If you don’t want your car to give up on you in the middle of the road, you must maintain it well. And that includes keeping a check on the oil levels. But this little task can become difficult if you can’t read your dipstick.
That’s a common issue several Toyota and Scion owners face.
If you’re one of them and are having a hard time checking the engine oil level with the hard-to-read dipstick, read on to know how you can resolve that issue.
Issues With Reading Dipstick
You might face a few issues when it comes to reading oil levels from the dipstick:
- Your engine oil dipstick might be worn out, due to which it gives an inaccurate reading.
- Your engine oil dipstick is poorly designed, and it’s not holding oil to provide you with an accurate reading.
- The engine oil and the dipstick don’t have contrasting colors, making it difficult to take a reading.
These issues are quite common with the following cars:
- Toyota Tacoma
- Toyota Sienna
- Honda Civic
- Ford Fiesta
- Mazda 3
- Scion XA
- Subaru cars
What To Do if the Engine Oil Dipstick Is Hard To Read?
If you are having trouble reading the dipstick, you will need to try certain tricks.
Use a Sandpaper
It is possible that your dipstick has worn out or varnish has been deposited onto it. If that’s the case, engine oil won’t stick to it, and you’ll get inaccurate readings.
Scuff your dipstick with sandpaper and leave it overnight. This will help create roughness on the dipstick surface and let the oil stick to it. In other words, you’ll be able to read it easily.
Add Color to Engine Oil
If there’s not enough contrast between the engine oil and the dipstick, you can try adding an approved color additive to your engine oil or use colored engine oil. This way, you will be able to see the engine oil distinctly on the oil dipstick.
Use an Engine Oil Dipstick Properly
Improper use of an oil dipstick can also lead to inaccurate readings. To avoid that, you must know how to use a dipstick properly.
How To Check Engine Oil?
If you’re finding it hard to read your engine oil dipstick, follow the steps below:
1. Park Your Car
You need to park your car on a level surface. This is important since it lets you get an exact reading of the oil level.
2. Achieve Ideal Temperature
Ensure that your engine is at an ideal temperature for checking the engine oil level. The ideal temperature is neither hot nor cold. Instead, it is warm.
Here’s how you can achieve that:
- Turn on the engine.
- Keep it running for around 10 minutes.
- Turn off the engine.
- Let it sit for around 7 minutes.
Once you’ve achieved the ideal temperature, move on to the next step.
3. Locate Engine Oil Dipstick
Look for the dipstick. It is usually situated under the hood. The dipstick might have an orange, yellow, or red cap with an oil sign on it.
4. Take Out the Dipstick
Once you locate the dipstick, take it out by using any paper towel — to avoid dirtying your hands. This also avoids slippage.
5. Insert Dipstick
Wipe the dipstick using a paper towel. Otherwise, you might contaminate the oil.
Now that the dipstick is clean, you can dip it into the oil.
6. Reading the Dipstick
Take the dipstick out to read the oil levels. Your dipstick might come with letters, holes, or lines to indicate engine oil levels.
For instance, you may have two lines marked as Min for minimum and Max for maximum. Or you may have two letters, H for high and L for low.
If your oil level lies between the H/L or Max/Min, your oil levels are okay. But if the oil level is below the Min or L line, add more oil.
Put the dipstick back in its place after using it.
Can Viscosity of Engine Oil Affect Dipstick Reading?
No, the viscosity of the engine oil doesn’t affect the dipstick reading as such.
Final Thoughts: Engine Oil Dipstick Hard To Read — Solved
If you’re struggling to get a reading with an engine oil dipstick, try sandpaper and see how it works out.
Otherwise, you can try adding color to the engine oil as well.
Let us know what you tried or what worked in the comments. For more engine oil-related queries, explore our blog today.