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Tiny bubbles on oil dipstick?

Is this normal? They are super tiny. I checked it when the car was warm and running. I never seen this on my other car. Is this ok? I did put seafoam in the oil around 200 miles ago… 2004 Kia amanti

First of all, that is not how you check the oil. The best way is before you start the vehicle for the day. If checking when at the gas station wait until you finish filling so the oil can drain back to give a good reading.

Check it the proper way and see if you still have bubbles.

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I thought you were supposed to check while the car is running because it expands or something? Is this not true?

I just told you how to check the oil. Do a google search to verify that is correct. Expand or something, whoever told you that don’t ask them anything else.

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Another thing for you to think about. Why would checking the oil level while engine is running with turning fan blades and belts that could grab your hand or clothes and seriously injure you ever be a good idea.

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Please forgive VOLVO_V70 for those answers. He must be having a bad day.
There are many other real nice guys - and a nice lady, maybe several - responding on this forum.

No, You are not supposed to check the oil level with the engine running. You will not be able to get a steady readout from the dipstick in that situation because when the engine is running, the oil is getting thrown around in the engine.
Proper way to do it is either in the morning before You go to work (after the car being shut of for the night) or after refuelling so the oil has had time to settle down in the oil pan (give it at least 5 minutes to do so)
Expansion is not something for You to worry about unless You are driving a Freightliner with 10 gallons of oil in the engine.


You’re probably confused with checking transmission fluid. Most auto transmissions you have to check with the vehicle running in park or idle. Oil, just check with vehicle off.

Are you checking Engine Oil?
Are you checking Automatic Transmission Oil (fluid)?

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Checking engine oil level in cars is always done with the engine off, and at least a few minutes after it has been running.

Checking automatic trans fluid level can be more complicated. See your owners manual. IIRC it can involve a warmup drive, then stopping, then running the shift lever into each position for a while, then turning off the engine, or not, and waiting, or not. See the manual for your car.

Yes it’s the oil I’m not that ignorant but I will be sure to check oil before I start the car now

The owners manuals usually state to check the oil at normal operation temperature, 5 to 10 minutes after shutting off the engine.

With the engine warm thermal expansion is accounted for. After sitting over night there could be an abnormally high reading from the oil that has drained from the upper engine parts, you want an oil level reading that is close to operating conditions, not one of a parked vehicle.

Once you’re familiar with your oil use, you’ll have some idea of how you want to check it or not. Cold is safer but hot is OK. Dipsticks have a safe zone. If the oil isn’t near the bottom of that full zone I won’t bother adding oil. If I’m home and it’s convenient,I’ll wait for everything to cool off if I’m going to add oil. Checking hot or cold should cause no debate about how it should be done.

When do I check my oil? LOL applies here!

I should ask more questions. It took ten seconds to find the question mark.

Yes, I have seen this if you take the dipstick out immediately after shutting off the car.

Another thing to consider is Seafoam is more of a flush. I wouldn’t drive far at all with that in the crankcase. In fact I have been known to let it idle 10 minutes, let it sit overnight, let it idle 10 minutes, and then drain it out. I do notice the oil looks dirtier than normal even in engines where the oil have been changed on time, especially with conventional oil.

On the few occasions when I have used Seafoam in the oil, I drained it after ~30 minutes of running. It is not a lubricant, so leaving it in for–so far–200 miles was not a good idea on the part of the OP.

That was my thought exactly! This is a cleaner and not a lubricant. I left mine in overnight so it could soak on any deposits, fired it up once again to break anything loose, and then drained the oil for a routine oil/filter change.

Another thing is that I have seen some real horror stories from people who have used this in a severely neglected/sludged engine. Seafoam is a very good cleaner and breaks loose all the crud at once, plugging oil passages and causing serious harm.

A more gentle flush is Marvel Mystery Oil which I understand is basically kerosene. I have no issues running Seafoam in an engine that has been cared for but would pick MMO if there is an obvious sludge problem.