How long do you wait after shutting off eng. to check oil ?

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Dec 10, 2002
I check the oil when the car is stone cold. if I check while the engine is still warm, there are streaks of oil up the dipstick. think of it like an oil change, when you drain the oil..there is still some oil in the top end of the engine, it comes out like a trickle. it takes a while for all the oil to drain back into the pan. maybe an hour? [I dont know]
I don't know but it only take a few seconds for cold oil to flow out of the can into the motor. Hot oil in the motor should drian back even faster. The lifers, push rods, and oil galleys will hold a little oil for a little bit but not very much. I'd think a minute or two would be plenty of time. If it took to long for the oil to drian back all the oil would get trapped under the valve covers when the motor is running and the motor would burn up.
It really depends on the engine. In my car with a 32 valve V8 with oil pressure actuated VVT It seems a an hour is teh minimum if I want consisten tesults. Other cars the oil is right there in the sump. I know of no cars though where you can get an accuarte reading in teh time the Iffilube guysy spend, they chekc the oil within a couple of seconds after shutdown. Fred.. [Smile]
I like to check it first thing in the morning, stone cold. Figure that 10 to 12 HOURS! should be adequate for ALL the oil to get into the pan. Don't have to use a paper towel to wipe the dipstick, just yank and look...saves those few precious drops of oil and helps the environment out a little...! I also find that if I check it ON my driveway instead of in my garage, the slope influences oil level, reading about 1/3 to 1/2 quart low. [Cheers!]
Interesting, So I guess it really depends on the engine. Also I guess your not going to create a huge problem if it's running a 1/2 qt. high or low as long as you check it " the same way " every time, but @ the same token it's best to be on the full line most would agree. . This subject makes me think of the old full service gas stations. For how many years were people told they were a qt. low by the gas station attendant who got the reading 60 seconds after the engine was shut off & all the oil hadnt drained down yet ? So you had him add the qt. & you check it the next day & it's 1/2 qt. to full. [Big Grin] [ November 28, 2003, 01:43 PM: Message edited by: Scali62 ]
Does hot vs. cold really make a difference? How much does oil volume expand by at 100c compared to say 0c (32f), my current outside temp? [Confused]
I used to always check my oil cold, but then I found out in my car that shows a much lower reading than reality in the cold winter months. I suppose it's due to the colder temps causing the oil volume to be smaller. So now I've gotten into the habit of only checking my oil when hot, but I do wait about 15-20min after shutdown to do it. I found there was about a 1/4qt difference between my two methods, so I was adding oil when it wasn't needed with my cold checking method, at least in the winter months.
If you read the owners manuals of most newer cars (particularly GMs) they always say to check the oil when hot. In fact the specific recommendation is to check it "after filling up with gas" to give the engine a few minutes let the oil drain back in the pan. Back sometime in the late 80s/early 90s there was a changeover on the calibration of dipsticks on many vehicles so that it only provides an accurate reading when the engine is at operating temp and has been allowed to set for a few minutes to let some of the oil drain back into the pan. If you check a newer vehicle when cold after filling it with the proper amount of oil, it will read as being over filled on the dipstick. But when following the hot engine and wait 5 minutes rule, it will read about 1/4qt from the absolute top of the operating range.
I got my oil changed at the dealership so that I can maintain the warranty and they can't say anything if something goes wrong. I thought they had put too little oil in because after shutting the engine off and waiting a while, the dipstick indicated low. But when I waited overnight and checked it in the morning, more oil had drained down and it showed right on the mark. It looks like they put just enough oil in, and apparently it takes a while for the oil to drain down. I guess this is good and bad-you have to wait overnight to check the oil level, but some oil stays in the upper engine for a long time.
Wow , Forkman.. I never knew that [Smile] So I guess the answer to my topic is to check it whenever the owners manual suggests so your getting the proper reading on a calibrated dipstick... [Big Grin] Which may sound like an obvious thing but I dont do many things my owners manual suggests, 7500 mile oil changes being one of them..... [Smile]
I've got a question, maybe a silly one.. But, Does hot oil " expand " ? Would 4 qts. of 200 degree oil take up the same volume of say 4 qts. of 40 degree oil ? [Confused] [ November 28, 2003, 03:00 PM: Message edited by: Scali62 ]
Hot oil expandes. I can see the level change on my bikes. Cool I keep them between the add and full marks. Hot they will read full. If I fill them all the way cool I get oil pumped out everywhere when the motor is hot.
Scali62... I've got a question, maybe a silly one... Do you read other posts before posting YOUR question?
How much does oil volume expand by at 100c compared to say 0c (32f), my current outside temp?
In general I check either several hours after shut-off or in the morning after. Specific to the issue, I found if I wait 15-30 Minutes before I check it, it is rarely any difference than waiting longer, although sometimes it is... The only time I check at the pump, is when I have smelled a lot of oil burning and or I have been severly humping my peddle up and down all day long, consistant with very high revs throught the day and other like behavior... I do normally ride her hard in my courrier work, but when these extra-ordinary things present itself I check at fill-up.
Geeze Geeeman, Yes I do read the posts & sorry if I missed your question that was basiclly the same as mine. I'll send you a check for the damages [Big Grin]
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