Subaru Dipstick Reading Confusion

I have 93 Subaru Wagon (Turbo), with a few oil leaks. Hence, I check my oil often. But something odd happens: If car is cold, the dipstick never shows any oil. If I let the car warm up (drive a few blocks), it would usually show oil (sometimes low, of course, but it would at least register!). Now, the dipstick doesn’t show any oil even if it’s warmed up!

I’m used to having to add some oil every now and then, but now all of a sudden I add a whole quart of oil and nothing registers on the dipstick. I can’t see any more than the usual spots on the ground either. So I’m worried about overfilling the oil, but I have no idea if there could be something causing the dipstick to not register my oil level correctly. If there was clacking noise (other than at start up, I would think there was not enough oil, but the engine sounds ok). Any ideas?

Thank you.

I think you aren’t filling it as fast as the engine is losing it. Keep it up and you’ll have a boat anchor where your engine used to be.

Change the oil and filter, putting in the amount of oil specified in the owner’s manual. Then see how the dipstick reads.

The oil may not be draining down through the block when it’s cold. The oil could be puddled under the valve covers, and in the engine block. You might be using the wrong weight oil (too heavy). If you are using an oil thickener, that could be your problem. Use a 0W-30 or a 10W- 30 motor oil …depending on the outside temperatures. Change that oil. When you put the motor oil in, listen carefully for the sound of the motor dripping through the engine block and the sound of it dripping into the sump pan. Seconds after you have put 4 1/2 quarts of motor oil into the engine, pull the dip stick and read it. Read the dipstick a few minuets later. Both times should read the same. If not, seek a good mechanic because there may be a (partial) blockage in the engine oil drain passages…

When you check the motor warm are you wiping off the dipstick putting it back in the engine then pulling out and reading it?
I am going to assume not. When an engine sits and gets cold all most of the oil drains into the pan. If it is 2 quarts or more low it will not show on the stick. Once the engine is started the oil in the pan splashes around and will get on the dipstick. This is why you need to wipe the stick and recheck after running the engine.
You need to fill the motor with oil. To the full mark on the dipstick before you trash your motor.

There’s one possibility I can think of aside from the engine losing oil faster than you’re adding it - it’s possible there’s a hole in the dipstick tube, and the stick is going out the hole, instead of into the oil in the oil pan. My uncle rented a U-Haul with a hole in the dipstick tube - added about 4 quarts of oil to an (unbeknownst) full oil pan… apparently the truck had it’s own smoke screen afterwards.

Since it’s a TURBO engine, be absolutely sure to use motor oil for turbo-charged engines. Don’t skimp on the oil!