Metal In Engine Oil

Our vehicles majorly get affected by oil-related problems when we talk about the performance and smooth functioning of the engine. Where engine oil is considered a necessity for the best performance of vehicles, it may also affect the engine’s health if neglected for a long time. The purest engine oils can also develop impurities while using them consistently for a long time.

One of the main reasons for the functional breakdown of an engine is the accumulation or presence of small metal in engine oil. The performance of an engine depends upon the health and material used for its functioning. With such metal shavings present inside the oil, the engine may lose its performance abilities.

Presence of metal shavings in engine oil

The oil keeps circulating and moving inside the engine for its smooth functioning. The pistons present inside an engine move rigorously fast to achieve the expected performance. The friction produced by this rigid movement is controlled by the engine oil. Though the oil is serving its purpose, the metal of the engine keeps chipping off in minute size.

To keep these metal particles away from the engine’s core, the oil filter is an important part. But sometimes, the oil filter may fail to catch small metal parts and these metal shavings slip into the core of the engine and affect its performance. This requires check-up and replacement of oil and oil filters in a regular interval of time.

Is it normal?

Generally, the metal shavings that flow with the oil help are microscopic. This debris cannot be collected in the filter due to its fine size. This stage may not be a point of concern at the initial stage of the presence of metal in the oil. The continuous accumulation of these metal shavings may result in blockage of the flow of oil after a particular point in time. Till then, you might not get any indication regarding this problem in your vehicle’s engine. The wearing out of bigger metal particles from the engine’s wall can create blockage quickly.

With time, the metal shavings get accumulated in a large number at the opening of the oil filter. This blocks the way of engine oil and creates a scarcity of oil inside the engine. The presence of metal shavings in the engine oil isn’t normal as it will adversely affect the health of your vehicle’s engine after some time.

Identifying metal in engine oil

The metal in engine oil is a concern that must not be taken lightly by the vehicle owners as it directly affects the health of the engine. One can identify the presence of metal in the engine oil by keeping it on idle and observe its sound. One can also identify the presence of metal in the engine oil by checking the pressure of oil. The reading may vary accordingly due to differences in size and type of the vehicle.

Oil pressure lower than the average point indicates a blockage in the flow of oil. One can also identify the problem regarding the accumulation of metal shaving and blockage in the flow of oil by experiencing the low performance of the vehicle.

There are several repair centers and garages that provide the facility of testing the state of oil inside your engine. The test results will disclose the amount of microscopic metal content in your oil. This is also helpful in deciding whether you need an engine rebuild or not.

Metal In Engine Oil

Problems caused by metal in engine oil

The presence of metal in the engine oil can adversely affect the health of your vehicle’s engine. One may not be able to detect this problem quickly. Several symptoms are indicating the presence of metal in the engine oil that can be observed by the driver while driving the vehicle. These problems are –

Unhealthy idling

The time when your vehicle is not in motion but the engine is on is known as idling. While keeping the vehicle in this state, one can listen to the engine’s sound. A driver can always differentiate between the normal and rough sound produced by the engine. When the engine sounds rough even with sufficient oil, one must understand that the problem is caused by the metal shavings inside the engine. The more rough or unhealthy sound your vehicle’s engine makes, the greater amount of metal that might be present in the oil.

Ticking noises

While accelerating the vehicle, one may hear the ticking noise being to and fro. This indicates the degrading condition of your engine. This sound can be heard when there is an inadequate supply of oil inside the engine due to blockage and accumulation of metal hindering the flow of oil. Insufficient oil will cause excessive friction that will adversely affect and damage your vehicle’s engine.

Power reduction

One can observe the changes and degradation in a vehicle’s performance instantly. When you try to accelerate your vehicle to the fullest but your vehicle doesn’t perform at its full potential, probably there must be a problem in the engine. The contaminated oil with metal shavings can reduce the functionality of the engine to a great extent that results in the poor performance of the vehicle. The low performance of the vehicle indicates the amount of stress and load the engine is experiencing while doing its job. Spotting and solving this problem at an early stage will save your vehicle’s engine from incurring heavy damage.

Knocking off the engine

The best quality engine oil provides your vehicle’s engine with long-lasting performance. With contaminated oil or blocked flow of oil due to the presence of metal shavings, the engine will not be able to run for a long time. Using your vehicle with an unhealthy engine will surely result in the functional breakdown of your vehicle. One must be particular about changing the oil and its filter within regular intervals to avoid such situations.

White smoke exhaustion

The white smoke coming out from the exhaust of your vehicle is a sign of an unhealthy engine. Normally, the fuel and engine oil of a vehicle must not be mixed. But it can happen many times. When oil mixed with gasoline starts burning, it produces white smoke. The emission of white smoke indicates that the ring seals and the pistons of the engine are getting damaged and the oil is reaching the cylinders. When the engine oil will start burning, there will be a lack of lubrication inside the engine. This all directly or indirectly affects the engine’s health. If you experience the emission of white smoke from your vehicle’s exhaust, getting it checked and repaired is necessary.

There are various other signs regarding the engine health and change of oil that are indicated in modern vehicles. These signs are accurately visible to the driver and remind consistently about the same. These indications are sent when the computerized technology of the vehicle spots trouble in the performance of your vehicle.

Do you need an engine rebuild?

Where some people will recommend you to wait, some will suggest the engine rebuild without giving it a second thought. Engine rebuilding is not everyone’s cup of tea. It requires time and money. The presence of microscopic or fine particles does not require much care as it can be cleared by changing oil. Clearing the blockage of oil filters due to metal shavings visible to normal eyes needs an expert’s care.

There are times when the tearing apart of the engine is required to locate the actual cause of metal in engine oil. There are various parts in an engine that are lubricated by the engine oil. While traveling to each part of the engine, the oil might erode and take some metal particles or shavings by its flow. After these particles and shavings get accumulated in the oil filter, one must replace the oil and the oil filter first and then move on to the process of engine rebuilding.

While getting the issue fixed, you will come to know that the metal shavings blocking the path of oil is a sign of wear and tear of the engine’s parts. This may require appropriate repair and replacement of those parts or there might be a need for a total engine rebuild. The metal shavings in oil will be removed along with the damaged parts. According to your vehicle’s size, brand, and age, the cost of engine rebuild may vary. Where a small car will not take much time and less manpower will be required, an SUV or truck will require at least 2 men at work with a hefty amount of money.


The metal contents get mixed with the engine oil while it moves inside the engine for its lubrication and smooth functioning. This can be a slow process but once identified, the problem must be eliminated or it can cause enough damage to affect your pocket. These metal shavings are the contents of engine parts that get worn out due to the heavy working of engines. With the best engine rebuild and repair services near you, taking care of your vehicle along with its internal parts is not a big deal anymore.

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