Dark Brown Fluids in Car: Normal or Not?

As a motorist, you might be wondering why the fluids in your vehicle are dark brown. You might also be curious if they need changing or not. The fact of the matter is that mechanical systems in your vehicle require lubrication in order to keep themselves from being worn down.

Any system that has so many moving parts should be well-lubricated to maximize the length of their operation. However, they also do more than just lube up the moving parts of your engine.

The Multipurpose Nature of Oil and Lubricant

  • Black Oil for Cleanup: The reason why your lube comes in clear and comes out black or brown like crude oil is because, like mucus in your body, it also cleans out the different parts of your car. This includes your hydraulic clutch, brake, power steering, differential(s), transfer case, and transmission.
  • Oil Cool Down: To the ignorant or novice motorist, oil and cool down don't mix because they connect oil with heat (cooking oil) and fire (flammable oil). However, oil lubricant in your car actually assists your car's cooling system in cooling down your engine by absorbing the heat and reducing the friction from all those moving parts.
  • Different Lubes and Fluids: Every system mentioned above, from the hydraulic clutch to the transmission, requires special fluids to work. They have lubricant available to them that conditions, cools down, and lubricates these different systems working hand-in-hand to make your car move and whatnot.
  • Deterioration of Your Lubricant: These lubes or fluids deteriorate as they age or as they're used. They tend to break down to the point that they might no longer be able to do the job they're made to do. They're meant to not last forever due to the nature of their work.
  • It's Normal But It's Also Indicates Something: When your lube or your oil turns brown, discolored, or dark like crude oil, this is because particulates that are cleaned from under the hood it's operating on are suspended with the fluid. Again, like green mucus catching germs and irritants for expulsion.
  • Sludge and When to Change Your Lubrication: Once your oil turns to sludge full of particulates that change its color and texture, making it abrasive rather than sleek, then they could cause damage to your vehicle as time passes by. It may be time to change your oil.
  • When to Change Your Oil: Ideally, if you drive in mild conditions, you should change your oil every 10,000 miles. If you live somewhere with severe conditions and you need to drive your vehicle there every day, change your oil every 5,000 miles instead. Some mechanics even suggest that changing your oil every 3,000 miles give you the best results.


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