Trust the dipstick or amount of oil added?

Just changed oil on my new to me, used 2006 Honda Ridgeline. Honda says the oil capacity is 4.5 qts. I added 4.5 qts of Mobil One 5-20 and after running it, the dipstick shows that it’s a half quart low. Do I trust the dipstick or trust the amount added? Thanks.

First, a half quart is about the right amount to fill a new oil filter. Does Honda’s figure include an empty filter. Some owner manuals will make this clear.

Second, don’t worry. Just drive it and add oil when it gets to the add line/hole. I used to drive a car with a fraction quart fill requirement. I never filled it all the way when it was time for a change.

I have seen customers come unglued over this, even when you assure them you have put the amount of oil Tech Assistance says to put in the car. Customers want that oil level perfect on that stick.

Up and down with the car on the rack. Take a little out put a little in.

The incident that comes to mind was a parts room employee at the dealship whos mommy bought him a e-46 M3. He did not know much but he knew that oil level must be exact on that stick.

Let me ask this. What would you do if you hadn’t changed the oil, but just checked the level?


Go with the mark, you’ll do that for the rest of the life of the Ridgeline.

Every car I’ve ever owned & changed oil on has been exactly like that - i.e. the spec is 1/2 quart or so short. On cars where it leaks or burns some I always added the extra half qt. Otherwise I’d just check it @ fill-ups.

Trust the dipstick - just keep it between the marks.

If the car is on the level, been “off” for 5 or more minutes then trust the dipstick. You don’t want to overfill it.

That was one of the main reasons of the change. The oil only had a couple hundred miles on it but it showed overfull on the dipstick. I also wanted to start using synthetic.

Thanks everyone for your interest and replies. Since I posted the question, I have added another quarter quart (4.75 qt total) and the dipstick shows perfectly full. I think I’ll use this figure in the future. Thanks again.

The dipstick is saying it is low, if it is not really low he just did what you cautioned him not to.

 Well since anything between the top and bottom mark is OK then half way up is just fine.  The top mark is NOT the "proper" mark.  Proper is anything between the top and bottom mark. 

  [b] Being over filled is just as bad if not worse than being under filled. [/b]

My interpretation of 1/2 quart low (from the OP post) is the dipstick shows 1/2 between the marks. I didn’t tell the OP to add oil. I said to trust the dipstick. It is possible to add oil in increments of less than a quart if that’s what the OP decides to do.

Try getting the pubic to believe that it is OK when their fresh oil change does not show exactly full.

Why do they come to believe that upper mark is the full mark in the first place? Are the owner’s manuals partially to blame? I’ve seen some that had verbiage to the effect; the lower line is the add oil line, the upper line is the full indicator. As you well know, the two marks are really the minimum and maximum fill indicators. Perhaps if it was explained in that way, they would come to realize it does not have to be at the upper mark in order to be acceptable. Then again… :wink:

"Let me ask this. What would you do if you hadn’t changed the oil, but just checked the level? "

Was that aimed at me? If so, the answer is, it depends on how much oil they charged me for.

At least they are checking their oil!

Your not making sense your inital post says you changed your oil and added the amount that Honda says. Then you say that the dipstick showed LOW with this 4.5qt amount. In your response to Tester you say "the oil had only had a couple hundred miles on it but showed OVERFULL on the dipstick.

I think what Tester was getting at is that if a routine oil check showed a half quart low (I don’t know how you could tell that the line that the oil created on the stick meant one half quart but thats not important) you would not have taken any action.

It was when a oil change and refill indicated a half quart low that you became concerned.

I still say fill it with the amount Honda says and use the stick as reference. Honda knows to take into account the filters capacity when fiquring this number.