What Causes Camshaft Pitting In 2022? [3 Reasons + Fixes]

You are already aware of the significant role that camshafts play in your engine. If they perform poorly, there will be a great deal of trouble. So, to fix it, you’d need to know what’s wrong with the camshafts.

Now, you’re thinking, what is the reason for camshaft pitting?

The most common reason for camshaft pitting is corrosion of the metal due to friction and nitric acid. This corrosion will happen in low-use engines too. On roller followers, microstructure decomposition occurs. And lastly, insufficient and improper use of oil results in pitied camshaft.

what causes camshaft pitting

It’s pretty simple really. But, if you’re still struggling to understand, we have prepared a full guide for you!

First, let’s look at what causes pitting on camshafts.


What are the Reasons for Camshaft Pitting?

Camshaft pitting is one of the signs of lobe damage in your camshaft. It’ll cause serious problems if you don’t fix it and prevent it for next time.

We have listed out three probable causes of camshaft pitting. Let’s take a look at them.

Reason 1- Corrosion of Metal:

Pitting on the lobes is most often caused by regular part wear from many working hours. Micropores form as a result of 3 body abrasive wear and fatigue stress created by plastic strain on the camshaft. Nitric Acid produced in the engine causes the accelerated corrosion.

In the first stage, micro-pits form, and eventually the pitted chunks of wear debris become visible on an ultrasonic wear analyzer (UOA) or an oil ferrograph. This will result in scuffing deformation that continues to run in the rotational direction.

Pitting is also quite common in low-use engines. Regardless of the oil used, corrosion and metal fatigue occur.

Ensure that you are utilizing a nitrous oxide system that is of a high quality and has been correctly designed. You need to make sure it fits properly and that you use it within the safe parameters set by the manufacturer.


Use Heavy Duty Engine Oils with the right viscosity to lessen the pitting. Even if your engine sees heavy usage, the latest HDEO will help keep it under control. We’d also suggest using HDEOs in engines that don’t get used very often.

Reason 2- Hertzian stresses on Roller Engines:

Your camshaft may be experiencing something that is referred to as “Hertzian stresses,” particularly if the vehicle uses roller followers. Microstructure decomposition is a novel phenomenon that emerges as a result of this.

The micro structure of the material is altered by the recurring cyclic stresses on the surface, increasing the likelihood of busting and raveling beneath the surface.


The most effective solution is to change the oil in the vehicle on a regular basis in order to clear out any debris that may be present in the system. Then, upgrade your air and oil filters. Additionally, using an oil with a higher viscosity will improve performance by one level.

Reason 3- Insufficient and Improper Lubrication:

Insufficient lubrication or fuel dilution cause camshaft pitting. Sand or other abrasive materials lodged between lobes will cause severe damage.

Damaged lobe can cause metal shavings to break off and float around in the engine. After draining the oil, you may find debris or metallic swirls that weren’t visible on the dipstick.


It sounds like you need to make regular oil changes.  When the problem has progressed to an advanced stage, it is prudent to rip open the oil filter at every OC and inspect it for debris. Oils of the accurate synthetic A3 or B3 viscosity should be used, and synthetic HDEO 5w-40 is the best choice for low-mileage engines.

How to Fix Camshaft Pitting?

Camshafts that have worn lobes can be refurbished. But you can do this to an extent. Some camshafts can experience more wear than others, at which point they may need to be rebuilt or replaced entirely.

So you’re wondering, how to fix a pitted camshaft?

First you should tape up both ends of the camshaft as a safety precaution. Then clean up the camshaft using a cloth. Then use a metal smoothing file to smoothen the aluminum pitted areas. Then use metal polish and a grinder to polish the lobes.

Sometimes, the way to fix something depends on how the engine is made and how the camshaft fits into the engine. That is why you should use the best camshaft for ram 1500.

Step BY Step Process To Refurbish A Pitted Camshaft!

Simple way to put new life into a worn camshaft is to refurbish it. In this way, you can get a few more miles without spending a lot of money.

Step 1- Damage Safety Precautions:

If the camshaft slides off the table and falls on the floor, it’ll be damaged. You don’t want your camshaft to slide off while working, do you? So, use some tape and paper towels on both ends of the camshaft.

Step 2- Clean up:

Take a cloth and clean your camshaft thoroughly. Sometimes the chunks stick to the lobe. You’ll see that the majority of the scuffings actually accumulate on the aluminum surface parts.

Step 3- Smooth the Pitted Spots:

Now, take a metal smoothing file. It doesn’t have to be a new or fine toothed one. Your aim is to remove the pitted aluminum and not score the steel.

Keep the camshaft in a flat surface and then use the file to cut down the aluminum. Don’t overdo it as you’d just need to take the aluminum off.

Alternatively, you can hold on to the file and roll your camshaft for better results. This will lessen the chances of having a flatspot on the camshaft.

Step 4- Polish the Journals:

In this step you’d have to use a grinding wheel with a buffing on it. Take some polishing compound on the newly smoothened surface and hold it beneath the grinding wheel.

Take your time and take turns to rotate the lobe on the wheel. Polish it enough that it doesn’t alter the lobes in any way.

If you aren’t satisfied with the polish, try using muriatic acid first. Leave the acid on the smoothened surface for 15 to 30 minutes. And then use metal polish and a grinding wheel.

After this, you’ll see that there are a few gouges here and there. Don’t be disheartened if it’s not perfect. You can still cover a few hundred miles with this refurbished camshaft.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a camshaft last?

Answer: Approximately 80,000 miles is the estimated lifespan of the camshaft seal. However, there are situations that will wear out early because of camshaft damage. Over time, the motor’s heat can cause the seal to become compromised.

Can I repair a broken camshaft?

Answer: Yes, you can but you’d have to rebuild it. If you’re an expert you can wield and refurbish the camshaft material. But it is better to replace it in the long run.

Wrapping Up

Now, you know everything that is to know about what causes camshaft pitting. The camshaft’s interplay with the engine’s other parts must be adeptly maintained because it is essential to the vehicle’s performance.

If the camshaft is broken, replacing it rather than repairing it may be the more cost-effective option. Still, substituting a camshaft is a labor-intensive job. You should take it to the mechanic.

Hurry up and fix your camshaft. Best of luck!