What's the best time of day to check oil?

I have a 2007 Toyota Tundra Crewmax cab 5.7 liter V8 what I would like to know is when is the proper time to check the oil I was always taught and rule of thumb was first thing in the morning when everything’s in the bottom of the pan could you please reply thank you

You were told the correct time. Side note: punctuation is allowed and encouraged.

Thank you for confirming Hell they covered that in small engine class anyways voice to text does not punctuate take a pill dude

There is a certain amount of oil that will drain from the cylinder heads, camshafts (4) and cam actuators over night, you don’t want to measure that oil. The oil that is in the oil pan after 12 hours of rest may not be the same as the amount of oil that is in the oil pan under normal operating conditions.

Follow the instructions in the owners manual;

With the engine at operating temperature
and turned off, check the oil level
on the dipstick.
1. To get a correct reading, the vehicle
should be on level ground. After turning
off the engine, wait a few minutes for
the oil to drain back into the bottom of
the engine.

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It does on most (if not all by now) devices, whether something like Dragon software on a computer or whichever mobile phone you happen to use. (Completed using voice to text with punctuation)

Then don’t use voice-to-text? Or go back and edit the dictation before you post it?

Sorry, I don’t normally jump on petty things like this, but it takes a certain arrogance to expect people to enjoy reading unformatted text, and then blame the tools for it. People here happily give out advice for free, but that becomes impossible if written communication breaks down across society.

Regarding dipsticks - don’t s eat it too much. Just be consistent. Always check it cold, or check it warm after fueling. Moot consistent and you’ll be able to track whether you’re losing oil or not.


Could it be that there’s some confusion among the uninitiated due to the necessity of checking transmission fluid when hot with the engine running? What is second nature to many of us is hocus pocus to a great many.

And I don’t take offense at the lack of punctuation, poor grammar, etc., as long as I can comprehend the post on the first reading. Of course I couldn’t post here without spell checker and needed to take Senior English in summer school to graduate high school.

Too many posts aren’t easy to comprehend. I (and probably others) usually just ignore those, which is unfortunate for the poster if we actually knew the answer.

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I understand that there could be a difference after the oil has completely drained from engine parts after several hours and possibly the difference is greater for certain engines, etcetera. I see where you’re coming from on that.

However, on my cars I have checked the oil stone cold on level ground and at operating temperature as per an Owner Manual and find no significant difference, whatsoever.

So, my answer would be to advise checking the oil both ways and if there is no significant difference then I would check it cold in the morning as I always do.

Here’s how I check and maintain oil level: I check every week, car cold, not operated yet for the day. Also, I don’t even remove the dipstick. I slowly raise the dipstick enough to read the level and then push it back into the tube. No mess, no trial, no reports to file. Takes seconds!

I’ve been doing this weekly, for over 50 years on over dozens of vehicles and it works. I’ve never run a car low on oil. I also realize some cars have poorly designed, messed up dipstick / dipstick tube arrangements and this might not work. In fact, I’ve seen some cars so messed up that oil can’t be checked accurately even if one follows the Owner Manual instructions. I’ve driven cars that can only be checked cold… period.

For me the simple, quick, neat method is best and most likely to encourage an owner / operator to check regularly. That’s the important thing… to check regularly and add make-up oil as needed. The objective is to not let the engine run low on oil and to not over-fill it also, between regular oil changes.
CSA :palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

I just got back home after an oil change. I checked the oil immediately, and it was a quart low. I waited 30 minutes and then it was full. At 15 minutes, it was still way low.

That’s why I recommend that experiment. My cars don’t do that. The readings remain very comparable. However, It seems that if the proper amount of oil was put in your car that the check it cold method would work just fine.
CSA :palm_tree::sunglasses::palm_tree:

I often check the oil when I fill the gas tank. I fill the tank, then clean the windshield, then check the oil. It may not be as accurate as checking the oil in the morning before the engine has been started, and I do this as well, but I have never detected any difference in reading the dipstick.
I think it is particularly valuable to check the oil when I am traveling and stop for gas. In the old days of carburetors, the oil was subjected to being diluted with unburned gas, particularly if the car had been driven in start and stop driving around town. It wasn’t unusual back then to have to add a quart at the first gas stop. With today’s fuel injection, this isn’t as common, but I am still in the habit of checking the oil at gas stops when I am traveling.

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My thought any time of day is a good time to check oil. Once it shows a quart low, sure wait till it is cold if you wish and check again, maybe you will only be down 1/2 quart, I am not sure on newer cars, but my bud always added an extra quart after an oil change and never hurt anything (former trucker).

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I remember at the age of 4 (1956) “helping” (actually observing) my Father check engine oil level (stone cold) and other common automotive checks weekly. It was a Saturday morning ritual. Due to his example plus instructions from his mechanic (my mentor) and my high school auto shop teacher I always check the oil cold (with the now very rare exception of a road trip when I check while re-fueling which is the only time I wipe the dipstick). I also pull the dipstick nearly out of the tube and check the level. No muss. No fuss and consistent accuracy. The excerpt from I assume the Toyota Tundra owner manual does state: “After turning off the engine, wait a few minutes for the oil to drain back into the bottom of the engine”. Why not wait overnight for all of the oil to drain back (of course only if the oil filter has no anti-drain back valve or is mounted vertically with the inlet/outlet on top).

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Best time to check oil is with a cold engine so you can’t get burned. You can check it at any time but I like a cold engine. An hour after shutting down is also good.


For folks who do insist on checking oil in a warm / hot engine (which I do while traveling long distance road-trips), a cool / cold dipstick works best. I’m sure people at gas stations think I’m nuts when they see me pull and wipe the dipstick and then proceed to wave it around through the air (subtly of course) for a moment until it feels cool to the touch.

Truth is that the engine oil “adheres” better to that cold stick. I suppose it’s arguable, but works for me. I’ve been behaving this way for decades.
CSA :palm_tree::sunglasses::palm_tree:

The only good reason I can think of for waiting until the engine is completely cold is that oil expands when hot. Maybe dipsticks should have a hot and cold level marked on them just like coolant reservoirs have a hot and cold level marks.
Oil doesn’t drain that slow, it ain’t molasses, especially if it’s hot.
If parking in the sun with a full gas tank can make my motorcycle’s gas tank overflow, imagine what happens to oil level when the oil is at 200 degrees.
Provided you allowed a few minutes for the oil to drain back, adding oil when the engine is hot guarantees that you won’t overfill the oil. Don’t overthink this, the sky doesn’t fall if the oil level is not perfect.

I agree with that statement completely and will add that I’d tend to err on the high side if I were to err. My main concern is to never let an engine run out of oil or starve for some. The best ways to achieve that goal are keeping it full and checking often.

Any vessel that contains fluids can leak at any time because of who knows what? Keep fluid levels up and check often so that if a leak ever does occur it can be caught in its infancy.
CSA :palm_tree: :sunglasses::palm_tree:

Overfilling the oil is harmless only up to a point. If the bottom of the crankshaft starts dipping into the oil, it can whip the oil into a foam and force it out into the breather, not to mention that the hydraulic drag will rob the engine of power.

If you are not sure whether to check it on a hot or cold engine, try it both ways. I expect there won’t be much difference on the dipstick, provided you allow 10 minutes or so on the hot engine after turning it off for the oil inside to drain into the pan. On my Corolla anyway there is very little difference. So I tend to check it when the engine is cold as there’s less of a chance of getting burned by touching something hot. When checking be sure to look at both sides of the dipstick. The lower of the two is what to use for the oil level.