Oil color

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8,467
Location
Colorado
Why is Schaeffer's Oil kind of green in color? And why are other oils the colors that they are? I have seen a few odd colored oils.
 

MolaKule

Staff member
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21,688
Location
Iowegia - USA
Schaeffer's uses a Blue/Green solvent dye (except for their Dexron ATF), Redline uses Reds and Oranges, Mobil and some others use the Ambers, chocolates, you name it. The dye is used for product ID and to differentiate product type. Most additives are clear to slightly amber and the base oils are mostly clear. I have esters and PAO here in my lab and they are as clear as water.
 
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34,037
Location
Southern NJ
Under the same set of conditions, if one oil gets darker quicker then another, does that tell you anything? Is how fast an oil turns dark an indication of anything? [I dont know]
 

TC

Messages
1,644
Location
California
Dyes have also been a marketing-driven tool in the past as well, such as the purple oil ("Royal Purple"?) used by some oil firm back in the 50's/60's. (???) (I'm not talking about the current Royal Purple brand, but a Triton or Union 76 brand possibly from decades past.) Maybe some old timers can confirm or deny this... Same silly reason that sodas, laundry detergents, car waxes, and just about everything else have coloring agents.
 
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289
Location
US
when I tried RP #41, the purple shade was gone after I first started the car and went to the store and back. Came home, checked the oil and it was amber, for a minute I thought my whole oil change was all in my head! Lots of people like the Schaeffers/GC green coloring, it makes the oil look special. I even took pictures of it since it looked so nice hehe. Thirsty?  - [ June 14, 2004, 11:33 AM: Message edited by: cweed ]
 
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4,872
Location
MN
On some oil it's the addatives. Castol 5w20, for example, says so right on the bottle. It's also a pretty dark oil. Would this be moly? -T
 
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289
Location
US
Hmmm, Redline is pretty dark brown and it has lots of Moly so that may be it, also M1 T&SUV is very light colored, almost like vegetable oil, and it has no Moly.... Btw, the reason GC and Schaeffers have that green glow is because they use a trace amount of depleted uranium which coats your engine parts immediately after first startup (which is why the glow goes away after about 100 miles) [Big Grin]
 
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289
Location
US
not sure about their MTL, but their motor oil doesnt really look red like ATF, it looks more like dark brown, kinda reddish, but mixed with brown.... I'd like to see blue oil, that would be cool, like cool-aid blue....
 
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25
Location
Mt Maunganui, New Zealand
For years Caltex (division of ChevronTexaco in Africa/Asia/Australasia) had red dyed premium motor oils called CX and CXT. This was sold dyed in most countries where they operated, but somehow it was sold undyed in the Middle East - suposedly a local dislike of the colour). This was solely for product differentiation purposes, and one country put together a great advertising campaign based on this oil being the lifeblood of your engine. The dye breaks down in a couple of hundred kilometres. As for how fast an oil darkens, well thats caused by two factors. First is oxidation which darkens an oil. second is how well the detergent/dispersant package is cleaning your engine. If an engine oil doesn't darken then its not doing its job properly. I remember once back in the early 80s seing an engine dipstick on which the oil was virgin clean and the oil had done 5,000 km (3,000 miles). When they took the drain plug out, no oil flowed out. They had to poke a screwdriver up the drain hole to get oil to flow out. They took the pan off and a layer of sludge like the skin off the top of a paint tin was all over the bottom of the oil pan. That was Castrol GTX SAE 20W-50.
 
Back in the ancient 1950's the high priced oil such as Shell & Havoline was of an amber color. What we called cheap oil or 2-bit oil (bulk) was a beutifull green color. Moving into the late sixties I remember asking the Husqvarna race team from Sweden what oil they used (two stroke motors) and they said ANY green oil. Bob
 

MolaKule

Staff member
Messages
21,688
Location
Iowegia - USA
Most oils are dyed "bronze" which we call Amber, because oils are expected (by most of the general public) to look bold and amber. Redline uses red and orange dyes to differentiate its products, GC and Schaeffer's use blue/green, and of course, Royal Purple uses a specialized red/blue dye combination. Most additives, right after reaction and processing, are clear. Bronze and/or red dyes are added to differentiate the additives. Sometimes the metals in certain additives, such as MoDTC and calcium and magnesium sulfonates, tend to darken the additive, so the above dyes are added to mask the darkening. ATF's and most PS fluids are dyed red to detect leaks. AC compressor fluids are dyed with a fluorescent dye so a blacklight source can be used detect leaks as well. [ June 15, 2004, 11:29 PM: Message edited by: MolaKule ]
 
Messages
289
Location
US
Mola, thanks for that info, very interesting.... I like the idea of dying oil red and marketing it as the blood of your vehicle, thats clever.... one question, are there any dyes that withstand the heat and shear within an engine? that could last past 100 miles? Just curious since every oil I've used that has dyes that stand out in it seems to revert to amber after the first trip, i guess for id purposes it no longer matters once its in the crankcase....
 
Messages
1,855
Location
Australia
quote:
If an engine oil doesn't darken then its not doing its job properly. I remember once back in the early 80s seing an engine dipstick on which the oil was virgin clean and the oil had done 5,000 km (3,000 miles). When they took the drain plug out, no oil flowed out. They had to poke a screwdriver up the drain hole to get oil to flow out. They took the pan off and a layer of sludge like the skin off the top of a paint tin was all over the bottom of the oil pan. That was Castrol GTX SAE 20W-50.
Ah yes. The infamous sludge meister Australian GTX. How many Holden and Ford engines were wrecked by that crap ? That stuff almost destroyed Castrols reputation in this part of the world. It's only the last few years I've been using their products again, and then only their gear oils. Rick.
 
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