Change Oil or Not? Sparkly!

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Jan 31, 2006
High Desert, California
Ok, I have GC Gold in my vehicle. It is almost a 3,000 OCI. So, today I decided to put some dipstick oil drippings on a white card. After letting them dry up I noticed the oil had little glittery shiney metal particles all over in it.

Just to make sure I wasn't making all this up I had several people look at it and they confirmed the shiney reflections under the light.

Should I change my oil and do a UOA or is this perfectly normal?

Here is my 1,771 mile test UOA with GC Gold (last fill):;f=3;t=003296#000000
More Information:

I am able to rub off the glittery metal slivers onto my finger. So these are not part of the paper. I took 3 oil drippings and each one has metal slivers in it (super small).
OIC and test. You have enough GC to spare
and can save the dump oil until you get your analysis back on it. Only out of pocket cost is the $20 for the test since you already filled the garage with GC.
Changing my oil right now...

Being the dumbrr that I am... I pulled the drain plug and forgot to have the BlackStone sample nearby. L O L

So, I ran back got the oil sample bottle to find a thin stream of oil pouring out. Managed to fill the bottle maybe a centemeter. !!!!

The drain collector from Wal-Mart held my last 1,771 OCI fill of GC Gold. I just emptied that and let my current fill of GC Gold go in there.

Would it be ok to dump some of that into the Blackstone bottle or is that too contaminated?
Well, you got the dregs - just what'll skew the sample completely useless even if there is enough to run the tests. I agree with SMILEY, anyway.

Originally posted by SMILEY:
Sounds like your motor is toast. I hope Im wrong...

My car toast?! But it can't!!! I bought it with 6k miles on it. Baby'ed it all the time. Only raced it 2-3 times in its life! The car has 34,767 miles on it. I've ALWAYS changed the oil on time (Never had a synthetic in it more than 5k). Used synthetic ever since 15,000 miles... I wash/vaccume/tire shine my car every week! I wax it once or twice a month! I even keep the air filter clean - vaccume the box out every 5k.

Is this glitter because of my new driving? I've started to take it to work - 110 miles one way - which includes mountains (5 minutes of 87% engine load). Is this why I see the glitter?

I've never done this much driving with this car. Had it up till 28,000 in Iowa doing 55mph on flat tops... So maybe it isn't used to going 70mph on California Freeways going up and down mountains?

This glitter wouldn't have anything to do with a K&N air filter would it??? I've changed that out and am now using STP paper filter & a Wix oil filter (before used STP oil filter).
Ok guys - with the 3 oil dipstick drippings - They arn't much bigger than a penny ok?

Inside each dripping there are maybe 2-3 shiney slivers - the size of paper threads. Almost looks like a spec of dust or a really really small hair.
What's GMs drivetrain warranty back for 2002?
I'd call a nearby test lab to see if that's enough oil on your drips to test. I've done the same thing once or twice. Just use the diagnosis tools avaliable.

Otherwise I'd test the oil you drained for your sample if more than 1/2 of the container was your last drain. You can shake it up and use the old sample UOA and figure out what's new in this mixed sample using volume ratios. I'd quess you have smaller metals in the oil that can be test determined if you have visible metal.

You still want to know what it is to decide if it's valve train related or bottom end. You could test the slivers even with any nearby lab.
I'd have to look around but copper is usually top and tin, lead bottom.

I doubt if any driving , K&N filter has anything to do with it given your care level.

Have you tried a stethscope or tube to listen for unusual top end sound.

Originally posted by OriginHacker21:
...I decided to put some dipstick oil drippings on a white card. After letting them dry up I noticed the oil had little glittery shiney metal particles all over in it... (at 4:25 P.M. today)


...Inside each dripping there are maybe 2-3 shiney slivers - the size of paper threads... (at 5:38 P.M. today)

I have the oil in the BlackStone oil sample. Will send it in Monday and let everyone know the results.

I will take pictures of the oil filter to look for these "slivers" with flash and what not.

Thank you all for providing information and helping out
As you can tell, I freaked out pretty badly.

At least I can sleep tonight knowing I got fresh oil in.
Talked to a few mechanics. They said this should be normal. Still, I'm glad I changed the oil. Will report the UOA ASAP I get it back from BlackStone. (Sometime next week).

What I can't understand is - having a near perfect UOA on the OCI before this w/ same oil. Maybe my car doesn't like GC 0w30??? Sure sounds good. I guess only the UOA will tell.

Can't see much on the oil filter - still wet. Will take some pictures.
Maybe it's the GOLD particles the elves used when they made the German Castrol "Gold"??? Just kidding.

I think you are describing a normal condition. Your car is still "low mileage" and there will invariably be some very small break-in particles here and there. Nothing to worry about. Sleep easy.
Thanks guys!

I understand that if I had a significant amount of bigger metal particles in my oil then it would be bad.

From what I've researched online, calling friends who are mechanics, and from what you've guys have told me - this should be normal.
Still interested in what the UOA will show.

AstroVic - I think the Elves decided to bestow shiney golden particles in my engine. I've been blessed~!
The UOA will not necesarily show you anything. You really need a good sample from the middle of the stream, and what you see will not be seen in the lab.
Lab tests show particles up to about 8 microns. a human hair is about 70 microns.
Look back at driving techniques, oil pressure (is it decreaseing), etc. Look at a good sample next time, watch oil consumption changes.

The 110 miles are good miles, not hard on the oil. Nor are the mountains necesarily bad. my last UOA on my Toyota pickup had 1 ppm of iron in 6200 km, that includes two full thottle mountain climbs daily.
In my opinion, the K&N filters could cause it. I've seen engines die from them (on a dirt race course). I stick with factory paper on most of my vehicles and a cyclone separator with a venturi succion from the exhaust with a paper/wool dual filter on those that live in dust.
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