How To Read a Dipstick With Dots

How to Read Dipstick Dots

Knowing how to read a dipstick with dots is fundamental for maintaining a healthy and functional car engine.

A dipstick is a simple tool that helps you check your car’s engine oil level, which is essential to keep the engine running smoothly and prevent damage from low oil levels.

It consists of a long, thin metal or plastic rod with a series of dots or holes that indicate the engine's amount of oil.

Reading a dipstick with dots is easy and can save you from costly engine repairs.

In this guide, we'll review the steps involved in accurately reading a dipstick with dots and provide tips on maintaining your car's oil level for optimal performance.

Why Should You Check Your Oil Level?

One must check one's oil level to keep the car's motor operating correctly and avoid costly repairs. The car's motor needs oil to be lubricated and reduced friction to stop it from heating up.

When the oil level goes low, it can quickly damage the motor, leading to considerable expenses on repair or, worst, engine failure.

Regularly inspecting the oil level is the best way to guarantee that the motor runs correctly.

If the level goes low, the engine can experience suffering, like increased heat, decreased fuel efficiency, and, even worse, motor seizure.

On the other hand, if the level is too high, it can result in oil foam which diminishes the oil's lubricating ability and can damage the motor.

Inspecting the oil level is a straightforward process that merely takes a few minutes. Still, it can spare you from expensive motor repairs in the future.

It is better to look at the oil level at least once a month and before long trips. If it is low, top it off and then recheck it to guarantee it is correct.

How To Read a Dipstick with Dots

Checking the oil level in your vehicle is a simple yet crucial maintenance task that should be performed regularly.

Here is how to do it:

Step 1: Park the vehicle on an even surface and kill the ignition. Permit the engine to cool for some time before assessing the oil level.

Step 2: Make sure the car is on a flat plain, as perceiving the oil quantity on a tilt might produce inaccurate readings.

Step 3: Open the hood and locate the dipstick. The dipstick regularly sits close to the engine and has an eye-catching handle for easy spotting. In case of confusion about the dipstick's position, consult the owner's manual.

Step 4: Extract the dipstick from the engine and wipe it clean with a fresh cloth or paper towel. Remove all oil streaks on the dipstick to ensure an accurate reading.

Step 5: Reinsert the dipstick into the engine and push it in. Wait a few seconds before pulling it back out again.

Step 6: Observe the oil level on the section of the dipstick with the dots. Each dot or hole on the dipstick represents a certain amount of oil in the engine.

The top dot usually indicates a full oil level, while the lower dots indicate progressively lower oil levels.

Compare the oil level on the dipstick to the recommended oil level listed in the owner's manual or on the dipstick itself.

If it is less than the prescribed amount, supplement the engine with some oil and inspect again.

If it is more than necessary, eliminate some oil to prevent overfilling. At last, firmly insert the dipstick back into the motor and secure the cap.

Different Types of Dipsticks and How To Identify Them

Dipsticks are essential tools that help you check the oil level in your vehicle's engine. Various dipsticks with specific characteristics are in the marketplace.

It is necessary to determine their unique features and uses to differentiate between dipsticks.

Here are the common types of dipsticks:

1. Conventional Dipsticks

Conventional dipsticks are the most common dipstick in cars. They typically consist of a long metal rod with a flat handle at the top.

The dipstick has markings that indicate the engine's oil level. The oil level should be between the maximum and minimum marks on the dipstick.

2. Electronic Dipsticks

Electronic dipsticks are becoming more common in modern cars.

They consist of a sensor that detects the oil level in the engine and sends a signal to the dashboard display.

Electronic dipsticks are more accurate than conventional dipsticks and do not require any physical handling.

3. Direct Reading Dipsticks

Direct reading dipsticks are a type of dipstick that provides a more precise reading of the oil level in the engine. They consist of a transparent tube that is attached to the engine block. The tube is filled with oil and has markings indicating the oil level.

4. Twist and Lock Dipsticks

Twist and lock dipsticks are a type of dipstick that locks into place once it is inserted into the engine block.

The dipstick is twisted to secure it in place, preventing it from falling out of the engine. These dipsticks are better in high-performance vehicles and racing cars.

To identify the type of dipstick your car has, consult the owner's manual or look at it. Conventional dipsticks are the most common, with a long metal rod with markings. 

Electronic dipsticks are usually connected to the dashboard display and do not require physical handling.

Direct reading dipsticks have a transparent tube attached to the engine block, while twist-and-lock dipsticks have a locking mechanism to secure them.

How Often To Check Your Engine Oil

Checking your engine oil regularly is an essential part of vehicle maintenance.

Checking your engine oil depends on multiple factors, such as frequency of usage and type of car.

Generally, inspecting the engine at least once a month or before embarking on a long journey is best.

Nevertheless, certain circumstances may necessitate more frequent checks.

For instance, if the automobile owned is outdated or tends to consume oil, it requires more consistent examination. Refer to the car's user guide h to ensure the ideal inspection time.

Apart from the monthly and journey preconditions, it would be wise to check engine oil after driving for extended distances or hearing any strange sounds from the engine.

Systematic reviews can aid in noticing possible issues early, which can help economize repairs in the long run.

How To Add Oil To Your Engine and Avoid Overfilling

Adding too much oil can be just as bad as not having enough.

Here's how to add oil to your engine and avoid overfilling:

  • Check the oil level.
  • Choose the right oil.
  • Add oil slowly: If you need to add oil, it's essential to do it slowly to avoid overfilling. Remove the oil cap and pour the oil into the engine.
  • Recheck the oil level: Overfilling can cause engine damage, so it's essential to be careful.
  • Dispose of used oil properly: It's essential to dispose of it properly. Many auto parts stores and service stations will take used oil for recycling. Never dump used oil down the drain or in the trash.

What To Do If Your Engine Oil Level Is Low or High

If your engine oil level is low or high, here's what you should do:

Low Engine Oil Level

Check for leaks: Inspect underneath your automobile for any signs of oil leaks, such as puddles or stains, should you observe that your engine oil is low. If a leak is discovered, make haste to get it fixed promptly.

Add Oil

If the engine oil level is not up to par and no leakage is present, top it off with the necessary quantity to reach the recommended measure.

To achieve this, take the steps enumerated in "How to Add Oil to Your Engine."

Monitor the Oil Level

After adding oil, it's crucial to monitor it regularly to ensure it remains at the recommended level. If the oil level continues to drop, you may have a leak that needs to be addressed.

High Engine Oil Level

If the oil level in your engine surpasses the recommended amount, you must take action to lower it.

To achieve this, unscrew the oil drain plug and let some oil stream into a compartment. Your vehicle's owner's guide should explain how to execute this task meticulously.

Check for Contamination

If your engine oil level is high, it may be because the oil has become contaminated with fuel or coolant.

Check the oil dipstick to see if the oil appears milky or foamy, which is a sign of contamination. If the oil is contaminated, you should have your car inspected by a mechanic.

Monitor the oil level: After draining some oil, it's crucial to monitor it regularly to ensure it remains at the recommended level.