Understanding Black and Gritty Engine Oil

What Causes It?

When inspecting engine oil, you always want to see a beautiful amber color. This color represents clean oil and should be how your engine oil looks like after an oil change service. But over time, the oil can transition to a black and gritty feel. Wondering how and why this may have happened? Here are three common causes for why your engine oil may have developed this dirty color.


Don’t worry, this is a common cause for black and gritty oil! This simply means that the engine oil is doing its job. Engine oil is responsible for lubricating the numerous components found in your engine and for keeping the engine clean. Over time, the constant use will cause the oil to get dirtier. When you notice this, make sure you get your oil changed as soon as possible!

Bad Oil Filter

The oil filter is responsible for removing contaminants the oil may pick up when it’s cycling through the engine. Over time, the filter can get dirty and cause a build-up of these contaminants. This will reduce its overall effectiveness and can lead to your engine oil developing that black and gritty appearance a lot sooner than you may expect. If it not promptly replaced, this can also lead to engine damage!

Waiting Too Long Between Changes

Engine oil must follow a consistent oil change schedule in order to keep the engine clean and functioning. If a driver doesn’t follow a consistent schedule, the oil will eventually turn black and gritty and could cause serious damage to the engine! While most oil changes occur around 3,000 miles, some synthetic oils can last around 7,500 miles to even 10,000 miles. Make sure you refer to your vehicle’s manufacturer’s guide to determine what’s best for you!

Written by Transportation Repair

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *