two of them, then you may want to check the vehicle’s owner’s manual to see which is the right one.

After locating the right one, you should pull the dipstick out, wipe it clean with a rag or paper towel, then place it all the way back into its tube. Wait for a few seconds and pull it out once more and properly inspect the oil level, viscosity, and color. After you’ve identified the color, you can wipe it clean and place it back into the tube.

What Color Should Your Engine Oil Be?

It’s best to keep in mind that brand-new engine oil usually has a translucent amber color that is known to have the consistency of olive oil. After you’ve added new engine oil, it then starts to circulate through the engine block, help to lubricate its moving parts, redistribute heat, clean the engine and help to prevent corrosion and rust from forming.

However, over a period of time, the oil begins to become darker and thicker, which causes it to be less efficient. Let’s not forget that oil that isn’t capable of performing as should compromise the health of your engine and create wear as well as oil consumption.

What Does Brown or Gray Engine Oil Mean?

If it’s a case where you’ve noticed your engine oil is brown or gray, then you may want to inspect more to see what exactly is the issue. However, brown oil shouldn’t be a cause for concern. With that said, if you notice brown or gray engine oil with a milky or foamy substance, then it can be a sign of contamination due to a coolant leak or a sign that the engine is being idle excessively.

What Does Black Engine Oil Means?

If somehow your engine oil has changed from a dark shade to black, it could be s sign that your oil is old and need to be changed as soon as possible. There are cases, where black oil is an indication that there is a clog in the fuel return line, which could eventually lead to contaminants in the engine. This usually results in lazy engine performance, inefficient gas mileage, and even engine failure.

All You Need to Do is Check Frequently

At this point, the best thing we recommend doing is checking your engine oil regularly to see if anything is wrong. You don’t need a mechanic to tell you if something is wrong, you should be able to know on your own. All you have to do is look for obvious color changes and if you are unsure about what to do, you can always consult your mechanic for help.