Is Dark Engine Oil Bad?

With time and wear, the quality, consistency, and color of your motor oil will change. Truthfully, you should not only rely on color to dictate the efficiency of oil. Depending on the oil, the color will alter for various reasons, including heat, additives, and contaminants.

What Color is Oil Supposed To Be?

Engine oil color is not as significant as people make it out to be. Oil can naturally get dark and still be effective in doing its job. However, as a general rule new, clean oil should be amber or honey color.

What Causes Motor Oil To Turn Black?

Thick, dark, and sometimes black motor oil usually indicates that your oil has been exposed to dirt or outside contaminants that lead to a soot accumulation. Soot is a byproduct of inadequate combustion, and in moderate amounts, should not cause engine damage. The problem with soot is that sometimes it can agglomerate into something bigger. This is where the thick black texture may be more pronounced. If you want to be on the safe side, it's never a bad thing to get your oil changed. However, you can observe the dark oil and look for other signs to determine whether you need a fluid change. 

When Should I Be Concerned?

Dark oil may be somewhat alarming at first, but other potential problems are way worse, such as milky, foamy, or cream-colored engine oil. This can indicate a coolant leak and is a severe cause for concern. It is usually accompanied by white exhaust smoke. If you notice your oil looking light and foamy, you need to immediately take it to a professional!


Without adequate, good-quality oil, your vehicle will not be able to get you from point a to point b. When anything looks or feels unusual with your motor oil, it's better to be safe than sorry by just bringing it to German Car Depot. Please give our team a call or visit today for specialized oil changes and other auto services on European makes!

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