How can you tell how muchextra is in your oil pan?

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Jul 16, 2005
So I recently changed my oil for the civic, it calls for 3.7 quarts with filter and thats what i put in, however after checking the dipstick its over about.. maybe 1/4th of an inch. Is there a convention to read howmuch is it overiflled by or just visual inspection only? another question i was wondering about is the dx/lx non vtec engines only call for 3.4 quarts and not 3.7.. same engine block except for the head (for vtec) Did honda purpously make you overfill to counter the known fact that vtec consumes a little oil? thanks for your input.
I doubt any manufactuer would encourage an owner to overfill the crankcase. I suggest that you fill up to full or slightly under... but you absolutely should not overfill.
I have an '03 Civic EX with 1.7L VTEC. When I put in 3.7 quarts it fills it right to the full mark. I use a measuring cup. When changing the oil, be sure to let the old oil drain completely, or it will appear to be overfilled, even though you know you put the correct amount of oil in it! I think that slow drain-back is part of the design and is a good thing. I don't know about VTEC vs non-VTEC oil-fill requirements, but my guess is that the VTEC head, being more complex, needs more oil allowance. Best Wishes as you motor along!
I did use rhino ramps to lift it.. I doubt it made a difference since the filter is facing the back along with the dran plug. I guess ill check for bubbles on the dipstick. Thanks.
Wouldn't worry too much about it. I recently drained my 318 MOPAR V-8 very thproughly. Sat for half hour after shutdown after a long road trip in 100+F wx. Jacked frontend and pulled plug and drained for half hour. Plug is at back of pan atlowest spot. Removed oil filter and let it drain half hour. Point is it was EMPTY as I could get it. Filled with 5 qts which is waht owners manual and service manual specify for filter change. Oil level on dipstick was 1/4" above full mark. When I worked for a while in Middle East we had a fleet of Mazda 4-bangers. The mechanics always put in two extra qts of oil. No problems with that. My $0.02
Originally posted by sandcrawler: I doubt any manufactuer would encourage an owner to overfill the crankcase. I suggest that you fill up to full or slightly under... but you absolutely should not overfill.
While i think you are right in a theoretical sense, i truly never hear of an engine being harmed being 1/2, even 1 quart over, not the smartest thing in the world to do, but i dont think, in the real world, it would matter. just imho, ymmv darrell sin city
1/4 of an inch is what, maybe a 1/4 of a quart, should be fine. As for 2 extra qts in a mazda 4cyl, lmao, I wouldn't overfill a 4cyl by more than 1/2qt.
Temprature makes a big difference in oil level readings. The rated capacity is sometimes for a dry engine,not for a change with residual oil in nooks an crannys, and in the oil passage ways.
We have a local radio person who is a master mechanic. He does a news letter as well as website. He always says put in what the manufactorer calls for. I've had vehicles that were a little under some a little over when this was done. I don't think the dipstick is a precise measurement of the oil; I think it is more of a guesstimate although I am willing to admit I'm wrong!
I agree the dipstick is not precise. 1/4 inch over the full mark is probably not overfilled. Sometimes a little more will drain out if you remove the old filter BEFORE you replace the drain plug.
What does the owner's manual say about it? All three of my Ford manual's say the oil may be above the full mark on the stick when new or after an oil change. It also indicates that it the oil is more than about 1/2-inch above, engine damage could occur like leaks. I usually run a quarter-inch high on two vehicles, but the third is very difficult to read and so I play it safe, running a lower level.
One of my cars calls for 3.7qt, I typically guess-timate it 3.75qt as most bottles have marks at 1/4qt (4 oz) increments and not 1/10qt increments. In my case, an extra 0.05qt isn't going to hurt a thing. Like I can visually distinguish 0.05 qt and the markings on the bottle are that accurate....
If your car calls for 3.7 quarts.....just put 4 qts and don't worry. My wife's 98 Civic needs 3.5 qts, but I always put 4 qts. A little extra oil will not damage your engine.
Dipsticks, like people, are not calibrated. 1/4" over? If that's all I had to worry about....seriously don't sweat it. The super serious warning about overfill applies to gross overfill. Well over 1 qt overfill. 1 qt (or less) overfill in almost all cars spread over the engine/in the oil pan just won't cause issues and in fact is beneficial to engine/oil life.
[rant]If it calls for 3.7 qts just put in 3.5 You know you're not getting it all out and if you put in 3.5 you'll be right at the line w/o overfilling. I do this on my mazda and civic which call for 3.7 4? thats a good 1/2 qt over and is about 13% more than what the manual calls for. Its better to be slightly lower on the stick than over and its always easiest to add a 1/4 qt than drain one. As anal as people are here about oils you would think everyone would go for full and not overshoot it. does it kill you to have an extra 1/2 qt sitting until the next change? [/rant] IMHO
Pouring more oil is fun! :-P 1/2 qt overfill on probably every car in existence is 100% safe. My friend's CRX calls for 3.7. 3.7 = 4.0 in my mind.
Thanks for all the info. I know i shouldnt worry about it, just like the majority of the people here, we're all crazy about oil. I used factory oil filter from honda.(filtech) It's really small, doubt it made much of a difference. I checked after i started the car, moved it off the ramp, turned ignition off let it sit for about 2-3 minutes..
Originally posted by LT4 Vette: If your car calls for 3.7 quarts.....just put 4 qts and don't worry.
And he can visit the Oil Filter forum here and find a larger capacity oil filter to take up part of that extra 0.3 qts.
Speaking of oil filters, that was going to be one of my questions. What size filter are you using? Before checking the fill level, did you start the car, then give it time to drain back into the pan, or check it without starting the car?
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