Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 109 total)
  • Dipstick says no oil, car seems fine.
  • zippykona
    Full Member

    A slight oil patch has appeared on the drive ,so thought I’d check levels. Dipstick is dry but the oil light hasn’t come on . It comes on when car is turned on but then goes out.
    It had a good 120 mile run yesterday on the motorway.
    I know the dipstick can’t lie but surely it would have seized up if the car has no oil in it?

    uggski
    Full Member

    Probably best to put some in though

    DickBarton
    Full Member

    Get some oil in there fast…it won’t just seize immediately but if it is dry then damage is being done…

    Once the oil is back up you need to try and find the cause of the il leak.

    sirromj
    Free Member

    I know the dipstick can’t lie but surely it would have seized up if the car has no oil in it?

    Patience Grasshopper.

    mrchrispy
    Full Member

    potentially a very expensive way of finding out the bulb for the oil level isnt working

    DaveyBoyWonder
    Free Member

    I was driving my mum’s old Ford Escort once about 20 years ago and the oil light came on about 5 seconds before the engine seized.

    submarined
    Free Member

    Oil light is usually a pressure switch, not level.
    So as long as there’s just enough at the pickup to maintain pressure it’s ‘fine’. Until it’s not, because you go round a corner/brake etc.
    Then you got oil starvation, which probably won’t be too bad if it’s brief, but repeated and extended is obviously bad news.
    But there’s also the oil bath below the pistons, so the crank could well not be properly lubricated etc.

    Basically, top it up ASAP

    scc999
    Full Member

    Dipstick only shows last litre or two (depending on engine) of oil level.
    So a dry dipstick MAY mean that you are only missin 1 litre from 5.
    Regardless, you can’t tell if the dipstick is dry.
    Put oil in 1 litre at a time. Wait for level to settle. Check dipstick. Repeat until you get a reading then you’ll know howuch you were actually missing.

    snotrag
    Full Member

    @zippykona you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what the oil light means.

    When the red oil light comes on, that means there is zero oil pressure (notice how it comes on before you start the engine).

    It means – “too late, engines f*cked”.

    Put some oil in NOW before you even start the engine again.

    zippykona
    Full Member

    Car was serviced in January and it doesn’t smoke. It’s all very odd.
    I’m pedalling to halfords.

    fasthaggis
    Full Member

    Option 1 >>> put some oil in,check underneath car for any obvious damage/leaks,maybe put an old bit of hardboard or suchlike under engine area when it’s parked on drive and monitor.

    Option 2 >>> Do nothing right away other than giving it a good long blast up the motorway to find out if it will seize.

    😆 🤣 😆

    MrOvershoot
    Full Member

    Are you telling us you don’t check your oil level regularly 😉

    5lab
    Full Member

    using 1l of oil over ~5,000 miles is fairly common – which is why oil levels should be checked. There wouldn’t be any symptoms. To put this in perspective, VW’s official stance is that using up to 1l of fuel per 1000 miles is within design tolerances. top it up, check the level, then keep an eye on it every couple of weeks.

    a low oil level can be fatal, but isn’t necessarily. I had a banger that leaked oil from the rocker gasket, until the level was a bit below minimum. It did 40,000 miles with no oil showing on the dipstick, and was eventually flogged on

    multi21
    Free Member

    zippykona
    Full Member

    Car was serviced in January and it doesn’t smoke. It’s all very odd.

    What’s odd? You’ve seen oil on the drive, the level on the dipstick is low, it’s most likely developed a leak.

    Clean the driveway with sand, top the oil back up and check if any more appears on the drive/the level drops again.

    fossy
    Full Member

    Having an Alfa 147 as a company car was a shock – oil light came on very soon after delivery, going round a corner. They drink oil. I wasn’t used to it having owned Toyota’s and Nissans that never needed oil between services.

    Check monthly

    uggski
    Full Member

    using 1l of oil over ~5,000 miles is fairly common – which is why oil levels should be checked. There wouldn’t be any symptoms. To put this in perspective, VW’s official stance is that using up to 1l of fuel per 1000 miles is within design tolerances.

    I think I read somewhere that this is due to the longer service intervals. It was to ensure there was at least some fresh oil being put in.

    IANAE so this may be complete pish!

    maccruiskeen
    Full Member

    Car was serviced in January

    practically yesterday. (in geological terms)

    Is this the first time you’ve checked it since the service? It might be they didnt put enough oil in to start with. Ive had issues twice with garages putting way too much oil in, (presumably  based on the wrong service spec) and obviously not checking the dipstick before handing it back

    What I would check though… is if the dipstick is coming up completely dry, is that its actually locating properly when you put it in there – if its not clicking completely home then its not going to reach the oil.  Its also not unknown for the reading end of the dipstick to be a plastic attachment that can fall off (begging the question where has it gone) leaving the dipstick shorter than its supposed to be. Its also not unknown for cars to come back from a service with the wrong dipstick in!

    gobuchul
    Free Member

    VW’s official stance is that using up to 1l of fuel per 1000 miles is within design tolerances.

    I had a BMW, it drank oil. I think it was considered normal for 1 litre per 750 miles.

    thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    As above, the red “oil light” is a pressure switch that tells you there’s no oil being pumped arround the engine. That’s why it comes on when the engine isn’t running. That’s telling you to pull over imediately before it sizes entirely!

    Some cars have an orange light to tell you it’s low (like a digital dipstick) but that’s not universal.

    OH’s fiesta burns oil, my old focus didn’t, both had broadly the same engine.

    stumpy01
    Full Member

    zippykona
    Full Member
    Car was serviced in January and it doesn’t smoke. It’s all very odd.

    We would have to top-up the oil in our Shitroen C3 Picasso around every 750 miles or so. Looking in the manual, that apparently is ‘normal’.
    My Wife’s Peugeot 308 with the same engine which she owned a few years prior, was similar although didn’t use quite as much.
    It was the 1.6VTi petrol.

    Neither car smoked visibly, although they both had an addiction to relatively expensive fully synthetic oils.
    Both cars has high service intervals as standard – 20k miles – and I did wonder if high oil use was a way to achieve long service intervals; the oil was being frequently changed 🙂

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Both cars has high service intervals as standard – 20k miles

    I do an oil and filter anyway at 9/10k.

    thols2
    Free Member

    Put some oil in it. Check it after every run and see if it’s getting through an excessive amount.

    footflaps
    Full Member

    I had a BMW, it drank oil. I think it was considered normal for 1 litre per 750 miles.

    Had no idea BMW cars were 2 stroke….

    julians
    Free Member

    I know the dipstick can’t lie but surely it would have seized up if the car has no oil in it?

    Assuming the dipstick is correctly located in the tube, it probably does have some oil in it, just not enough to register on the dipstick, this is usually a bad thing. Get some oil in it ASAP, before you next start the engine ! get it up to the max mark on the dipstick then monitor the levels – check it every day until you understand how much it is losing and how its losing it.

    All cars have an oil pressure light, but if this comes on while the engine is running, it usually means the engine is knackered, and is typically followed very quickly by a banging sound and then bits of engine falling out onto the road.

    Some (quite a lot of modern cars) also have an oil level light – but I really wouldnt rely on it – the dipstick is your golden source of truth regarding oil levels*

    * My bmw doesnt have a dipstick, only an oil level sensor and I dont like it at all, I guess I’m old fashioned.

    Dickyboy
    Full Member

    Have you really not checked oil level since January? unless you do a very low mileage that is just plain negligent.

    My bmw doesnt have a dipstick, only an oil level sensor and I dont like it at all.

    Ditto new to us volvo v40 🙁

    alric
    Free Member

    I justgot another car, oil light came on at the start of a 250mile trip.
    I didnt read the dipstick properly, and put 2litres more oil in
    Oil light kept coming on
    got home after 700miles and changed the oil. a bit later the oil light came on again
    no fault codes
    Apparently its a common fault,once the oil light comes on(dodgy sensor?), if you dont lift the bonnet to check the oil level,the oil light stays on.If you open and close the bonnet,the oil light goes out. Mine comes on again after half an hour
    So there is a sensor on the bonnetcatch which controls the oil light

    Cougar
    Full Member

    Have you really not checked oil level since January? unless you do a very low mileage that is just plain negligent.

    That’s harsh. I’d wager that the number of drivers who check oil levels at all let alone on anything approaching a regular basis is vanishingly small.

    andybrad
    Full Member

    Wow, get it topped up !

    chakaping
    Free Member

    Haven’t you popped any oil in it yet OP?

    Go on, get cracking mate.

    eyestwice
    Full Member

    So there is a sensor on the bonnetcatch which controls the oil light

    No, there isn’t. I can say that with certainty as it’d be f*cking stupid.

    5lab
    Full Member

    Oil light kept coming on
    got home after 700miles and changed the oil. a bit later the oil light came on again
    no fault codes
    Apparently its a common fault,once the oil light comes on(dodgy sensor?), if you dont lift the bonnet to check the oil level,the oil light stays on.If you open and close the bonnet,the oil light goes out. Mine comes on again after half an hour
    So there is a sensor on the bonnetcatch which controls the oil light

    I’m unaware of any cars that link the oil pressure light to the bonnet catch. What is likely is either the sensor is faulty (and your oil pressure is fine) or your oil feed/pump is knackered, and despite having lots of oil, you’ve got no pressure. It would be wise to get to the bottom of which it is.

    onehundredthidiot
    Full Member

    I was on a Belgian motorway in the summer when the rear tyre blew out. About 10 minutes of driving after the spare was put on the low tyre pressure light came on.
    Take away lesson don’t trust the lights.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Ditto new to us volvo v40 🙁

    My V70 5-cyl had ‘secret’ service manual dipstick.

    Cougar
    Full Member

    So there is a sensor on the bonnetcatch which controls the oil light

    No, there isn’t. I can say that with certainty as it’d be f*cking stupid.

    Even if there were, it wouldn’t “control the light,” it’d report back to an ECU that the bonnet had been opened.

    montgomery
    Full Member

    I had this 18 months ago with my old Honda Jazzbanger. I’d been a bit slack on checking oil levels, and the light started flickering on under hard braking/steep hills. Nothing showing on the dipstick (min/max 1 litre difference), no obvious exhaust smoke or emissions. So I poured in a litre. Nothing on the stick. Poured in another litre. Nothing on the stick….ended up taking best part of 3 litres. I’m still driving it, not sure if it affected mileage rates because the odometer stopped working some time ago. I’d suggest buying a big jug of oil sooner rather than later.

    montgomery
    Full Member

    (I now check the oil on a weekly basis, like back in the Old Days).

    kerley
    Free Member

    I’d wager that the number of drivers who check oil levels at all let alone on anything approaching a regular basis is vanishingly small.

    I would put some money on that bet too. I have owned my current car since new in 2018 and have never even opened the bonnet since I got it.

    molgrips
    Full Member

    I can confirm that the dipstick doesn’t go all the way to the bottom of the sump so it can register nothing whilst there’s still some in there (only a little bit though). The manual should tell you what the full level is, and how much represents the difference between the min and max marks – say, half a litre. From that you could roughly extrapolate how much lower it will be off the bottom of the stick.

    Doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to drive it when there’s that little in, mind.

    oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    My 2014 plate BMW didn’t have a dipstick – makes you wonder!

    stevextc
    Free Member

    I had a BMW, it drank oil. I think it was considered normal for 1 litre per 750 miles.

    My 330D once needed 1l between services … other than that just the services for 200,000 miles

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