checking oil level (engine warm or cold, after a start or not)

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by piclistguy, Oct 20, 2007.

  1. piclistguy

    piclistguy Guest

    I have a 97 Accord. The level on the dipstick reads differently if I
    check the oil in the morning when the engine is cold, then when its
    Is it best to read the dipstick cold or when the engine is warm after
    driving?. If I read it cold, should I start and stop it first to
    distribute the oil a bit? Thanks
    piclistguy, Oct 20, 2007
  2. piclistguy

    Mike Walsh Guest

    Do what Honda recommends to get the most accurate reading. If you start it and then shut it off while cold you will get a much lower reading. Otherwise the reading should not vary too much and you shouldn't have any trouble keeping between the add and full line no matter when you check it. I have always checked the oil in my vehicles in the morning because the readings are more consistent.
    Mike Walsh, Oct 20, 2007
  3. piclistguy

    Tegger Guest

    wrote in

    The dipstick measures the oil that's in the oil pan. If you start the
    engine then shut it off, you take oil out of the pan and pump it around the
    engine. It will take a bit of time to fully drip back into the pan again,
    so your dipstick reading will be falsely low.

    If all you're doing is making sure the pan's oil level isn't too low, you
    can check at any time, cold or hot. If the engine's been running, give the
    oil a minute or so to drip back down into the pan before checking. And make
    sure you check a couple of times (wiping the stick clean each time) and
    seat the dipstick fully between checks.

    If your car uses oil and you're using oil level checks as a precise study
    of your car's oil consumption, then that's a /whole/ different ballgame.
    Tegger, Oct 20, 2007
  4. A precision reading is not important. You don't need to know if you
    are 0.27 quarts low. If you get around a quart low, add oil. The
    difference between checking warm or cold is not enough to get too
    excited about.

    Changing oil is something else- I think changing while oil is hot is a
    better change.
    Don Stauffer in Minnesota, Oct 20, 2007
  5. piclistguy

    jim beam Guest

    97's? depends where you are dude - maybe in the rust belt, but not
    here in ca. not unless it's irreparably smashed.
    jim beam, Oct 20, 2007
  6. piclistguy

    motsco_ Guest


    For a '97, there's plentiful owner's manuals at the wrecking yard.
    You'll pay about 1/3rd of the Honda dealer's price. Meantime, you can
    check what the manual says here:

    It's good you're checking your oil.

    motsco_, Oct 20, 2007
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