What's Your Engine Telling You: Signs Of Oil And Lubricant Problems

Automotive Blog

Your car's engine and transmission contain many different fluids, and each one serves a specific purpose. Unfortunately, many car owners don't understand just how important these fluids are to the car's operation, nor do they understand what to look for to spot potential problems. If you want to be able to identify the early signs of issues with your car's fluids, it's important to know what kind of physical changes can happen. Here's a look at what you'll need to look for through your periodic fluid checks.

Engine Oil Inspection

If you've ever examined fresh engine oil, you've probably noticed that it looks a bit like honey. Most clean engine oils are dark or light amber in color and translucent. Gradually, that clean, clear appearance will shift to a darker and less translucent shade. This color change occurs because the oil is absorbing contaminants from the engine. The dirtier the oil gets, the less effective it will be. When the oil is dark brown or near black, that's a sure sign that it's time for an oil change.

When to Worry – if your engine oil is cloudy or milky in appearance, that's a cause for immediate concern. This type of color change occurs when antifreeze is seeping into the oil. In most cases, that's an indication that you have a failing head gasket or intake manifold gasket. You'll need to have this addressed immediately with a mechanic.

Automatic Transmission Fluid Assessment

In most cases, automatic transmission fluid has a red color to it when it's new. Like engine oil, that color darkens as it wears, though it shouldn't turn brown or black. If you do notice a distinct brown or black hue to the fluid, you shouldn't ignore it. It's an indication of overheating inside the transmission, which may cause internal problems. A transmission flush is a good place to start to deal with this.

When to Worry – if you notice metallic shavings in the fluid, that's a cause for serious concern. Check the fluid when the transmission is cool by rubbing the fluid between your fingers. If you feel any kind of texture in the fluid, it's a sign that your transmission gears are releasing metal shavings into the fluid. Your transmission may need a significant rebuild.

Antifreeze Evaluation

Most antifreeze is either bright green or orange in color. The orange coolant color is usually a long-life coolant that's designed to run longer without a cooling system flush. If you lift the cap from your radiator and you see coolant that's similar in its original color but looks dirty, that's normal, although it is an indication that you need to replace the coolant.

When to Worry – If you see coolant that's brown or oily, that means you've got oil in your coolant. This is a warning of serious engine damage. You'll want to have the engine inspected by a professional to find out where the problem is. In extreme cases, this is an indication that you need an engine rebuild.

Understanding what the fluids should look like and when they need to be replaced will help you keep your car's engine running at its best. If you're ever uncertain, talk with a specialist who can help you evaluate your oil and lubricant condition. You can save on fluid replacement by ordering them wholesale from Gran-Del Petroleum Products.


28 April 2015

Are Used Car Parts Right For Your Vehicle?

When it comes to auto repairs, I am lucky. A good friend of mine is very car savvy and is able to make the majority of the repairs that my car needs. However, recently he sprung a question on me that surprised me. He asked if I wanted him to install a new part or a quality used car part. I asked for his opinion and did some research online. I was surprised to find that there wasn't a lot of information out there about when you should and should not use used parts in your car. So that's how this website came to be. I decided to compile the information I learned, so that in the future, someone doesn't have to search all over to decide whether to have a new or used car placed in their car. Hope my website helps you to make your decision!