What the Colour of Your Oil Really Means

If you are someone who enjoys saving some cash by doing some DIY maintenance on your vehicles, this one is for you. When it comes to oil changes, knowing when to top it up is only the tip of the iceberg. Knowing which colours and textures are normal or are of concern will help immensely. Here are a few of the most common ones and what they mean.


  1. Your oil is thin and amber-coloured. This oil is perfectly clean and has likely been changed recently.
  2. Your oil is thick and dark. If you are not using a synthetic oil blend, this could mean your oil has a high concentration of dirt and is a reminder to change the oil as soon as possible. If you are using a synthetic oil blend, the oil is going to be darker even when brand new. Additionally, if you are checking after a long drive, this change in colour could be normal as oil darkens when the engine heats up.
  3. Your oil is frothy or milky. Milky oil could be an indication of a leak or failure in head gasket, the gasket at the water pump, or the intake manifold. Your oil could also have a milky appearance if it has been mixed with water. If your oil is frothy in appearance, something is definitely wrong and a trip to the mechanic is recommended.


Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android).

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