Glitter In Engine Oil: 6 Reasons With Solutions

Got glitter or metallic particles in your engine oil? Here’s a comprehensive guide on the various underlying causes and preventive measures to take when it happens.

The engine oil helps lubricate various parts of the engine and thus increases the life of various vital components.

Sometimes you might observe glitter in engine oil and panic. Well, the glitter in oil is metal flakes from the engine parts.

Whenever there is insufficient oil, it cannot travel to various parts of the engine, and thus various metal components rub against each other.

So pieces of metal start to float in the engine oil.

Glitter In Engine Oil

We recommend you take your vehicle to the nearest mechanic as soon as possible. He will inspect the vehicle engine thoroughly and detect the exact problem.

Reasons For Gold Glitter In Engine Oil

#1. Using a New Vehicle

If you are using a new vehicle, then it’s pretty common to see the glitter in engine oil.

A new engine cracks slightly, and some fine particles from the cracking get suspended in the engine oil.

But if you have been using the car for several years and suddenly see the glitter in the oil, it indicates some issues in the engine or the vehicle’s lubrication system.

#2. Normal Wear And Tear Of The Engine

The engine oil passes through various parts of the engine.

But using the engine for several years can make metal components like rod bearings and cam gears, and turbo bearings chip off and float in the engine oil.

Remember, normal engine wear and tear produces metal particles of less than 40 microns in size.

But if you find metal chips greater than 40 microns and they are suspended in engine oil, there is a big problem.

#3. Malfunctioning Of The Oil Filter

An oil filter in the engine’s lubrication system is responsible for catching these metal particles.

But it may not be able to catch all the metal debris, mainly when it is too dirty or blocked. Hence you find metal shavings floating in the engine oil.

So we recommend you regularly check the oil filter and, if required, replace it with a new one.

#4. Insufficient oil

Insufficient oil is another reason why you find metal chips in engine oil. When there is low oil in the reservoir, it cannot reach all the engine parts.

Hence, the metal components will rub against each other, resulting in metal chips in the engine oil.

#5. Low Oil Pressure

When the rod or thrust bearings wear out, the engine tolerances are breached beyond the manufacturer’s recommendation.

The tolerances are crucial for the smooth operation of the engine. But when they are breached, then it directly affects the oil pressure.

Worn bearings cannot hold proper oil pressure. Hence you will observe a reduction in pressure in the oil pressure gauge.

The bearings start to starve for more lubrication, resulting in multi-bearing failure.

You will observe meal shavings in engine oil for this reason. In the worst cases, you may hear a knocking noise from the engine.

If the metal particles in the engine oil are nonmagnetic, then the mechanic can easily know that it’s because of worn-out engine bearings.

But if they are magnetic, it can be because of the backing material in bearings or some other engine parts.

#6. Malfunctioning Of Oil Pump

The primary responsibility of the oil pump is to circulate the engine oil to various parts of the engine.

But it can malfunction with time, and thus the engine oil may not be able to reach all the components.

The metal parts will rub against each other because of inadequate lubrication; hence, you will find metal shavings in engine oil.

What Signs Indicate That Your Oil Has Metal Particles?

#1. Lessening Of Engine Power

If the engine power gets reduced, it can be because of metal shavings in the oil.

When you put your feet on the gas pedal, your car will be hard to accelerate.

#2. You Will Hear Noise From The Engine

The metal particles will prevent in smooth flowing of the engine, and hence you hear ticking noise.

#3. Hot Idle

Your car engine may start to vibrate in hot idle conditions because of the presence of metal particles in engine oil.

#4. White Fumes From The Tail Pipe

White smoke from the tailpipe is another sign which indicates that the engine oil has metal chips.

#5. Check Engine Light

If there are impurities in engine oil, like metal chips, the check engine oil starts to illuminate the dashboard.

What Should I Do If I Find Metal Chips In Engine Oil?

#1. Compression Or Leak Down Test

Compression or leak-down test will help you know about the car engine’s health.

Your car engine takes compression to produce power. The test allows you to find out if any cylinder is losing compression and the reason behind it.

#2. Used Oil Analysis

If you send an oil sample after changing the engine oil every time, the oil analysis company can easily track the problems.

For example, if they find more copper particles in the engine oil, it can be because of bad rod bearings.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. Does metal shavings in oil mean your motor is gone?

It is normal if you are running a new car and see some metal particles in the engine oil. The new engine cracks itself, producing a few metal chips in the engine oil.
But if you find too much metal savings in engine oil or discover metal particles for the first time after running a car for several years, it is a matter of concern.
It indicates that there is some issue with the engine components or the vehicle’s lubrication system.

#2. What causes metal shavings in engine oil?

Metal shaving means metal particles or metal flakes suspended in engine oil.
There are various reasons for metal shavings in engine oil. For instance, if the oil filter is blocked, you will find metal particles.
Similarly, suppose there is insufficient oil in the reservoir. In that case, the metal components in your engine will rub against each other, resulting in small metal particles in engine oil.

#3. Why shouldn’t oil be sparkly?

The oil should be clean and free from dust and debris for the smooth flowing of the engine. But it can sparkle when there is the presence of metal particles in it.
These metal particles can be because of worn-out components in the engine.

#4. Is glitter in oil normal?

Glitter or metal particles in engine oil are normal in new vehicles. The engine cracks slightly, and the metal particle from the machining process starts settling in the engine oil.

#5. What are the signs of engine damage?

We are listing a few signs of engine damage below.
The check engine light turns on your dashboard.
You will hear ticking or any other strange noise from the engine
You will experience a reduction in engine power
It’s hard for you to accelerate
The fuel consumption becomes higher.

#6. What happens if debris gets in the engine?

If debris gets inside the engine, it can grind against cylinder walls and pistons and deteriorate them faster.
It finally affects the smooth running of the car engine, and you will experience a reduction in engine power. Additionally, you will start hearing strange noises from the engine.

#7. How do you separate metal particles from engine oil?

You can separate metal particles from engine oil by two methods.
Filtration Technique(The metal chips will leave in filter paper)
Magnet Technique (The metal chips will attract towards the magnet)

Wrap Up

Metal particles in the oil are not good for the engine. It signifies that some parts of the metal components have worn out and need to be replaced.

Simultaneously you need to check the oil filter and oil pump thoroughly and, if required, replace them.

Thank you for reading this article!

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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