Changing engine oil is not the most difficult thing you will run up against when servicing your vehicle. You drain the oil, replace the oil filter, take the time to flashlight check the vehicle and perhaps top off a few fluids.
Your engine oil, however, can be giving you vital clues as to the very health of your engine. We examine a few of the most important clues of what the aged oil you just drained from the engine could be revealing about the state of your engine health.
Here are a few common signs of trouble to say the least:
Chocolate Milk Oil:
If the engine oil is draining out like your favorite tasting Hershey’s Chocolate Milk, that is a sign of trouble. Specifically with the engine coolant system, as engine oil mixing with coolant or water will end up pouring like chocolate milk. When an engine overheats or runs warmer longer than designed, that vital head gasket will start to unseat the coolant ports and ultimately start seeping this coolant over into the oil ports. This extreme heat can cause warpage to the cylinder head surface and wreak havoc with your engine.
If you're looking to purchase a used vehicle, immediately inspect the engine oil dipstick or backside of engine oil filler cap to leak for engine oil clues. If you discover a chocolate milk substance..be aware that this particular vehicle more than likely sustained higher than normal levels of engine temperature and major repairs are in its future…be cautious here!
Grayish Metallic Oil:
If the old engine oil has any metallic flakes & appears gray in color, there is a high likelihood that the metal moving parts like the rod or main bearing journals are starting to slowly come apart. This is a major indication that the motor is tired and will need major work. Again, if you are purchasing a used vehicle, this us a sure sign to start looking at other potential buys.
In terms of honey oil, this is pretty self-explanatory. A gooey, tacky-like substance from the engine oil is typically a sign, especially when looking to purchase a used vehicle, that there is a major underlying concern with an engine knock or noise. This honey oil is used to mask or hide temporarily engine noise. This thicker oil will help to take up excessive clearances in the rod or main bearing and help reduce any engine noise that is subsequent from internal engine damage. Stay clear away here if this stuff is discovered on the engine oil dipstick.
Strawberry Milk Oil:
Not related to engine oil, but surely a major problem. When the transmission cooler, which on some designs is mounted internally to the radiator, develops a leak, the engine coolant inside the radiator will mix with the transmission fluid and create a medley of what will look like strawberry milk. You can inspect the coolant to identify to ensure this is not an issue.
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