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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all.

How might I find metal shavings, if any, in my used oil?

2011 WRX Premium. I have what I believe to be a spun bearing. When I first heard the knock, I changed the oil and filter, started the engine, still heard the knock and had the car towed to a dealer.

I'd like to check for shavings in my used oil. When I check it out using a bright flashlight, I see no obvious metal flakes. Unfortunately I no longer have the old filter. I also dragged a magnet thru the old oil and it came up clean. Of course this doesn't eliminate the possibility of non-ferrous material.

What can I try next?
 

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Usually it's trapped in the bottom of the pan, or the oil filter.

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Not much to do now. The sample is contaminated and I doubt a lab analysis would be informative. Wait and see.
 

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Yes the oil is contaminated, but how much would that matter in this case? If it was a bearing, an analysis would still show massive bearing metal in it vs whatever his magnet was made of and whatever other dust got into it. If it were me I would send a sample to an analysis lab and see what you get back there. No harm except the small cost. I agree with sd-gr that it is contaminated but I think "if" it were a bad bearing, and oil analysis would still show that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Not sure I understand the answers thus far. I'm asking what I can do to determine if there is metal in my oil. I'm not really inclined to send a sample to a lab.

It's going to be awhile before the dealer can do a teardown. I hate the suspense.

I've tried shining a flashlight into the used oil bucket, and tried using a magnet to attract metal particles from the oil. Neither test was conclusive.
 

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I just told you the vast majority will be in the pan and filter.

Oil analysis companies can tell you if there is metal in it without you seeing it. Many times a bearing will be dead and you won't see bearing material in the oil visually

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^^ this. When parts (including bearings) go, they rarely break apart in big chunks. They wear away like something sanded them down into tiny particles.
 

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Those will work alright however they can drag chips into the drain plug hole and cause galling if you don't clean them. So if you decide on that route be sure to have a small bore brush to clean them out.

As mentioned earlier metal particles can look and feel like sand. So if you are looking for bright metallic bits you may not find any.

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Exactly..it will deposit onto the mag, and you need to clean it off diligently every oil change...

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