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Common engine oil myths: dark oil

The major reason that engine oil is so important is that it makes a car’s motor run as smoothly as possible, optimising performance.

However, it does other things too of course, such as extending the lifespan of the engine and cleaning it. For this reason, ensuring that you use the best lubricant possible is important. Using oil from top manufacturers such as Mobil, Shell, and Fuchs helps a great deal as well, of course.

Another big help is ensuring that you check your oil regularly and change it according to the car manufacturer and oil producer’s recommendations.

The myth

However, many people also believe that it needs changing when it becomes dark. The reason for this is perfectly understandable, of course. Surely dark oil means that it is dirty and full of debris. However, this is not necessarily the case.

When you first add a new batch of oil to the engine, it tends to a rich, amber colour. Transparent and glistening as it enters the well, surely it must be the best condition that you need it to be. However, while that all sounds rather sensible, it actually is not.

Indeed, it could be argued that the opposite is true.

The truth

Today, most engine lubricants from the top manufacturers have a detergent additive, which helps keep the engine clean, free of debris and sludge. Therefore, a darkening of the oil is to be expected and means that the engine is doing its job, preventing the debris for entering the engine.

It does not mean that the oil is compromised, especially in the case of the best lubricants from respected makers such as Shell, Q8, and Mobil.

Should, however, your oil become very dark very quickly after changing, there might a problem. In these instances, it is likely to be the oil filter that needs changing, so seeking professional advice and a full check-up is only sensible.

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