What color is your motor oil?

jerry_njApril 16, 2006

It has been my experience (mostly with Castro oil, but I have used many other brands) that fresh oil is a light amber color and used oil is dirty/black.

Today I changed the oil on my 2005 Chevy Colorado (2.8L) for the first time, meaning it had factory oil in it, Delco I assume. The oil had just over 2,000 miles on it and it was dirty, but not dirty black, it was dirty green.

Anyone else seen green oil? Or, does this indicate some kind of a problem?

I note too that GM put the filer on a lot tighter than needed, lucky I had the filter "socket" that fit and could use my 1/2" drive to break the filter loose. I first tried a simple plier-type filter wrench, and it tore a hole in the filter without breaking the seal. Another anomaly, I think, I had trouble getting the after-market Fram filter to start treading on. I tried several times with no success. I then examined the filter side-by-side with the GM Delco filter, looked the same, so I tried again and on it went. Must have been me, not being able to get the filter lined up.

To Chevy's credit the oil flter on this engine is very accessable and they even enstalled an oil drain catch with a pitcher type end that collects and directs oil coming out around the filter's seal face down directly under the filter, where I had set the oil catch pan.

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The green color is a break in oil additive.I have never did the first break in oil change on a GM vehical.But I have seen this on small engine like Kohler.First I thought Oh no antifreeze in the oil.Until I realised the Kohler was air cooled.GM uses the pink antifreeze so your also safe.

Also when you change oil the first time.Its normal to see a metalic grey color and resembles graphite.Thats the filings and is normal and the green additive is to help remove them.

The oil filter was tight because the factory does not put a small film of oil on the seal and also the filter base plate is dry and oil free at time of filter installation.

Im not sure what oil they use at the factory.But GM Goodwrench oil I think is distributed bottled from Valvoline oil.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2006 at 9:01PM
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Fresh oils do vary in color. For example, Pennzoil is darker than the average.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 12:11AM
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I used to use Kendall GT1 Oil all the time. It was green, looked a bit dirty when brand new. Was recommended by one of the high performance cam makers otherwise no guarantee for wiped lobes. Apparently contained higher than normal levels of something like zinc/phophate high contact pressure - anti wear stuff in the additive package.

Last couple of time I bought it, its now typical golden yellow color. Newer oils have less zinc for polution reasons over the past 3 yrs or so and during that same 3 yrs many aftermarket cams manufactorers are seeing worn lifters and cam lobes and some suggesting an additional bottle of an added anti-wear additive with the oil change.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 7:38AM
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Oil for diesels starts brown like other oils, but turns black very quickly as it keeps soot particles in suspension.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 11:07AM
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Thanks for the great input/information.

Speaking of different oils, I purchased a gallon of Shell Rotella Heavy Duty SAE 30 motor oil at Wal-mart for use in my air cooled yard and garden tractors as well as other small air coolded engines. On getting home I give it a close look and see it is API rated: CF-4, CF-2, CF/SJ, or an oil for diesel engines (mostly). But as it carries an "SJ" rating I assume it is good too in gasoline engines. Any comment?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 11:18PM
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dont know what kind of oil the dealer uses, but its lite gold when they put it in and a yr later or 6000 miles, when i get it changed, its still lite gold.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 11:39PM
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Used to be six months, change oil - otherwise something starts to go acid & starts eating away bearing coatings.

(imagine that! - Rotella diesel oils in both full syn and dino is one of the oils recommended by cam makers because it still contains a good amount of zinc and other good antiwear things)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 5:31AM
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Pretty much any oil that is rated for use in a diesel engine can be used safely in a gasoline engine -- at least in four-strokes. I will defer to the group's greater knowledge about two-stroke engines! :-)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 8:49AM
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Sounds like we have a sale, I'll follow my original plan and use the Rotella 30W in my 4-cycle utility gasoline engines. I did buy the dino type. I haven't yet taken the step to synthitics.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 9:23AM
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