Plastic fell down oil dipstick tube


#1

So the plastic pieces that hold the knob to the metal rod on my oil dipstick broke off and fell down into the engine. My question is - what will be the consequences of this, what should I be worried about and/or looking for in terms of problems caused by this - and is there anything to do about it other than just wait and hope?

Would the plastic get crushed and pulverized and be no problem? Or would it cause major damage to things inside the engine as it gets tossed around in the oil? Anyone have any ideas?


#2

Just to be safe, I think you should drain and refill the oil before starting the engine, and look for the plastic piece(s) in your old oil. If you don’t find the plastic in your old oil, run it through some kind of strainer and run it through the engine again. If it is small enough to fit through your dip stick tube, it should be small enough to come out when you drain the oil.

If it was my car, I’d be worried a piece of hard plastic might harm a valve or the oil pump before it gets caught in the oil filter.


#3

In theory the oil pump pickup screen should block that piece of plastic from causing any problem.

In practice, it caused me a problem years ago. I had a Dodge with the slant 6 engine in it. A piece of plastic from a broken distributor gear broke off and fell into the crankcase. I replaced the plastic gear and thought nothing of it.

About a month later, I started the engine and the oil light came on and would not go off. When I looked into why, I found that piece of plastic wedged in the oil pump pressure relief valve.


#4

No. Unless I miss my guess, the plastic is lighter than the oil and will float on top of the oil pool. The oil can get hot, but nowhere near the melting point of the plastic, and the plastic is resistant to oil, so it should be safe.

Having said that, if it were mine I’d follow Whitey’s advice and drain it out. An oil change never hurts anyway.