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Old 06-16-2006, 08:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Correct way to check oil..

What is the correct way? Let the car sit overnight then check oil while the car is off? Run the car to operating temps then turn the car off and check the oil? Which one is the correct way and post some type of proof that its the correct way!

I've always down it when the car was cold. It just made more sense to me.
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Old 06-16-2006, 08:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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http://www.scoobymods.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2691
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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From that I gather the oil should be checked while cold. Reading Unabomber's FAQ on nasioc it says to check oil when the car is warm at operating temps. Other people seem to agree to this but I've never done this before.

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Old 06-16-2006, 10:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I believe you drain it at operating temps, but you check it when cold. If you try to check it just after its shut off, it won't show the correct oil level as it is still draining and mucking up the dipstick.
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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there is this too from the Forester SM
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Old 06-16-2006, 12:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That's it then.. Check when cold. Thanks Peaty..
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Old 06-18-2006, 12:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I like to check it cold first thing in the AM. I just remove the dipstick and read it. If it's been sitting all night then there is no need to wipe it then check.
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Old 06-18-2006, 02:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I also check it in the A.M. when cold- it just amazes me that the reading varies so much when parked nose-in vs. tail-in...and the garage barely pitches toward the street...seems to read higher (by ~1/2 qt.) when the car is pointing uphill.
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Old 06-18-2006, 07:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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During an oil change you're filling with and measuring cool oil, so I figure the oil should be cool when just checking it.
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Old 06-18-2006, 08:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan
During an oil change you're filling with and measuring cool oil, so I figure the oil should be cool when just checking it.
It's not the temperature of the oil that's the problem. It's that when the oil is hot it means that the engine has been running recently and some of the oil might not yet have settled back down in the oil pan, leading to an incorrect (low) reading on the dipstick.

That having been said, I don't have a flat place in my drive or on the street, and being parked flat is important. So I check my oil in the parking lot at the nearby Wal-Mart. It will still be pretty warm, even after 15 minutes of shopping, but I mentally factor that in and assume that the dipstick is reading low by a half a quart or so. As long as things stay in the range I'm OK. I'm not too fussy about exact oil level.
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Old 06-19-2006, 06:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I check my oil when it's cold also, but who the hell came up with the statement that you should check your oil at every gas fill-up? Sounds smart but it's wrong.
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:39 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Checking oil at every gas fill-up is something I learned back in the "old days" when cars typically used a lot more oil and gas tanks were bigger, but there is nothing wrong with it even today. It was just conservative good practice. I don't do it every time anymore, but while the gas tank is filling, it is easy to check under the hood for potential problems and check fluid levels.

Tom and Ray of Car Talk recommend the following:
"Yes, you need to check the oil level every few hundred miles. With your car parked on a level surface, remove the oil dipstick, clean it on your brother's best shirt and then reinsert it. Remove it again, and check the oil level." "http://cars.cartalk.com/content/advice/oilchanges.html
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:19 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retserof
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:49 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Most important part of checking the oil is the "checking" part. Do it regularly and consistently. When you check it make sure the level is between Low and Full and avoid over-filling (past the notch on dipstick.)
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:51 AM   #15 (permalink)
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If you have a pre MY06, check it often
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