Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Dumb move - paint chip in oil during oil change

Doing an oil change as I’ve done the past 30+ years. This time I noticed that the washer for the oil plug bolt was in my plastic multi purpose oil waste pan when I was draining the old oil into the waste container. No problem-- I’ll just drain the new oil out add the washer to the bolt and refill the oil. What I didn’t realize was that there was a dried latex oil chip about 3/4 x 1/8 inch in the pan. It worked loose from the old warm oil. When refilling the new oil a 2nd time it flowed out into the motor thru the filler pan.
So the possibilities are:

  1. It will sit at the bottom of the oil pan and flow out during the next oil change. (good)
  2. It will be caught by the oil filter and sit in the filter clogging it up a little bit. (no harm done).
  3. It will be burnt up by engine heat – no harm
  4. It won’t be caught, won’t burn up, and be caught somewhere important in the engine – ruining it — very very bad.

Which is the likely scenerio? Any of the above or something completely different? Should I redrain the oil and see if it comes out? The chip is small I don’t know if that would work.

I haven’t driven the car except to get it off the ramp and we’re leaving on vacation tomorrow of course. Thanks for the thoughts.

I wouldn’t worry about it.

Whatever went into the engine will eventually end up in the oil pan. So it’ll either sit at the bottom of the oil pan, or the oil pump pick-up screen will prevent it from being ingested into the engine.



Thanks – I hope so. I was concerned about it ruining the engine someway.

I never really paid much attention to Willie Nelson until I bought a CD for road trips. He’s getting older and I’m getting older. I really enjoy one song in particular, especially for an event like this…

And I could cry for the time I’ve wasted
But that’s a waste of time and tears
And I know just what I’d change
If went back in time somehow
But there’s nothing I can do about it now.
Nothing I Can Do About It Now
song lyrics by Willie Nelson

If it’s just a thin dried latex paint chip, me, I wouldn’t worry about it. One suggestion however for future diy’er oil changes, line the catch pan with a disposable plastic garbage bag liner. Then you don’t have to worry about what’s at the bottom of the pan, it’ll always be clean, and no need to spend time cleaning the pan afterward. Just pop the old filter into the bag and toss the plastic bag in the garbage and you are done.

You could put a similar paint chip in 220° oil and see what happens to it. Might melt.

1 Like