Why Is There Metal Shavings In Oil? (Are They Normal?)

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Why is there metal shavings in oil? If you found metal shavings in your engine oil, there are pretty many things to look out for. First, it could be that some of your engine’s moving parts are shredding or it’s just the drain bolt treads that fell into the oil during an oil change.

Basically, you can’t see metal shavings with your naked eye, and even if you dip your hand into the oil and stir, you may still not feel a thing. But then, there are chances that the oil in your car’s engine contains metal shavings.

The metal shavings in your car’s engine oil cannot be observed unless they accumulate, which is when they become visible. But, they won’t just accumulate, there has to be a magnet to draw them – probably a polarized object in the engine or magnetic drain plugs.

Why Is There Metal Shavings In Oil?

The accumulation of metal shavings in oil simply points out that certain metallic components of your engine are wearing off. The shavings are shreds of metals from various engine components where the oil penetrated.

Normally, when you add oil to your vehicle, it passes through various paths and gets into many places because a car runs with several moving/rotating metallic parts.

All these parts need to be oily at all times, else, they’d grind against each other and shred the shavings you see in your oil.

So to say, if you allow your engine to run low on oil, the rotating metal parts would forcefully grind against each other, which would cause them to shred some shavings. Now, when you refill oil, the oil would carry those metal shavings as it flows to and from the engine.

More so, when loosening the drain bolt, the treads may wear into the oil; this type of metal shavings are too small and almost insignificant unless a magnet is introduced.

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Are Metal Shavings In Oil Normal?

NO! It’s not normal to find metal shavings in motor oils; those metal shavings, when they become too many in the oil can cause many damages to different parts of an engine.

Oils should be free of any containment or sediment, so they can properly lubricate all the parts of an engine while cleaning out carbon deposits and other dirt that may have gotten into the engine.

So, if the oil meant to clean out the buildups, debris, and carbon deposits in the engine is contaminated with metal shavings, apparently, it won’t do a good job in cleaning the engine.

More so, when the contaminated oil flows through the various engine parts, the metal shavings can scratch those engine parts and get them damaged.

How Much Metal In Oil Is Normal?

Spotting metals inside your engine oil should never be seen as “normal,” regardless of whether the metal shavings are too tiny or significant.

Once you can see metal shavings in your oil, you should drain out the entire oil and look out for the components that are shredding the shavings.

Notwithstanding, if there are tiny metal shavings in your engine oil, you may never get to know, unless a large number of those shavings got trapped in a magnet.

But, if you can clearly see the shavings, they must be really big, and so it calls for serious attention as it implies that one of your engine components is seriously wearing off.

The simple truth here is that seeing metal flakes or shavings inside the oil you got from your engine, calls for serious inspection to detect wearing engine parts/components, and this should be done as fast as possible.

Can Oil Filters Trap Metal Shavings?

Oil filters can trap a lot of sediments and particles, but it isn’t foolproof that the filter will capture everything single containment in the oil. Definitely, some fine particles would still get in, and if the oil filter is weak or worn out, even metal shavings can pass through it.

An oil filter that can perfectly trap metal flakes or shavings would be such with magnetic parts. So, the metal flakes would glue to the magnet, and won’t pass into the engine, anything asides from that, it’s not guaranteed that an oil filter can keep out metal shavings.

How To Check For Metal Shavings In Oil?

Why Is There Metal Shavings In Oil

The best way would be to use a magnet – move the magnet inside the oil and see it’d attract any metal. If it did, apparently, you’d be seeing them on the body of the magnet, which implies you’ve got some metal shavings in your engine oil.

Another way would be to use your finger – dip a finger into the oil and stir – if you could feel any metal, that implies there are flakes in your engine oil.

On the contrary, if the flakes or shavings are big, you’d see them with your naked eye. These big shavings are dangerous and can cause serious damages to an engine if the shredding/wearing component(s) is not replaced as fast as possible.

How To Get Rid Of Metal Shavings In Oil

The first thing you should do is drain out the entire oil. When this is done, take time to inspect various parts of the engine (you should have a mechanic do this for accuracy and efficiency).

Getting rid of metal shavings mainly points to replacing or fixing the components that are already wearing off. There is no specific component to hold responsible here; you should check all, and then replace the ones that are wearing off.

Apparently, if you do not fix or replace the engine parts that are shredding the shavings when you add new oil, you’d still find metal flakes inside.

What More?

So, why is there metal shavings in oil? It’s simply because one or more metal components – that make up your vehicle engine – are wearing off. This calls for attention and extensive engine servicing.

Apparently, you’d need to engage the services of a professional mechanic, as it implies taking down certain engine parts to check for wear or physical damage.

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