Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

changed oil but not showing up on dipstick

I just changed my oil (2001 Montero Sport 3.0L) and added 4.5 quarts and only the tip of the dipstick is showing oil. No oil light is on and it seems to running fine. I made an appointment with the dealer but should I tell them that I think it is due to the oil sitting in my valve area and not draining out or is there a problem with the oil pump? Or maybe I just cannot read the level on the dipstick...hmmmm.



Thanks
«1

Comments

  • edited February 2009
    The first thing to do is to NOT START this engine until there is sufficient oil showing on the dipstick!

    Even if there was excessive sludge in the area of the valve covers, after an hour or two, most of the oil should drain back into the crankcase. And, a bad oil pump would not prevent the oil from coming to the correct level on the dipstick.

    Since we don't know your level of expertise in these matters, it is necessary to ask some potentially insulting questions, such as--Are you sure that you added the motor oil to the engine? Is it possible that you put the motor oil into the transmission by mistake? In fact, that is the type of mistake that amateurs (that includes the staff at Jiffy Lube) have been known to do, and in the process, they wind up destroying the engine and seriously damaging the transmission.

    So--please humor me by checking the transmisson dipstick also. If the color and the level of the fluid on that dipstick is normal, then you can rule out the possibility of having put the motor oil into the transmission.

    But, in any event, do not start this engine again until you have a normal level of oil showing on its dipstick. And, I'm sure that some other members of this board will have other suggestions that will be helpful.

  • edited February 2009
    Is 4.5 Quarts The Oil Change Refill Capacity With Filter Change As Specified For Your Engine?

    I assume that you are using the owner's manual. You've done this before without incident? The stick is seating in all the way? The oil did go into the engine?

    How much space is there from the bottom of the dipstick where you're seeing oil and the "cross-hatch" or "oil full" range on the stick. Is the bottom end of the stick right at the end of the very beginning of the "oil full" range? You could try adding just a few more ounces of oil (but not more than say 8) just to see if it is coming up on the stick any.

    This is not ordinary. Personally, I wouldn't run it until I got to the bottom of this mystery. There is no serious damage yet, why create some?
  • edited February 2009
    One other thing that I would mention is that fresh new oil is often very hard to see on the dipstick. When you pull the stick you can often tell that there is oil on the tip because all of the oil on the stick migrates downward (as soon as you start removing the stick) so that a droplet gathers on the tip.

    When I have just changed my oil I immediately turn the stick sideways (to get the oil to run across the stick rather than down it) and depending on the lighting it often takes some twisting & turning in the light to find the actual level. Many dipsticks have little holes in them along the hashmarks at the bottom. The oil has enough surface tension to span the holes and that makes it easier to see.

    So maybe you have enough oil, but find it hard to see on the stick. Either way, you must also follow VDC's advice and make sure that you put the oil in the right place and that its level is adequate before driving.
  • edited February 2009
    That's Very Good Advice. Indy Roberts Says, "I just changed my oil ..."

    Try letting the car sit for an hour or two, especially if it had a warmed-up engine prior to changing oil. Then try reading the stick. Some vehicles can be very "temperamental" in this regard. Also if the dipstick is warm, wave it around to cool it down before you check. Feel it with your hand and be sure it's cool. Oil adheres better to a cold stick.
  • edited February 2009
    No insult taken VDCdriver, I did make sure I added the oil via the correct spot. I also waited to 2hrs before checking it this morning and still no change on the dipstick. I ended up taking it to the dealer...still no oil light on. I told the dealer what was going on and asked if they could take me back to work. I waited 5min and they took me back to work in my own truck. Before we left I expressed my concern using my truck and they said it should not be an issue...yeah right! I will update all once I learn of what the issue is. Thanks for all the responses!
  • edited February 2009
    Some containers of oil are "short" . . . not full quarts. If your Montero requires 4 1/2 quarts and you only added 4 due to a shortage in the lot you purchased, you could be 1/2 quart down . . . which may be the marking area on the dipstick. I'd let it sit 'till it was drained down completely, then re-check it and fill to capacity. Check it every day for a week . . . and then post back if it still shows short. Rocketman
  • edited February 2009
    Oh! Montero Is A Truck! Who Makes It? I Thought It Was Some Kind Of Mercury.
  • edited February 2009
    Thanks. Sorry, We Have None Around Here. Aren't Those The Folks Who Built The "Zero" During WW2?
  • edited February 2009
    The dealer doesn't want to be bothered (of course, the service writer won't actually say so).
    Take your vehicle to an independent shop. Suggest they put an oil pressure gauge on it, rev the engine, and watch the oil pressure a few minuets. The ears (use, thereof, to detect sounds) will tell a mechanic if the hydraulic lifters are pumping up. The lifters get noisy when oil pressure/supply gets too low.
This discussion has been closed.