What is the Normal Oil Content?
Priority number one is to take care of your engine. Regular oil changes are essential and you should never over-exert yourself. It can also be very alarming to see any metal in your oil. What is the normal amount of metal in oil? And what can you do about it?
This guide will discuss the average amount of metal in oil. You will also learn what to do about the various types of metal found in oil. Bottom line: Metal in oil isn't a sign that there is anything worthwhile.
What is the Normal Oil Content in Metal?
It’s not uncommon for the engine oil to have minuscule metal shavings occasionally. They should not be visible through the eyes of the normal person. It is alarming to see metal shavings embedded in oil.
Magnets can also be used to find tiny metal particles. You can also cut the filter open and extract the oil inside to check for metal in a saucepan.
It is best to drain oil when it is clean so you can see the amount of metal in it. You won’t be able to notice them as well if the oil is dark.
At 10,000 miles, it’s common to see some metal particles as the engine breaks in. You should be more worried if you notice them later.
You should perform an oil-filter change once you have noticed metal shavings. After that, remove the filter again after a day or two to see what’s happening. You should immediately have your engine checked if the metal shavings are not gone or if there is more than a handful of particles.
RELATED: Metal Shavings in Oil – Why it Happens (& What to Do)
What happens to metal when it comes in contact with oil?
A few small particles may be normal for a new engine. However, the accumulation of shavings in unexpected places is a sign that there's wear to the motor. The engine's metal parts rub together without proper lubrication. This causes shavings to become embedded in the engine. This can create further problems as the oil is circulated throughout the engine.
The damage is irreversible once the engine's vital parts are worn down. That’s why it is so important to catch the issue early, before a new motor is needed. You should also ensure that your engine is maintained regularly to improve lubrication. You can prevent engine parts from being worn out by taking a few extra precautions.
What Does Metal Shavings Really Mean?
Metal shavings used in oil can take on different meanings, depending on the type of metal they are. Without experience, however, it may be challenging to discern the differences between different substances. You might find that seeing a professional is best if you aren’t sure what you are looking at. Below are some examples of different metal shavings that you may find, and their meanings.
These metal shavings are an indication that the rotating engine component is worn. Many engine parts are iron-based and could be wearing or rubbing.
This metal is used in the construction of crankshafts and camshafts, for example. You could also have it caused by the components of your iron valve train. You can expect major engine repairs with any one of these components. However, other issues with the engine will most likely occur once these parts begin to fail.
2. Copper, bronze or brass
They are more easily identifiable because they have a unique appearance. If you see any of these colored shavings, it’s possible you are dealing with bushings that have worn out.
It’s also possible that the metal is coming from a bearing that failed. Even though these parts are very small, bad bearings can be a big problem.
3. Molybdenum and Chromium
These metals are very similar to aluminum. These metals can be used to make engine pistons.
If you identify these metal shavings, it’s almost guaranteed that the pistons are wearing out. However, it’s also possible that the piston rings have broken.
Aluminum is used in many parts of the engine. It can sometimes be difficult to identify the problem because of this.
Look at some of the parts on the engine’s surface. This could either be an issue with the overhead camshaft bearings, or the aluminum caps.
What to Do if There’s Metal in Oil
You probably won’t notice the metal shavings first unless you are doing an oil change. You might notice some symptoms of the defect first. It is worth having the engine checked out if the engine makes unusual or uneven sounds. You should also check for metal shavings that can reduce power and white smoke from your tailpipe.
A simple oil change will confirm the existence of any metal shavings. You should have your motor checked by professionals if you find metal in your oil.
If metal is found in your oil you will need to have the engine rebuilt or repaired. You might still be able get the problem fixed if it is caught early. You should not wait for trouble to start.
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