Why Is My Oil Milky Brown?

why is My Oil Milky Brown | ER Autocare

You have a monthly routine that we here at ER Auto Care will never discourage you from doing. You pop the hood on your vehicle, pull out the oil dipstick, and check the engine oil. Good for you! Nothing can damage an engine more quickly than dirty, old, or low engine oil, but what if you notice your oil looks milky brown? What causes that?

Milky or Frothy Oil

The bad news is milky or frothy oil indicates that there is definitely something wrong. The good news is it might be resolved with a simple driving habit change. There are two things that can cause your engine’s motor oil to turn milky brown: coolant or water. As you can imagine, the former could be a huge problem and the latter has a simple resolution.


If coolant is leaking into your motor oil, it will turn the oil tan or milky on the dipstick or underneath the oil cap. Leaky coolant can build up underneath the oil cap, too, so check that monthly. The reason why the coolant is leaking is what causes sleep loss at night. Almost always, coolant leaking into motor oil is because of a faulty head gasket.

Sounds expensive, right? It is. A leaking head gasket is considered a major engine repair but it’s also an extremely successful repair. It’s crucial to have the gasket replaced because the coolant can also mix with your gasoline, which could cause your engine to overheat and burn through gasoline at a much quicker rate. If your oil is milky, get your head gasket checked right away.


The lesser of the two evils is water. Plain City, OH, winters are icy and wet, and condensation can build up inside your engine. This condensation can be introduced into the motor oil if it doesn’t dissipate before you begin to drive your car, truck, or SUV. How do you make the condensation go away? Let your vehicle warm up before you drive it, but don’t go crazy.

Today’s automobile doesn’t need to idle for a long time before you take off. In most cases, allowing your vehicle to warm up for 30 seconds prior to shifting it into reverse or drive will do. Just make certain you ease it into its commute. In other words, drive slowly through your neighborhood to continue warming the vehicle.

An exception to this rule is if your vehicle is parked outside and covered in ice or snow. You’ll need to let it warm up longer than 30 seconds in this case. One added advantage to this is the inside of your automobile is nice and warm once you step into it, and that sure makes the start of your morning commute more pleasant in the winter.

ER Auto Care in Plain City, OH, is happy to diagnose the cause of your milky motor oil. Stop by our shop on Lafayette-Plain City Road or call us.

Leave a Comment

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