Car Oils And Fluids

How To Know Metal Shavings In Oil?

Mike Cross
Updated Mar 21, 2021
Metal Shavings In Oil How To Know

If you own a vehicle, it is important that you take the proper time to keep it in check. Whether it’s changing the oil regularly or rotating your tires, a lot goes into keeping your vehicle running smoothly.

Changing oil is one of the healthiest things you can do for your vehicle. Oil serves to supply lubrication throughout your vehicle. The condition of your oil makes all the difference in how well things run.

Engine oil can naturally acquire debris, but one of the worst contaminants that can get in oil is metal shavings. These pesky little pieces can cause your vehicle to run poorly, but it can be a clear indication that there is something far worse going on under the hood.

Left unchecked, metal shavings can cause catastrophic damage to your vehicle. They can ruin your engine and cause your vehicle to seize up like a rock. You can avoid this potential headache by knowing what to look for in the event that your engine oil has gotten metal shavings in it.

3 signs to know Metal Shavings In Oil

Metal Shavings In Oil How To Know
Metal Shavings In Oil How To Know

1. Knocking

One of the worse things you can experience from metal shavings. If you hear knocking coming from your engine, chances are you haven’t addressed other signs that there is a problem.

Your engine will begin making this sound when the shavings have built up in the oil. After the oil has been let go for a long period of time without being changed, bad things start to happen. Engine parts don’t get the right lubrication and friction becomes more intense.

Before you know it, the inner parts of your engine begin to break down, causing them to struggle to do the job they were designed to do. This is when they work harder and begin making loud knocking sounds during their function.

2. Idling

A vehicle with fresh, clean oil runs like a top. Shifting is smooth and effortless on the motor. Your vehicle hums quietly as you sit idle. But when that same oil has buildup, your vehicle will begin to display signs that it is struggling to run.

You’ll definitely be able to feel a difference in the way it idles. It will no longer run smoothly. It will start out as minor vibrations that you’ve never felt. The engine will begin working more than usual, causing it to shake harder and harder.

If you let it go too long, this shaking will become more violent, causing your entire vehicle to jerk uncontrollably. If this occurs, your oil level may be too low and need to be replenished. Or, metal shavings could be causing everything to work overtime.

If this happens, do not delay in getting your oil flushed and topped off with a fresh batch. Your engine will quickly level out and the violent jarring will cease.

Always be sure that you or the person changing your oil inspects the old oil. Finding metal shavings can alert you to more serious issues at play.

More often than not, however, metal shavings are normal. Over time, the engine can begin to deteriorate inside and leave these small pieces behind in the oil. This is why it is of utmost importance that you change your engine oil on time, every time.

Any delay can cause more work for your motor, resulting in it breaking down piece by piece and metal shaving by metal shaving.

With the advent of the internet, it’s now easier to identify where exactly the metal shavings came from. You can send a small sample to a laboratory that specializes in this service to determine their origin.

It’s a drastic step, sure. But if it’s a continuing problem that you find shavings in your oil, you may want to consider it.

3. Engine Tickling

With all of the sounds your vehicle makes, it can be hard to keep track of all of them. But engine tickling is an unusual sound that you will generally notice coming out of nowhere. It doesn’t happen often and can be a clear indicator that your oil is full of debris and buildup.

This is more of a light tapping or clicking, as opposed to loud engine knocking. You will hear this more whenever you sit idle or rev up the engine. When this occurs, it can be the result of a number of things.

One is bad reciprocating components. Parts like valves, pushrods, or pistons can cause tickling sounds when they aren’t working like they’re supposed to. When they get worn out, they should be replaced right away.

The longer you leave them alone, the worse the sound gets. It will eventually transition into a whining or clunking sound.

Low engine oil is another culprit that can lead to this noise. This is because the valvetrain isn’t being lubricated enough. If your oil level is suddenly low, it may mean there is a leak that needs to be addressed.

Bad gaskets and seals can cause tickling, as well. This problem will become evident by your engine overheating. This all leads to tickling sounds coming from under the hood. Get on it immediately to avoid even bigger problems.

A bad rod knocking can make your engine tickle, too. This is because the bearing attached to the rod is faulty. The rod will then begin to move when it should be stationary. This can be easily identified, as your RPMs will be affected.

Your temperature gauge won’t increase, so don’t rely on that. Check your RPM level if you hear a tickling sound. This will be a sure-fire sign that the rod has gone bad and its bearing needs to be replaced.

Practice great vehicle care. You’ll likely prevent metal shavings from ever being an issue. You may notice small amounts over time, but it shouldn’t accumulate to the point that it causes your vehicle damage.

If you regularly change your oil as suggested, you’ll have fewer issues to worry about. And you’ll have a fine-running vehicle for years to come.

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

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