oil color question

Messages
3,894
Location
missouri usa
So I've used havoline qs valvoline and Mobil super hm and the havoline got dirty the quickest but it was also my first fill with this car and I believe the engine needed some cleaning. However the valvoline and Mobil both were put in when the engine was clean for sure. So my question is why did the Mobil stay clear looking longer and the valv is already at 500 miles getting color to it. Can any oil gurus explain this to me. Thanks
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Messages
476
Location
Virginia
There are 2 different things that happen: 1. The oil itself discolors as it it heated in the engine, particularly as it contacts hotter internal engine parts. 2. The oil picks up dirt, gum, varnish, blowby, etc. as it circulates the engine. While oil detergency/solvency varies between oils, I would say they all fall within a similar range. Essentially, oil is intrinsically pretty detergent.
 
Messages
7,930
Location
Hudson, NH
Back when you were consuming there was more fresh oil replacement so whatever brand you were using then could have appeared cleaner. Now that your consumption has gone down, you are replacing less, more time to get dirty.
 
Messages
744
Location
SW Missouri
Originally Posted By: chevyboy14
So my question is why did the Mobil stay clear looking longer and the valv is already at 500 miles getting color to it.
The bottom line? None of us have a good answer for you. shrug shrug
 
Messages
4,574
Location
Merritt Island FL, USA
How do you know the engine "was clean for sure". Did you open it up and do an extensive inspection? If yes, all oils degrade at a different rate depending on many factors type of driving, gas quality etc. etc. Valvoline, while a great oil, is not the best extended drain oil either for some reason it seems to degrade faster. So like OldCowboy said "none of us have a good answer" just our best guesstimate dependent on many factors.
 
Last edited:
Messages
6,318
Location
Canton, GA
Originally Posted By: Brenden
Oil color has little bearing on the condition the oil is in or how well it is cleaning...
This is what is said on here. Now whether I believe it or not is another story.
 

Dakota1820

Thread starter
Messages
3,894
Location
missouri usa
I pulled valve cover twice to look and see. I was just curious as to why would cause the difference within a couple hundred miles you can see the difference in valvoline and couldn't with Mobil super hm
 
Messages
17,298
Location
OH
A really simple explanation is that the VWB is much lighter in color when new, so any change in color is more noticeable.
 
Messages
17,501
Location
Clovis, CA
Originally Posted By: Brenden
Oil color has little bearing on the condition the oil is in or how well it is cleaning...
You can go ahead and think that, but I'm changing my oil if it gets too dark. wink2
 

Dakota1820

Thread starter
Messages
3,894
Location
missouri usa
I agree I cannot stand oil that looks dirty but I change mine every 3000 and I'm told that's to often but that's ok. No engines ever died from having clean oil all the time. smile
 
Messages
7,930
Location
Hudson, NH
Its true the oil color on a dipstick can not be used or trusted to determine whats going on inside the engine, or when to change the oil. Learned that first hand on sons car just recently. Started with a ticking then a vvt CEL. Then finally the scary red oil light. Oil had only 3500 on it. Records of 3500-4k oil changes at lube shops for many years. Years of budget oil, budget filters. Pretty looking clean oil on the stick tricked me into just topping off which almost cost the engine. Decided to change the pretty clean oil and filter with what I use. Now it looks dirty on the stick after 1500, no oil light, vvt CEL finally went out, no ticking. After that experience I'd prefer oils that get dirty sooner. Tells me the dirt/sludge is in the oil, not stuck to the engine, clogging sensors, etc. Also tells me some oils do a better job of cleaning, and have better suspension. Moral of the story is you get what you pay for, I choose the expensive dirty oils for now on smile
 
Messages
28,123
Location
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: OldCowboy
The bottom line? None of us have a good answer for you. shrug shrug
That's the best answer, I think. For what it's worth, when I ran my Lightning on Mobil 1, it seemed to darken slightly quicker than the conventional first used in it. Maybe it was darker to start with? I don't worry too much unless something really weird were to happen, like it never changing colour at all over the OCI or turning black instantly in a gasser.
 
Messages
7,930
Location
Hudson, NH
Originally Posted By: Garak
Originally Posted By: OldCowboy
The bottom line? None of us have a good answer for you. shrug shrug
That's the best answer, I think. For what it's worth, when I ran my Lightning on Mobil 1, it seemed to darken slightly quicker than the conventional first used in it. Maybe it was darker to start with? I don't worry too much unless something really weird were to happen, like it never changing colour at all over the OCI or turning black instantly in a gasser.
I found M1 to be lighter to start than conventional. Always have a hard time checking it initially, almost invisible. Same thing here, the oil gets darker sooner on both vehicles I'm using it on. I think/guess (controversial) what we see is the M1 cleaning up after the conventional and keeping it in suspension, appearing darker sooner. Why I think/guess that (controversial)? With each subsequent OCI it takes longer and longer to get dark like that.
 
Messages
28,123
Location
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: LeakySeals
I found M1 to be lighter to start than conventional. Always have a hard time checking it initially, almost invisible. Same thing here, the oil gets darker sooner on both vehicles I'm using it on. I think/guess (controversial) what we see is the M1 cleaning up after the conventional and keeping it in suspension, appearing darker sooner. Why I think/guess that (controversial)? With each subsequent OCI it takes longer and longer to get dark like that.
You may be right. I've used so many different oils over the years that I don't even remember how dark or light Mobil 1 is at the outset. I just recall it darkening in the Lightning faster than other stuff in there before. It certainly didn't worry me. That's why I said I wouldn't worry unless an oil did something completely off base. When I check oil, I look for the level (obviously), and any signs of water contamination. Colour isn't an issue unless it's instantly black or never changes throughout an entire OCI or does something similarly oddball.
 
Top