Metal shavings in the oil

The was no oil on the dip stick not good so i stuck my fingers in the exhaost and there was very dar oil woth the sparkly chaving?
What would cause this to happen?
My car has a manual transmission.
Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hello. Any shavings present in engine oil may indicate that some sort of damage or wear has occurred to the internal components. This could be related to the fact that the engine was also low on oil, as oil is what lubricates and prevents the engine from sustaining metal to metal contact. If the oil is low I would top it off to the proper level before driving the vehicle again. I would also check for leaks, and if the engine may be burning oil, to see if you can determine what caused the oil to run low. As it appears that there may be a risk for possible engine damage, if you are unsure, I would recommend having a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, visit your location to determine if there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

Sources of Metal Flakes in Oil

This is a part of normal engine wear. The oil filter is responsible for catching metal flakes, but it can`t catch them all. This is why checking and replacing the oil and the oil filter is an important part of regular car maintenance.

Failures on a turbocharged engine can occur at any different point. It is certainly possible that shavings from the turbine wheel itself could go into the combustion cylinders in an engine or the muffler. This would be like any other Foreign Object Damage I`m afraid.
The “glitter” in engine oil is just miniscule metal shavings from the engine suspended in the oil. It`s not uncommon for new cars to have this glittery look as the engine breaks itself in and fine particles from the machining process are cleared out.
If the filter contains 10 to 20 small pieces of metal (1/16-inch diameter or less), change the oil and filter, then inspect the filter after 25 hours. If the filter contains 20 to 40 small pieces of metal (1/16-inch diameter or less), change the oil and filter, then inspect the filter after 10 hours.
The metal particles that penetrate into the oil are the result of friction between the metal surfaces. Of course, this is a disadvantageous phenomenon and engine designers attach great importance to building an oil main in such a way as to reduce friction of metal elements.
Swarf are the shavings of metal debris produced during machining. These chips or filings can also be produced during woodworking, grinding and other manufacturing processes. Metal, wood, plastic and stone can all produce this debris which is often called “swarf”.
The only way to stop this is to change the oil and fix the problem. The metal shavings alone are not the primary issue within your motor. They`re a symptom of a bigger problem: the lack of adequate lubrication.
Metal shavings come in various sizes, but often times, they`re very small. In fact, many metal shavings are too small for any oil filter to catch. Metal particles that are a few microns in size can go right through a paper filter. Manufacturers design paper oil filters to catch sludge, which has much bigger particles.
The Most Common Oil Contaminants

Abrasive oil contaminants include dust, dirt, and metal particles from engine wear.

If you checked your transmission pan and found what looks like metal shavings or fragments, you`re probably concerned about your transmission. After all, metal shavings can be a sign of grinding and strain beyond normal wear and tear.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

lost all oil pressure, replaced the oil pump, low oil sensor, oil pressure sensor, oil pan gasket,
ANSWER : The fuel pump will not stay on if you loose oil pressure. This is why it is shutting off. The loss of oil pressure may be from bad crankshaft bearings or camshaft bearings. The engine oil pan should be removed and the oil pump needs to be checked to ensure that you put in the pick up tube seal to the pump and connected the pump to the block. Then remove at least one main bearing cap and inspect the bearings for excessive wear and crankshaft damage. If you need some help with this, consider YourMechanic, as a certified technician can help diagnose the issue with your oil pressure firsthand and help you fix it accordingly.

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Oil consumption. Burning oil. Oil light turns up on idle.
ANSWER : Hi there, thanks for writing in. The valve stem seals are the most common cause of this on your engine. When they fail, it requires that the cylinder heads be removed and rebuilt to fix it. The piston rings can also cause this but they are not as common. Unfortunately there is not anything, not even heavier oil that will fix this. You will need to have the heads rebuilt.

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Just noticed a huge oil leak trailing my car. It seems to be coming from below the engine. I recently had my oil changed a month
ANSWER : You might have a problem with the oil filter leaking when you rev the engine and increase the oil pressure. This can be from a collapsed oil filter media or excessive oil pressure from the engine. I recommend having the oil and filter replaced using a good quality filter and have the oil leak verified to be from the filter. Make sure to not run the engine low on oil. If you are finding you do not want to drive with the leak, a mobile technician from YourMechanic can come to your home or office, and replace both your filter, and oil.

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2006 BMW oil filter gasket keeps breaking and oil leaks from oil filter. Oil leaks only after starting car in morning. PCV valve?
ANSWER : Hi There,
It sounds like you may need to replace the oil cap o-ring. If you haven’t done this before there are two O-rings to replace; a small green one on the base of the filter cap stem and the large black one that seals the filter cap (which seems to be the one you are having issues with). The large O-ring sits in a small square-shaped groove that is at the base of the oil filter cap. It is very easy to not properly seat the large O-ring because the threads for the oil cap are quite large and will accept the O-ring if you are not careful. I would suggest having a professional from YourMechanic come to your location to take a look at your vehicle.

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Oil still leaking after I changed oil filter
ANSWER : Unless there is an imperfection (e.g., serious pitting or irregularities) on the engine mounting base for the filter gasket, the leak is probably not at the filter. There are other adjacent potential leak spots such as the oil pan gasket, oil pressure sending unit and so forth. If the leak is significant at all, merely thoroughly cleaning the suspect area and running the engine while looking for the leak should be sufficient. If you still can’t find the leak origin, a UV visible dye can be added to the engine oil which will then make the leak point visible using a detection light. If you want these steps performed by a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, please request an oil leak diagnostic and the responding certified mechanic will get this taken care of for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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My car is leaking oil i got an oil change for it last month but it is still leaking oil what will cause my car to leak oil ?
ANSWER : Most older cars have oil leaks. Sealing technology has just not kept up with mechanical improvements to engines so much so that leaks often kill engines rather than mechanical problems. So, it is not unexpected at all to have an, indeed many, oil leaks on a 23 year old car. Oil leaks vary hugely in terms of severity and priority of repair. Oil leaking onto a hot engine manifold is the worst case (the oil can start a fire; at best, you are left breathing oil fumes in the cabin, as the oil burns off of the manifold) while de minimus seepage of oil at the oil drain plug or oil pan gasket, while annoying and messy, if limited enough is not an emergency. Some leaks are easy to repair, while others literally require the engine to be removed just to get physical access to all the leak points. In your circumstance, if you smell burning oil, oil is probably leaking onto a hot engine part such as the exhaust manifold. A certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, can perform an oil leak diagnostic and then let you know of your repair options and costs.

As far as the check engine light, that is not related to the oil leak(s). If you request a check engine light diagnostic, a certified mechanic from YourMechanic would use a code scanner to retrieve the specific diagnostic trouble code(s) from your car’s PCM that have caused the check engine light to illuminate. Using those codes, the appropriate individual vehicle components or sub-systems (often a sensor, circuit, and the like) are then carefully tested, based on specifications set forth in your car’s Factory Service Manual, to pinpoint the cause of the fault or the reason why the check engine light has illuminated. Once the faulty part or component is identified, it is explained to your satisfaction and the mechanic will let you know of the cost to repair. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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Stop car check oil warning
ANSWER : This light will usually come on when one of two things are happening. Either the motor is in fact low on oil or the oil pressure sending unit is not working properly and may be producing a faulty reading. I would recommend first, to check the actual oil level in the motor by using the dipstick. Be sure the oil level reaches the "full" mark. If this registers as "full" then you likely have a faulty oil pressure sending unit. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to take a look at your vehicle to determine what may be causing your low oil pressure light to come on.

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Low oil pressure light comes on when idle. Check engine light is on as well. Both came on after getting an oil change 3 days ago.
ANSWER : It is possible that they put in the wrong viscosity oil. In rare instances, a defective filter will also cause low pressure. If there is too much oil, it will aerate and cause low pressure. Be sure the oil level is really not above "max". The P2187 code will appear if the oil fill cap is not tight but it will also appear due to a myriad of causes because that code only "generally" identifies a lean running condition. Consequently, numerous parts would have to be tested including the O2 sensor, gas cap seal, manifold air leaks, any vacuum leak anywhere including PCV and EVAP systems, exhaust leaks, and fuel system faults such as failing fuel pump, clogged filter and more. Since the car has relatively low mileage, you would not expect a failed oil pump, although the pressure sensor (or switch) could be bad. However, the occurrence of the oil pressure warning light is quite coincidental to the oil change, thus I would suggest bringing the car back and asking them to redo with a new filter and double check the viscosity of the new oil that they use. If the problem persists after that, you will have to test actual operating oil pressure (at idle for instance) as well as the oil pressure switch. Finally, if the oil pressure warning light comes on continuously, unless the warning circuit itself is malfunctioning, that means the oil pressure is too low to operate the engine without damaging it. Anytime the light comes on for more than literally an instant, you should shut down the car and thus an issue like this obviously has to be repaired.

If you’d like, a YourMechanic certified mechanic can come to your home or place of business to inspect the vehicle and perform an oil pressure light is on inspection to diagnose the vehicle and suggest potential repairs.

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