After I changed the oil on a 2007 Toyota Camry I found debris in the bottom of the used oil container. I used a magnet to test and found the debris to be non-metal. Considering the car age is this normal and what could the debris be in the oil?


After more than 6 months, the car is working well.

RoverDriver's answer is realistic.

Here is few more data about the experiment:

  • Camry 2007 4 cylinder has a known issue with burning oil
  • The oil change was way overdue and there was little oil left in the engine
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    An image of the debris would help tremendously. Also, just because it's not magnetic does not mean it isn't metal. The rod/cam/main bearings all will have non-ferrous metals in them which will not be attracted by a magnet. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Mar 28 '16 at 14:53
  • Unfortunately, I did not take a picture, I should have. – Allan Xu Mar 28 '16 at 16:04
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    One of the things I've found in oil pans is the foil seal from the quart containers. – mikes Mar 28 '16 at 21:59
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    perhaps just oil change debris. It doesn't need to be specific. – DucatiKiller Apr 5 '16 at 16:28
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    Is this an old oil drain pan? Could just be dirt that has collected in the pan. – user17468 May 20 '16 at 20:25

Debris in the bottom of an oil change pan is not out of the question, and unless present in a large quantity is likely not be catastrophic.

Sources of such material may be internal (timing chain slap pad on some engines can shed debris if older, for example) or external (simply garbage loosened when the drain plug is removed). On the internals I can't speak specifically to your 'Yota - haven't owned anything not English for decades.

I would not be concerned unless the debris is coppery or silvery. the ferrous test with a magnet is a good one, but for my own peace of mind I'd dry off the debris on a paper towel and have a good look at it.

In short, if it's running well don't obsess, but do clean the pan and look closely on the next change.

  • Indeed, finding debris means that the time had come to change the oil. – Steve Matthews Nov 2 '16 at 13:30

Could be bits of melted gasket. I drive a 2002 toyota and haven't found any debris yet. So a 2007 is out of questions.

I advise doing an engine flush and see if more debris have come out. If yes, check your engine's gasket..

Hope this helps

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