Grit in cylinder head

I was topping up my oil and water etc and i put the oil down on the rocker cover, when i put it away i noticed grit on the bottom of the container, i believe a few bits of grit may have entered the cylinder head, will they run out ar should i take action? it is only a few grains

Do you mean you had sediment in the oil bottle? Not common, but not unheard of either. It’s usually additives that either fell out of solution or were not properly blended at the producer level. They should go into suspension after a heating cycle or two.

If you’re talking about some foreign contaminant that got into some decanter that you use for bulk oil, that could be a different story. I’d tend to think that if the particles are in the visible range that they would sink out in the sump too. These can play some havoc for a bit, but I don’t think that it would truly shorten the life of your engine. I knew someone who had a ripped vent hose on the PCV system and drove a few months through a construction zone. The airborne abrasives found their way into his bearings. Used oil analysis showed lots of lead (Pb), but it eventually went down to normal.

Gary, The Way I Interpret It Is That Only A “Few” Grains Of “Grit” (Dirt / Sand) “May Have” Fallen Off The Bottom Of The Oil Bottle And Entered The Open Filler Cap On The Valve Cover.

Ah, I see what you’re saying. “On the bottom” not “In the bottom”.

A grain of grit, such as a particle of granit can cause a good deal of damage. finding it and getting it out of your engine is another matter. It cant hurt to go get an oil change and hope that the grit was heavy enough to fall to the bottom of the pan. Otherwise I’d say, keep your fingers crossed.

Ignoramus 9, What You Say Sounds Logical, And I’m Not Saying You’re Incorrect, But Have You Noticed That Not Many People Gave An Opinion On This Issue, Including Me ?

Do you base your answer on any particular research or experience ? You say “A grain of grit, such as a particle of granit can cause a good deal of damage.” That sounds right, but I wonder if this theory has ever been tested by anyone.

I’m not doubting you, just wondering if there’s proof.

Anybody with proof out there ?


That’s what oil filters are for.

The hot oil coming off the valve gear will likely wash it down to the oil pan, where it wll settle on the bottom. Agree that after letting the engine warm up and drive a short distance, I would have the oil and filter changed, and again after 1000 miles.

Years ago I lived on a farm and a local farmer had driven his pickup for a whole yaer without an oil filler cap on dusty roads, etc. I had trouble persuading him that these things are necessary. The truck still ran OK, but problably would not get to 300,000 miles that way.

I’m with Doc on this. The oil you pour into the fill hole drains to the oil pan through the return passages used by the valvetrain oil. They’ll get washed down and since they’re heavier than oil they’ll settle to the bottom of the pan. Since the sump pickup is above the bottom they’re unlikely to get picked up, and if they do the filter will catch them. If they don’t get picked up and caught by the filter they’ll wash out with the next oil change.

I’m With Caddyman, Doc, And Mountain Bike. I’ve Got Several Cars With Oil Fill Caps That Have O-Rings To Keep Oil In And Dirt Out.

However, invariably when I pull the cap off there is grit or sand right on the o-ring. Occasionally, some of it gets disturbed and gets on the business side of the cap and o-ring. I take great pains to clean it so that the sand doesn’t get into the valve cover. I don’t even live on a dirt road and never drive on one. My engines stay visibly very clean.

There has to be lots of folks who have sand on their filler caps and oil fill neck who don’t even notice it, care, or clean it off before putting it back. Picture a sixteen-year-old at “Quick As Greased Lightening Discount Lube”. (These are people that sometimes don’t even put oil in after draining it).

I’ll bet they get more dirt on oil filters by touching them to something on the way in or by not cleaning disturbed dirt from the engine’s filter flange than they do near the filler. Some of the oil goes right into the filter, but some pumps into the engine.

Dirt in your engine is never a good idea, but I’m thinking that if a couple of grains of grit were going to blow an engine then the filler neck / cap would be designed differently.

I wish they were designed with a little more thought. I’m curious. Anybody with a design that keeps dust / dirt away from that area ?


Perhaps a coffee filter in the fill hole?

Seriously, I’m not sure such a design is necessary. The oil filter and the protocol of draining the oil out the drain hole with every change is quite adequate. 40 years of never having experienced any related engine problem as well as never having hear of a related problem is the evidence I offer.

One point: this discussion of how dirt gets prevented from causing engine damage is good reason to suggest not using those pumps that pull the oil out the fill tube when doing oil changes. I’ve never used one, as I believe in draining the pan, but I’ve read of people that do.