Metal shaving in oil

Metal shaving in oil: Symptoms and what causes it

It is common to detect a tiny amount of metal shaving in oil, particles, chippings, or flakes in motor oil due to wear and tear, especially if your car (or the engine) is brand new. However, until a significant number have accumulated to a magnetized object, like the drain stop, these shouldn’t be apparent to the human eye. This is why you should head to an auto repair shop right away if you notice metal shavings on the dipstick after checking your oil level.

Both good and terrible news are available. The good news is that it doesn’t happen very often for metal shavings to go into motor oil. The bad news is that it may limit your engine’s lifespan or necessitate costly repairs when it does.

There are numerous moving components in the engine. These components are almost entirely constructed of metal. Metal shavings end up in the oil when it starts to degrade and doesn’t lubricate properly. The reason is that the metal components rub against one another. Thus, in this article, we’ll be discussing metal shaving in oil, its symptoms, and what causes it.

Metal shaving in oil

So, let’s begin!


What does Metal shaving in oil mean

Think about using a nail file to trim your nails. This leaves behind a powdery residue. It happens as a result of friction between your nails and the nail file. Essentially, that is what is taking place within a poorly oiled engine. All the moving metal components quickly rub against one another when the engine is operating at 3,000 RPM, for instance. A piston with a 3.5′′ stroke, for instance, moves 7 inches every revolution. With only a thin film of oil protecting it, the piston is moving at 3000 rpm at a rate of 1750 feet per minute. Small metal shavings would be produced between the metal parts due to heat and friction if they weren’t properly lubricated. Metal shavings come in a variety of sizes, although the majority are tiny.

Symptoms of metal shaving in oil

Every time you get behind the wheel, become familiar with how your car starts and handles to help you identify any problems. The followings are the symptoms of metal shaving;

  • Reduced engine power
  • Ticking noises
  • Rough idles
  • Engine knocking
  • White exhaust smoke

Reduced engine power

You might have dirty oil or a damaged filter if you notice that your automobile is having trouble accelerating when you press the gas.

Ticking noises

Metal shavings in engine oil can stop the oil from flowing smoothly where it needs to go, which can result in a loss in lubrication and ticking noises.

Rough idles

Poor lubrication can also result in friction building up between various engine elements. This may cause your engine to shake or vibrate excessively when your automobile is stationary.

Engine knocking

If debris and metal shavings accumulate in the oil, they can deteriorate engine parts over time. gasoline burns unevenly in cylinders, causing knocking, which produces clunking sounds when ignited gasoline consumes air.

White exhaust smoke

If you notice white smoke coming from your car’s exhaust, you should be concerned since it can mean that oil is entering your cylinders. Take your car to a repair shop right away if you find any!

Another indication that you may have metal shavings in your oil is if your check engine warning light illuminates. Some modern cars also include indications for low oil pressure or an upcoming oil change.

Causes of metal shaving in oil

  • Your car has many moving parts that the oil must travel through and around. It makes natural that some metal could gradually chip off over time given the speed of these moving components and how frequently you run your engine. This is a typical side effect of engine wear.
  • Metal flakes must be captured by the oil filter, but it is not capable of doing so. Because of this, monitoring and replacing the oil and oil filter is a crucial component of routine auto maintenance. One of the main causes of a buildup of metal shavings in engine oil, besides normal wear and tear, is bearing damage.
  • Bi-metal or tri-metal constructions are frequently used for engine bearings, including main, connecting rod, small-end, and camshaft bearings. Longevity and effectiveness are made possible by a low-friction surface (made of brass, copper, or aluminum) linked to a steel backing. This mixture of materials can help a technician identify the source of metal shavings in oil.
  • A technician might conclude that failed engine bearings are to blame if the shavings are not magnetic. If there are magnetic particles in the oil, they might be steel from the crankshaft or other engine parts, bearing backing material, or both.

Potential Problems of metal shaving in oil

  • The crankshaft journals and bearings may sustain scratches or gouges if oil-containing metal shavings travel between them.
  • Oil channels can also become blocked or constrained by metal shavings or flakes. Oil pressure and flow to vital engine components will decrease due to restricted oil passageways, which may result in early engine failure.
  • When it comes to contemporary engines, some metal in oil is acceptable, if you’re asking how much is usual. However, once an engine has been broken in, excessive metal shavings in the oil or recently discovered metal shavings may be a sign of harm.
  • When it comes to metal shavings in oil, prevention is vital, thus routinely changing the oil and oil filter will help reduce the possibility that metal flakes in oil will cause problems in the engine of your car.

How to Determine Whether Your Engine Oil Has Metal Shavings?

Unless they are grouped together on a magnet, the majority of metal shavings cannot be seen with the unaided eye. Metal shavings will appear as silvery muck if they are gathered on a magnet. Although most oil drain plugs lack one, some do. Therefore, it may be challenging to determine whether your motor oil is tainted. The easiest approach to determine whether your oil includes metal shavings if you don’t have a magnet on your drain stop or in your oil filter is to have an oil analysis performed. The oil analysis company will be able to inform you of the amount and kind of metals present in your oil.

Why You need a magnetized oil filter

Metal shavings getting into the oil in an engine that is kept up to date is not very common. However, you desire to employ an oil filter equipped with magnets. The most expensive part of your car is the engine. Therefore, it is always preferable to be cautious.

The best safety measure in this situation is to use an oil filter with magnets. You won’t tell if your engine is using tainted oil until it’s too late. Any ferrous metal shavings in the oil will be collected by magnets in the oil filter, giving you peace of mind that your engine will function properly. This article describes how magnets can collect even the smallest metal flakes suspended in oil.

Magnets are not included with disposable oil filters. Some reusable oil filters do, though. Neodymium rare earth magnets of the highest quality are included with PurePower! lifetime oil filters. One of the strongest magnets on earth is this one. Within the filter, they generate a powerful magnetic field. Additionally, even the smallest metal particles can be captured by them. You may drive with confidence knowing that your engine won’t ever be harmed by metal shavings thanks to a PurePower! oil filter.

Related Article

Watch the video below to learn more


What is metal shaving?

Metal swarf, sometimes referred to as chips or by other names that are specific to a particular manufacturing process (such as turnings, filings, or shavings), are metal fragments that are left over after machining or other subtractive (material-removing) manufacturing processes.

What happens when you put oil on metal?

Nearly all gun owners are aware of how crucial it is to keep their weapons well-oiled, even when they are not being used. In addition to lubricating metal components, oil also reduces friction during movement. Oiling creates a barrier that shields the metal from rust.

Can metal shavings damage an engine?

Every time your engine runs, these shavings continuously abrade bearings, crankshaft journals, and other parts, accelerating wear and tear and raising the possibility of catastrophic, possibly irreparable damage.

What is the metal glitter in my oil change?

Tiny metal shavings from the engine are what are referred to as “glitter” in engine oil. Engine oil in new cars can appear sparkly when they break in and little particles from the machining process clean out. Since you’ve been maintaining your car for a while, glitter could be a sign that the engine is degrading.

Are metal shavings bad?

If metal dust is inhaled for any length of time, it might damage the lungs. However, doing so frequently can greatly raise the hazards. The lungs’ natural defense mechanism, which is intended to stop foreign particles from settling inside, can become less effective with repeated exposure.

Is metal a contaminant to oil?

Dust, grime, and metal fragments from engine wear are examples of abrasive oil pollutants.

What is the contamination of metal shavings?

Foods can get contaminated by biological, physical, and chemical pollutants when exposed to metal shavings. Disease-causing pathogenic microorganisms, such as fungi, viruses, yeasts, mold, and bacteria, are typical biological pollutants.

How do you remove metal shaving?

  • A magnet should be put inside a plastic bag.
  • To make the shavings adhere to the bag’s outside, pass the plastic bag with the magnet inside over the workspace.
  • The magnet can be taken out by turning the plastic bag inside out.
  • Put the bag of metal shavings in the garbage after you’ve finished with it.

What are metal shavings used for?

Ribbons in the form of tiny aluminum shavings. Any application that calls for a high surface area, such as water treatment, fuel cell, and solar applications, can benefit from shavings. High surface areas are also produced by nanoparticles.

How harmful is metal dust?

Your lungs, kidneys, and nervous system could be harmed by metal dust. It might result in cancer, depression, or problems with sleep. You should learn more about filing a workers’ compensation claim if you think your health problems are related to your job.

That’s all for this article where we discussed Metal shaving in oil, its symptoms, and what causes it. Hope it was helpful. If so, kindly share. Thanks for reading.


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