Your vehicle makes use of a variety of fluids to run its systems, but none are more important than oil. Oil acts as both a lubricant and a coolant for your engine, which helps your vehicle run efficiently and properly.

Dirty motor oil can have a significant effect on the performance of your vehicle, and it can lead to all sorts of mechanical problems. Understanding the warning signs associated with dirty motor oil can help you contact a mechanic to have your oil changed before the oil can cause any problems for you.

1. Discoloration

The best way to determine if you need to replace your vehicle’s oil is to actually visually inspect the oil. You can pop the hood and take the dipstick out of the oil reservoir to get a closer look at your engine oil. Clean oil has a relatively light brown color but will quickly become black and grimy over time as dirt gets stuck in it.

Further, you should also rub a bit of the oil between your fingers. Clean oil should be slippery, whereas oil that feels gritty or textured is dirty and needs to be replaced.

2. Loud Engine Noise

One of the most noticeable indications that your motor oil may need to be flushed and replaced is if your engine runs much louder than it normally does. This can take the form of increased general noise within the cabin of your vehicle or a rougher idle.

This noise points to contaminants within your oil, like dirt and grime, which hamper the ability of the oil to lubricate the moving parts within your engine. This can gum up your engine, increasing overall wear and reducing your fuel efficiency, which can make this a costly problem to ignore.

3. Strong Exhaust Fumes

Another clear indication that your engine’s oil has become contaminated is if your notice that the exhaust coming out of your vehicle has an extremely potent smell or is a visible, white plume. This points to oil actually burning in your engine, releasing fumes that it would not otherwise.

Beyond reducing your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, these strong exhaust fumes are actually extremely damaging pollutants. If not fixed, your vehicle may fail an emissions test and be taken off of the road, which can be an even bigger inconvenience.

4. Stuttering or Backfiring Exhaust

Dirty oil can also cause your engine’s oil filter to become clogged with dirt and other debris, which can restrict the flow of oil into your engine. This can result in stuttering or coughing coming out of your exhaust, or constant backfires, as an inadequate amount of oil is provided to your engine.

Stuttering and backfiring can actually create a great deal of stress for your engine and increase general wear and tear, making further mechanical issues in the future a likely possibility.

5. Reduced Vehicle Performance

A clogged oil filter or oil that is otherwise contaminated and no longer able to properly lubricate your engine can both cause a reduction in your vehicle’s performance. This can take the form of reduced fuel efficiency but also slower acceleration and reduced top speeds.

If you notice a general reduction in the abilities of your vehicle, especially if in conjunction with any of the above warning signs, you should head to a mechanic straight away to have your oil completely flushed and replaced.

For any automotive repair-related questions you may have, please don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at DeMers Automotive. We will be more than happy to address all of your concerns and recommend the best solution for any issues you might be experiencing with your vehicle.