At what point do you top off?

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May 25, 2003
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
1 oz low 1/4 qt low 1/2 qt low 1 qt low other (explain) Unless I'm calculating oil consumption, I usually top off when 1/4 qt low. If I'm calculating oil consumption, I'll let it go to 1/2 qt low to get a more accurate picture of oil consumed per x miles.
For me it depends on crankcase volume. On our Duratec vehicles, they hold nearly 6 quarts of oil, so I don't feel so bad letting them get close to 1 quart low. My 94 Geo Prizm has a 3.2 quart capacity, so it's closer to 1/4 or 1/2 quart before I top up the oil. So roughly speaking when 10% of the oil volume is gone, I top it up. Of course it also depends on how close we are to an oil change. If I'm going to change it this weekend and no major trips scheduled, I'll probably let it go. Conversely, if it is going to be a while, gotta lotta highway miles to drive (especially on my wifes van that gets driven in town almost exclusively,) I'll probably top it up. FWIW, TB [ October 02, 2003, 10:00 PM: Message edited by: javacontour ]
before I found this site, I used to never check my oil. once in a blue moon. I was and still am a 3k changer. but since the site, I check it every week for oil consumption. I add oil when it is not at the full mark. most likely an ounce because I'm obsessive compulsive about it on my 92 mits 1.5 liter it's a 3.5 quart oil change. 4g15 engine
My Grand Am used a lot of oil, maybe a pint in a thousand. I always added whatever it took to fill it every time I remembered to check the oil. I am back to seldom checking the oil since the Cavilier I have now and truck never need oil added in my 3 month interval.
Hmm, I top off when I can add about 1/4 quart. That means I'm topping off about every 3-4k miles.
A 1/4 of a quart low. Probably obsessive but love those cars.. [Embarrassed] My current car seems to burn no oil at all after 4000 miles I seem unable to detect any consumption ( maybe 1/8 of a quart but am unsure) so I find myself not checking teh oil so much any more. I used to check it nearely every day now only once per week. Fred.. [Smile]
I won't add oil unless the level is very low in the safe zone. On my wife's '03 Cavlier I have not had to add any oil between 3K intervals. My '02 Ranger 3.0V6 running 5w20 uses less oil than my previous Rangers that used 5w30 and 10w30. Go figure.
Originally posted by timzak: 1 oz low 1/4 qt low 1/2 qt low 1 qt low other (explain) *-*-*--snip
I top mine when I can see it below the top like of the fill marker, be it 50ml or 4 oz. I guestamate the amount my looking at the fill markers on th bottles. I usually check it everyday and add either late at night or in the morning, If for some reason it is not checked it usually gets checked the next day or the day thereafter. I will not check in the rain unless of known problem, or extreme cold(here in Houston of about somthning in the 30's-40's) Most of the time it gets either 25-50ML or 1-2oz. if I overfill by a few ml no problem but never underfill by a fel ml (I know youre not supposed to over fill but I will if it is necessary to get an accurate measure on the bottle)...
My dipstick has holes in it, and as soon as I see the first hole showing empty, I put in the 100ml of oil that is needed to bring it up full again. Sometimes I'll just add 200ml though, since I know when I initially change the oil it is a little bit overfilled too. I see no logical reason for waiting until the level is much lower before adding oil.
Know your dipstick [Embarrassed] It depends, but I never go 1/4 qt below 100% full. In fact I make a real attempt to keep the oil just a tick, I mean a witches whisker about the 100% full mark. I guess the only drawback of this is if you want to keep track of consumption, it makes it tougher to count quarts. My cars don't consume much so - it's not a huge problem just setting aside a quart for "top off" and then at the end of the OIC, see how much earl was used. I am sure there are many other ingenius methods. This topic is up my allaey. My oil motto: Got volume? Just use it! No sense running at the minimum volume!
I usually go about at a 1/2 quart or more. There is some variance on readings due to oil dripping down and temp etc. I read it every other fillup =~750 miles.
Originally posted by Pablo: This topic is up my allaey. My oil motto: Got volume? Just use it! No sense running at the minimum volume!
My thoughts exactly! Even if you have a large 6 quart system, if you let it go down by one full quart before you top it up, you're only running 83% of your oil system capacity! Just imagine how much more stress you're putting on your oil in a 4quart system when it's one quart down. And for those of you doing UOAs, also keep in mind that if you're running a lower amount of oil, you're ppm on the reports will show higher than they really are since you're putting the same amount of wear metals into a lower volume of oil.
Originally posted by Pablo: My oil motto: Got volume? Just use it! No sense running at the minimum volume!
I'll agree with Patman. I keep the oil right up to the "full" line. [Smile]
What I have noticed is that some cars care very little of where the oil level is unless you are like 40-50% low. Others seem to like it above the middle of the dip stick. And some others like it topped off above the MAX line. For example, my Subarus feel just as smooth and quiet with oil at MIN. My sister's Tracer runs pretty rough when the oil level drops below the middle. My old SAAB likes it about 1/4" above the MAX, which seems to really improve timing chain lubrication. My new SAAB does not care.
I don't think topping up is something you plan on ie. you don't keep checking it daily until it goes down 1/4 or something and then add. Basically, whenever you get around to checking it and notice it's low (be it 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 or 1qt) you add the necessary amount. So it may/may not be different each time you check...depending on frequency, driving style, temps., travelled distance, etc... Aside from this, I'll usually only top things off at 1/4 qt or adding teaspoons is futile.
Eh, depends on if I've got a bottle already opened or not. If one is opened, I'm much more likely to top it off. If I don't, then I'll probably wait until about 1/2 quart. My car doesn't consume much oil (maybe a 1/4 quart total during my 3k interval), so I don't check it much. My girlfriend's car eats oil like the cookie monster on a fresh plate of chocolate chip cookies, and it's days are numbered anyway, so even if it's half a quart low, I may not top it up. As long as it's in the "safe zone" on the dipstick, I don't get too worked up about it.
Originally posted by Patman: -*-*-*- I see no logical reason for waiting until the level is much lower before adding oil.
You never know when a problem will arise, and you don't have to hit the peddle very hard everyday to have a problem "Sneak-up" on you. Anyway,I get better performance and MPG when its full,a n d for some reason, the engine sounds much louder with it even a few ounces, maybe its because like today I was for 2.5 hours between 85-110, was in court yesterday (red light), and got another ticket today (parking)... anyway I'm usually the first off the line at the light and I'm always going through the gears up and down, back and fro, engine on and off, traveling 1 block or 1 mile or 10 miles or sometimes 100+ miles at a stop (30-60 stops a day), I just can't afford to have a chance to have low oil.
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