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Home » Simple tricks to know how much oil should be on the dipstick

Simple tricks to know how much oil should be on the dipstick

how much oil should be on the dipstick

Checking oil gauges is what many of us have been doing for years. Every time we start the car, we pull out the dipstick and check how much oil is on it. The question is, how much oil should be on the dipstick? This page will handle that question and give you an idea and information.

The amount of oil on the dipstick tells you the level of oil in your car. If the oil is on the top mark, it shows it is high and the second mark means low that you need to top it up. 

So, the right way you can be sure of getting it right with the level of oil you have or should have in your car is through the use of a dipstick.

Therefore, on this page, we will share all you need to know about engine oil and dipstick and how to read it.

What is a dipstick and its function?

how much oil should be on the dipstick

A dipstick is a device that comes with most cars to keep close tabs on the level of oil you have in your engine. It is the only way you can get to know the level of oil that you have in your engine.

All you need to do is to remove the dipstick to do the reading. Most of them either come with two holes or marks to let you know the minimum and maximum levels of oil levels in the engine.

Checking the dipstick is the first thing you have to do every morning before starting your car. It helps you know if it is safe to take the car out or not.

A friend of mine damaged his car engine due to overheating. However, the damage is not beyond repair but could have been avoided if he had checked the dipstick.

He didn’t check before taking his car out, and the engine didn’t have enough oil to push the car further, and it had to break down. So, checking the dipstick can help to avoid such a scenario.

How to check oil level?


Checking the oil level in your engine is a practice that you should do every day. You need to add it to your daily routine as it is impossible for your car engine’s long lifespan.

Yes, using quality oil is good, but keeping close attention to knowing the level is important to prolong the engine lifespan.

To check the oil level, you just need to do the following:

  1. Put off the car engine

First, turn off the engine. Then, open the hood of your car and locate the dipstick. The dipstick is an elongated rod that’s usually located near the front of the engine or under it. It has a small hole at one end that drains oil into a container; an O-ring keeps this hole sealed when not in use.

  1. Pull out the dipstick

Pull out the dipstick with your hand and keep a record of the level of the oil on the dipstick.

  1. Clean the dipstick using a cloth

If you don’t clean the dipstick before checking the oil, you may get a false reading because the oil could be dirty. To clean it, use a rag or paper towel to wipe it off.

  1. Insert the dipstick back

You need to insert the dipstick again and leave it for a few seconds.

  1. Remove to check the oil level

Now, you can remove the dipstick and check the oil level on it. If it shows it is low, you have to top it. Also, if the color of the oil shows it is dirty, it is best that you drain the oil totally.

Oil dipstick reading

Not every car owner knows how to read dipsticks, and it is not something hard to do. There are two marks or holes on the dipstick depending on the type your car comes with.

The first hole from the bottom is the lower level, and the second is the high level. Since you have the right measurement of oil, your car needs to get a full gauge, you can use the dipstick to confirm.

Once you pour the oil into the car engine, you can use the dipstick at an interval to measure the level, so you don’t under or over-refill the engine.

Dip the dipstick into the engine pathway or its housing and remove it to check the oil level on the dipstick. The amount of oil therein tells you the level of oil you have in your car engine.

If it is below the first, it shows the engine is short of oil. It is still fair to drive a car with a dipstick showing engine oil at a low level but needs a refill as soon as possible.

What color should the oil be on the dipstick?

Most people do ask what oil should look like on a dipstick. If you just serviced the engine by refilling the oil, on checking the oil, you will find out that it is still the same color as what you have in the oil keg.

The color will be different if you mix new oil with old ones in the car engine. It is not a good thing to do. You should empty the engine oil before adding new oil.

You should expect the engine to change color to light or dark brown if you mix the new one with the old one. Also, if you drive longer miles or the oil lasts longer than a month or more, the engine oil will change color to brown.

You will get to see it on the dipstick, and sometimes it can be a dark brown color, and it might be a sign to tell you that you need to change the oil.

Different types of oil dipsticks

There are different types of dipsticks. You have the universal that can fit all car engine types and specific ones for certain cars.

Some have holes to tell the oil level, and some are just marks and signs to let you know the level of oil that is there in your engine.

Whichever one your car comes with, be confident you will get to know what the mark stands for. It is easy to decode and understand.

Where should the oil level be on a dipstick?

The oil level on the dipstick tells you the amount of oil you have left in your engine. Your car engine needs enough oil to perform well which is a good example to do so. One of the things you don’t want to do is overwork the engine.

So, you need it to get enough oil to operate well. The oil on the dipstick should be above the low level, closer to or equal to the high-level hole on the dipstick.

The oil pressure level should not drop below the low level, and no sign or traces of oil change on the dipstick is dangerous for the engine. For proper maintenance, ensure the oil is always above the low level before you drive the car.

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When the oil you have in your dipstick is equal to the top mark, it shows the engine gauges rightly. Everything above shows that the oil in the engine is high.

The same with the lower level. Once it is below the first mark of the hole, it is an indication that the oil in the engine is short and needs top-up or refilling.

However, you can save yourself the stress of overfilling and then draining again. Just check the manufacturer’s manual, and you will find out the exact volume of oil that your car needs. You should get the exact volume of oil and use it in your car.

How do I know if my dipstick is low on oil?

If you remove the dipstick, clean it and dip it back to remove it. Once the oil you have on it is below the first hole, it is an indication that the oil is low.

You need to clean the dipstick before you confirm. Else, you might get the wrong reading as I have once made a similar mistake. Remove the dipstick to clean and then go on to dip it back into the engine casing, remove it again to take the reading.

What happens if there is no oil on the dipstick?

If there is no oil in the dipstick, it shows your engine is short of oil. You should never start such a car if you like the car. Starting a car or driving one without engine oil will cause damage to the engine quickly. So, you should never try such things at all.

Most people end up damaging their car engine because they fail to know or check. You should always check the oil level before you ever drive the car.

How to read oil dipstick with 2 holes?

It is the easiest thing to do. Bring out the dipstick and take the reading. The first hole from the bottom is low and the upper is high. The hole level on the dipstick then tells you the amount of oil you have in your car engine.

When is the best time to check oil dipstick?

The right or best time to check the oil engine is very early in the morning. You should also check before you start the car and not when the car is running.


This guide will help you know tips and give you enough support of knowledge about how much oil should be on the dipstick of your car. It is an indicator that is something you should regularly check to keep the vehicle or, specifically, the car engine in good condition. So, here you have all you need to know to make the right decision always.