How low am I ??

Messages
1,811
Location
South Dakota
Okay, now that I have your attention. I have heard different stories about checking oil level. Some say, "check cold". Others say, start engine for a minute, then check. I checked the oil on my Dodge Gr.Caravan this morning. Cold check (no start up) it shows to be a half quart low. After starting for a minute and getting the oil pressure up; it shows a full quart low. So how much do I add, half-quart or full quart?
 
Messages
36,403
Location
ME
Do what your owner's manual says to do. By default, if your manual is missing or vague, I'm with Al. It's not just your pressure that's up, there's half a quart of oil stuck in the upper regions of your motor.
 
Messages
3,161
Location
North Arkansas
Check after sitting for at least hour. Preferably on level surface. Had couple customers tell me their Caravans run 1/2 qt low ok, if they top off they use 1/2 qt in no time. Might be reason dipstick says add at qt low instead of pint? Bob
 
Messages
80
Location
Tx
I've noticed many oil burning caravans over the years. Just look for that puff of blue smoke pulling away from the stop sign. I'll bet ita a caravan ! LOL
 
Messages
4,478
Location
Southern California
I suppose owner's manuals will differ, but the two I have access to ('96 Honda Accord and '03 Hyundai Sonata) both recommend the car be parked on a level surface, the engine warmed to normal operating temperature, and the check made after shutting off the engine and allowing the oil to drain back to the sump for a minute or two. The reality is probably that a cold check before the engine is started after sitting an hour or more will probably give you a pretty good idea whether the oil level is correct or not.
 
Messages
2,338
Location
Charlotte Metro area
To answer your question, you should think about why we have an oil level, and the ramifications of having too much or too little oil in your car's system. Most of us don't have the mechanical background sufficient to tell us the level where the spinning crankshaft will whip air into the oil, and that is one reason we don't want it too high. SO, go by what your manual says, with this in the back of your mind: The thinner the oil you are using, the quicker it will drain back to the sump. Oil will expand when hot. Some cars "consume" oil to a certain point and then stabilize somewhere above low but less than full on the dipstick (please don't keep adding to the full mark if your car is one of these...we have enough pollution as it is). For best accuracy and accurate trending, you should ideally check it under precisely the same conditions every time (which includes the viscosity variable).
 
Messages
1,550
Location
North Texas
Oil should be checked when the engine is cold, OR has not been running for at least 15 minutes in order to get an accurate reading. Otherwise oil will still be draining down off the engine. So to answer your question, add 1/2 qt. I tend to like to keep mine just a fraction over the full line, so if it were my car i'd add 5/8 quart. Some racers fill their cars 1/2 qt over-full when they head to the track. Concept being with excited driving and cornering, the oil pump will have a hard time picking up oil as it is sloshed around, and your car will likely burn some and you dont want to get it too low. However keeping your car 1/2 qt too full all the time "may" leed to problems.
 
Messages
1,550
Location
North Texas
warrior pilot: I think you're right! I too have seen lots of oil burning caravans. However my sister is on her 3rd caravan and she is the typical PTA-Soccer mom and stays on the go in her caravan and keeps it hot. My brother-in-law (who is not a BITOG subscriber) changes the oil every once in a while (thats his method, not mine) and uses whatever is on sale. So far their caravans have been very reliable. I think they must be some of the better made american cars considering all the abuse they go through. My Mom has a Crysler T&C, and she is much easier on it than my sister is on hers. Then again, Mom's in her 70's and while she is very active, Dad is very good about getting the oil changed. Dad's 2006 Avalon also gets the oil changed regularly, now talk about a car thats easy on oil, his avalon never burns a drop between oil changes.
 
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