The Ultimate Guide: How to Properly Read Your Car’s Oil Dipstick

In today’s complex world of automotive maintenance, understanding the basics can save you time, money, and headaches. One fundamental skill every car owner should possess is knowing how to read their vehicle’s oil dipstick. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process step by step, ensuring that you can confidently check your oil levels and maintain your engine’s health with ease.

Oil on Dipstick

An oil dipstick is a long, slender metal rod with a handle, often crafted from plastic, rubber, or metal. It’s utilized to check the level and condition of engine oil in a vehicle. It’s a simple yet essential tool for maintaining proper engine health and performance.

The dipstick is inserted into a tube called the dipstick tube, which leads directly into the engine’s oil pan.

Oil dipsticks usually have markings or indicators that show the acceptable oil level range. These markings may include “Low” and “Full” indicators or crosshatched areas to indicate the optimal oil level.

By regularly checking the oil level and condition using the dipstick, vehicle owners can ensure that their engine has enough clean oil for proper lubrication and cooling. If the oil level is low or the oil appears dirty or degraded, it may indicate the need for an oil change or other maintenance tasks to prevent engine damage.

Variations in Oil Dipstick Designs

1. 917387 Engine Oil Dipstick

KLOTZ 2-Stroke Oil

917387 Engine Oil Dipstick

917387 Engine Oil Dipstick Fit for 03-13 for Acura MDX 05-12 for Acura RL 04-13 for Acura TL 05-12 for Honda Accord 05-13 for Honda Odyssey 03-13 for Honda Pilot 06-13 for Honda Ridgeline

Product Function: The engine oil dipstick, a slender metal rod inserted from the upper part of the engine into the oil pan, features a scale at the end to measure the oil level. If the level is too low or too high, it will accelerate the damage of the engine

Product Advantage-Clear markings on the rod ensure easy reading of the oil level, an O-ring seals the top of the dipstick to prevent oil leakage, and an O-ring seals the top of the dipstick to prevent oil leakage

2. Engine Oil Dipstick Cadillac Chevrolet GMC Hummer Models

KLOTZ 2-Stroke Oil

Chevrolet GMC Engine Oil Dipstick Tube

Engine Oil Dipstick Tube Compatible for 12563918, 917-303 for Select 99-08 Cadillac Chevrolet GMC Hummer Models.

•Select 99-08 Cadillac Chevrolet GMC Hummer Models

•2002-2008 Cadillac Escalade

•2002-2008 Chevrolet Avalanch

3. Car Engine Oil Dipstick Replacement OEM#CJ5Z-6750-A

KLOTZ 2-Stroke Oil

OEM#CJ5Z-6750-A Double Hole Dip Stick

Car Engine Oil Dipstick Replacement OEM#CJ5Z-6750-A,Double Hole Dip Stick for Checking Oil Compatible with Ford Lincoln with 2.0L Ecoboost Engines,Professional Car Accessories

Compatible Models – Engine oil dip stick is perfectly compatible with Ford & Lincoln: Ford 2013-2019 Explorer, 2013-2019 Escape, 2013-2019 Fusion, 2013-2018 Focus, 2013-2018 Edge, 2013-2018 Taurus, Lincoln 2015-2019 MKC, 2013-2018 MKX, 2013-2016 MKT, 2013-2018 MKZ, 2017 Continental with 2.0L Ecoboost Engines.

Accurate Measuring Oil Level – The oil dipstick is one of the important accessories for checking the engine oil level and ensuring smooth operation of the car. Our oil dip stick adopts a double hole + grid design at the bottom. Understanding the engine’s health status through the oil dipstick allows for timely adjustments and maintenance.

Premium Construction: Crafted from premium stainless steel, our car oil dipstick offers superior heat, bending, and rust resistance compared to standard options. The top o-ring ensures perfect sealing and grip, preventing loosening.

4. Dorman 921-192 Engine Oil Dipstick

KLOTZ 2-Stroke Oil

Dorman 921-192 Engine Oil Dipstick

Dorman 921-192 Engine Oil Dipstick Compatible with Select Audi/Volkswagen Models

Ideal Replacement: Our engine oil dipstick perfectly matches the fit and function of original equipment dipsticks in specified applications

Ideal Solution: Clearly distinguished level marks ensure accurate gauging

Durable construction –  designed and manufactured to strict specifications for reliable performance

Trusted Quality: Supported by a team of product experts in the United States with over a century of automotive experience

Ensure fit – to make sure this part fits your exact vehicle, input your make, model and trim level into the garage tool

5. Car Engine Oil Dipstick Replacement OEM#06H-115-611E

KLOTZ 2-Stroke Oil

OEM#06H-115-611E Engine Oil Dipstick

Car Engine Oil Dipstick Replacement OEM#06H-115-611E,Oil Dip Stick Compatible with Audi A4 A5 Quattro with 2.0T Engine, Practical Transmission Dipstick for Accurately Measure Oil Level

Dipstick Compatibility – Automatic transmission dipstick length is 23.9 inch and width is 0.15 inch, oil dipstick replacement OEM#06H-115-611E, and compatible with Audi 2009-2017 A4 2.0T, 2009-2017 A4 Quattro 2.0T, 2008-2017 A5 Quattro 2.0 T. Verify the OEM and model year before purchase to ensure compatibility with this useful checking tool.

Premium Material -The oil dipstick is an important tool for measuring the oil level. The dipstick is made of oil-resistant aluminum material, which can withstand frequent use and is not easy to rust. Exquisite craftsmanship and strict quality inspection can effectively resist various destructive factors to ensure long-term reliable use.

 Accurate Measurement – Car oil dip stick provides you with an accurate and reliable transmission oil level. This precise measurement function accurately determines if the transmission fluid level meets standard requirements, ensuring the car transmission operates normally.

A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Preparation: Before starting, ensure your car is parked on a level surface and the engine has been off for a few minutes to allow the oil to settle. Pop the hood and locate the oil dipstick, typically distinguished by its bright yellow or orange handle.

Step 2: Remove the Dipstick With a firm grip on the handle, pull the dipstick out of its tube. Wipe it clean using a rag or paper towel to ensure an accurate reading.

Step 3: Reinsert the Dipstick Fully insert the dipstick back into its tube, ensuring it’s seated securely. Wait a moment to allow any residual oil to cling to the dipstick.

Step 4: Retrieve the Dipstick by pulling it out of its tube once again, holding it horizontally to obtain a clear view of the oil level.

Step 5: Interpret the Reading by examining the two marks or lines on the dipstick. The oil level should be between these lines. If the oil streak lies below the lower mark, it indicates a low oil level, necessitating topping up. If oil exceeds the upper mark, it may damage the engine and reduce performance.

Step 6: Assess Oil: While the dipstick is out, note the oil’s color and consistency. Fresh oil is usually transparent amber, while old or contaminated oil may be darker or gritty. If the oil appears murky or smells burnt, it’s a sign that an oil change may be necessary.

Step 7: Add Oil if Needed If the oil level is below the lower mark, carefully pour a small amount of the appropriate oil into the engine, checking the level frequently to avoid overfilling.

Step 8: Recheck the Level: After adding oil, repeat the process of checking the oil level with the dipstick until it falls within the recommended range.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully mastered the art of reading your car’s oil dipstick. By regularly performing this simple yet essential task, you can ensure your engine remains properly lubricated, prolonging its lifespan and optimizing its performance on the road. Happy driving!

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