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Old 02-12-2012, 07:41 PM   #1
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How to check oil level ?

What is the correct way to check the oil level ? First thing in the morning or after waiting 10-15 mins or more after switching the engine off ?

The reason I'm asking is because I've got a big variance in the reading at the dipstick if I check at the 2 difference times... (full mark when hot and way over when cold).

I just had a oil service done and I get smoke at startup everytime I leave the car standing for an hour or so.... I just had about 800cc removed to eliminate overfill first... (my aos is only about 6 months old and I don't have excessive pressure at the engine oil filler cap). The oil level is now about the 3/4 mark on the dipstick and 2 bar from the top at the electronic gauge at hot (10-15mins after shutdown engine). I presume that should be a good level to be at ? Don't know what the level is when cold yet.

Last edited by shlim8; 02-12-2012 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:14 AM   #2
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engine off, on level ground, preferably when "cold"

for me, when cold: e-gauge reads at or 1 bar below full. after running for a bit and stopping, when restarting it can look like it's near the bottom of the gauge.
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:51 AM   #3
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Oil expands when heated. Your reading will be lower cold than when hot, unless you are checking the two readings on two different grades/surfaces. Check it hot or cold but be consistent. Hot, it should show level somewhere just below full. Or, using the dip stick, just like every other car you've owned or driven.

From Rennlist: Check oil level with the engine off. Cold or hot. If cold be aware oil will expand maybe 1/2 quart's worth in volume. If hot be aware oil being hot has expanded and reading will be higher because of it.

Generally the "rule" is to add oil when oil level below half way down. And each bar represents around 1/4th quart of oil. IIRC the entire range of the bars is 1.6 liters.

Avoid running oil too low cause if oil consumption goes up cause of the way you're driving the oil level can drop to too low. Avoid running oil level too high cause this leads to excessive smoking upon startup and increased oil consumption.

To check the oil level from inside the car turn key to on -- but do not start engine. If you forget and crank engine forget about checking the oil for a while.

There should be an in-dash display that counts down and then displays a graphic of the oil level.

Max, 6 or so short bars, then Min.

If seconds counter reads more than say 5 or 10 seconds engine hasn't sat long enough for oil to drain back and in-dash oil level gage "computer" knows this.

Engine must have been off some time. How long depends upon how hot the oil got. If engine up to operating temperature by the time you can get 10 gallons or so of gas in the gas tank is enough time.

If engine not up temperature it can in 30 minutes or so.

Car must be level. Even a bit of a tilt can affect the oil level.

Before you put it off too long check the oil level with the dipstick and then compare the in-dash oil level to what the dipstick "says". If they disagree Porsche says to go by the dipstick. Fortunately, my 02 Boxster's dipstick and in-dash oil level "gage" agree. Still every so often I double check the dipstick just to make sure the in-dash oil level reading valid.
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Last edited by MileHighBoxster; 02-13-2012 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:24 PM   #4
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The difference between the two marks on the oil level gauge on a 986 is 1.25 litres. Page 76 Owner's Manual
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:46 PM   #5
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Yup, my dipstick and e-gauge don't agree.

This morning, I checked the dipstick - it shows oil level all the way up the red portion of the plastic (ie way above full mark). The e-gauge shows full (1 mark below max). Measurements taken at my driveway which is pretty flat.

But this is probably the first time the e-gauge has registered at the full mark in the time I'd owned the car, so it's probably got less oil than it's always been filled (usually it reads 1 mark above full).

Strange thing is that after reducing the oil level, the last service probably took only 8.1 litres.... Originally it was filled with 8.9 litres, but was smokey starts all the way. I thought the correct amount should be 9 litres ?
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MileHighBoxster View Post
Oil expands when heated. Your reading will be lower cold than when hot, unless you are checking the two readings on two different grades/surfaces. Check it hot or cold but be consistent. Hot, it should show level somewhere just below full. Or, using the dip stick, just like every other car you've owned or driven.

From Rennlist: Check oil level with the engine off. Cold or hot. If cold be aware oil will expand maybe 1/2 quart's worth in volume. If hot be aware oil being hot has expanded and reading will be higher because of it.
My car's dipstick actually reads higher in the morning when the car is totally cold vs hot after the car has been sitting around for 2-3 hours. The e-gauge on the other hand, is more consistent. Showing "full" (1 mark below max) at both times.

I guess the oil takes longer to drain back to the sump - but that doesn't explain the e-gauge ??!!

Anyway the smokey starts are gone and as both show sufficient oil level, I'm just going to let it be.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:44 PM   #7
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Have you read your owner's manual?
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:11 PM   #8
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My e-gauge and dipstick have never matched exactly. Being old school, I keep it consistenly full using the dipstick and ignore the e-gauge, but I'm sure either measurement used consistently would be fine.
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:41 AM   #9
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shlim8 - post deleted (copyrights, oops forgot).

Last edited by madmods; 02-14-2012 at 06:08 AM. Reason: Speellingzz
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:15 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by blue2000s View Post
Have you read your owner's manual?
Yup and just for the record, the manual states the following for "correct measurement of the dipstick"

1. Car must be level
2. Engine at operating temp
3. Let oil drain back to the sump for a few minutes

And viola.... the oil level is at the full mark (not beyond), e-gauge at 1 bar above max and I end up with smokey starts everytime... Hence my questions...

Last edited by shlim8; 02-14-2012 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:18 AM   #11
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Just check it dead cold in the morning. Check both dipstick and dash display. If its overfilled dead cold, then that may be your problem.
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shlim8 View Post
Yup and just for the record, the manual states the following for "correct measurement of the dipstick"

1. Car must be level
2. Engine at operating temp
3. Let oil drain back to the sump for a few minutes

And viola.... the oil level is at the full mark (not beyond), e-gauge at 1 bar above max and I end up with smokey starts everytime... Hence my questions...
Your first post mentions that you try different methods, hence my question...

Sounds overfilled. Unless you are just starting the car, moving it, and turning it off. That will cause it to blow smoke on the next start up.

Last edited by blue2000s; 02-14-2012 at 09:36 AM.
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