Does your engine oil get dirty so fast, which makes you need to change it frequently? There can be a number of different reasons behind such an incident. In this piece of writing, we have tried to discuss the why and how does engine oil get dirty. We have also tried to come up with some solutions that can help you to keep your engine oil clean for a longer period of time.

Dirty engine oil symptoms

Dirty engine oil symptoms

It is actually quite normal for engine oil to become dirty. However, you need to trace the existence of dirty engine oil as early as possible, because dirty and sludgy oil can harm your engine and reduce its performance and efficiency.

Trained and professional technicians can easily and effortlessly tell whether your engine oil is dirty or not. You can also inspect the color of your engine oil yourself and identify how problematic it is. 

If you notice that your engine oil is turning into a darker brown color, it means the time for an oil change has come and you should get a new oil filter too. If the oil comes in a foamy or milky consistency instead, it could be a sign of a coolant leak. If you find the oil to be extremely red, it means that there is an automatic transmission fluid leak. No matter which of the above scenarios you face, you should book an appointment with a mechanic as early as possible.

Clean Vs Dirty Engine oil

While clean engine oil facilitates the health and performance of your engine, contaminated oil damages it from the inside. Clean oil reduces friction and makes your engine more efficient. Clean oil also helps you to get the best possible mileage.

On the other hand, dirty engine oil damages engine parts and decrease fuel efficiency. It can even trigger engine breakdown. Dirty engine oil can also lead to engine wear and tear.

To keep your engine healthy, you need to change your engine oil every 3 months, or every 3000 miles. However, if you get a notice that the oil color has changed, then you should change it even sooner.

How to Check Engine Oil Quality

You can check the quality of your engine oil all by yourself, following a step-by-step method. Here we have briefed the whole process so that you can check on your engine oil before it’s too late:

Step 1: Ensure the engine has been turned off, and the car has been parked on level ground.

Step 2: Open the hood of your car.

Step 3: Search for the oil dipstick. Its color is yellow in most cases, and it is supposed to be labeled as “OIL”.

Step 4: If your vehicle is a new one and you can’t find a dipstick, you can check the dashboard for an electronic oil monitor.

Step 5: Pull the dipstick out

Step 6: Wipe the dipstick to remove the existence of any residual oil, and put it back to its place afterward.

Step 7: Remove the dipstick, once again.

Step 8: Hold the dipstick horizontally and carefully look for minimum/maximum indicators. If the engine oil is in between the two of them, then the level is okay.

Step 9: Have a look at the color of the oil. If the color is dark brown or amber, then it is still in a good condition. If the color is black and sludgy instead, you should better go for an oil change as soon as possible. 

Step 10: If the oil seems clean but the level shows below the minimum indicator, then it means you need to add more oil.

How Does Engine Oil Get Dirty?

How Engine Oil Get Dirty

If your engine oil turns black and dirty real quick, there can be a number of possible reasons behind it. The most usual reasons have been mentioned below:

Your Engine Oil is Just Doing Its Job!

Yeah, you have heard it right! If the engine is doing its job correctly, then it’s normal to get black and dirty. Just think about the number of times your engine oil has moved through the engine of your car! It is quite usual for engine oil to change its color and viscosity after a certain time. You just have to accept the fact and change the oil when necessary.

The Oil Filter Has Become Old

The main responsibility of your car’s oil filter is to catch the contaminants that exist in the engine oil. However, it cannot work so efficiently when it becomes old. As a result, your engine oil gets dirty. So if you have an old oil filter, you need to change it soon.

You Have Waited Too Long For the Oil Change

If you wait too long to change your oil, it is obvious for it to get dirty. This is why you should consider a regular oil change


What Colour should diesel engine oil be?

Diesel engine oil has a tendency to turn black quite quickly. The dark black color actually indicates that the oil is performing correctly, keeping the by-products coming from the combustion process in suspension. Even if the color turns black soon after the servicing, you can consider it normal.

How often should you change diesel oil?

Most car makers recommend changing oil for automobiles and light trucks burning gasoline every 7500 miles or once a year. However, diesel engines and turbocharged gasoline engines are recommended to make their oil change even faster. They should change their oil after every 3000 miles or after every 6 months, whichever comes first.

How do you know if the oil has been changed?

To be sure whether your oil has been changed or not, you need to pull the dipstick and check the oil with your finger-ends and eyes. If the oil color is pitch black, then it is the same old oil that you had been using. On the other hand, clean oil looks a lot like yellow honey, and it does not look or feel gritty.

However, new engine oil can also look black if the car engine has never been serviced properly, and a lot of sludge and gunk exists inside the engine. This is why it is important to service your engine regularly.

Conclusion and Recommendation

This article has discussed the signs and reasons for dirty engine oil, also it has discussed how you can check whether the oil is clean or dirty. Now the question is, what measure can you take as a solution to your dirty engine oil?

The solution actually depends on the causes of your engine oil getting dirty. If the oil is just old and you need to change it soon, you should change it with the help of a professional service provider. Also, you need to check on the oil filter and change it if it gets too old. 

Most importantly, you need to know the right time to work on your car’s service and maintenance. For better guidance, you can ask your service provider for appropriate suggestions.

Now that you know about the causes and solutions of dirty engine oil in detail, we believe your car won’t be harmed by contaminated engine oil anymore. As we proceed to the end of our article, we wish good health for your car as well as for you!