Engine & Gearbox Engine oil level, Hot, Cold.

Discussion in '7th Generation (2003-2008) [Acura TSX]' started by hondream, Tuesday 3rd Mar, 2015.

  1. hondream Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Simon Walsall
    237
    64
    Hello

    Petrol engine 2.4, 2007, Accord

    Checking the engine oil level.
    The handbook says :-
    “Make sure the engine is warmed up and parked on level ground.
    Turn off the engine and wait approximately 3 minutes before checking the oil level.”

    I assume they mean the engine is fully hot (i.e. temperature gauge is at it's position just below mid-way)

    Checking it like this doesn't seem to give an accurate reading as there seems to be oil in the dipstick tube.
    The max hole on the dipstick seems to have some oil in it, but the oil level on the dipstick seems to be 1 or 2 mm below the max. hole. The dipstick seems to have picked up oil from the dipstick tube as well just above the max. hole, or is it the real oil level.
    So not really sure where the oil level actually is. I know it's somewhere around the max. level.

    Once I've messed about and reinserted the dipstick to take another reading, more of the almost-water-thin oil has raced into the sump and the reading is different again.

    Anyone else having problems getting an accurate reading?

    I've always found that checking the engine oil level when the car is cold (i.e. stood overnight) seems to give the most consistent and accurate reading, as all the oil is in the sump.
    Equivalent Cold engine oil level reading
    Anyone know what the equivalent oil level is when the engine is cold. By “cold” I mean the car has sat overnight and all the oil has drained into the pan.
    The cold reading seems easier to read & and is more accurate.

    What does your 2.4 petrol read?
    Hot level max. --->> what is the equivalent cold reading on the dipstick
    Hot level min. --->> what is the equivalent cold reading on the dipstick

    The handbook doesn't say how much oil is required to go from minimum to maximum on the dipstick (although on other cars it seems to be 1 litre).

    Thanks

    there are also some intersting points raised in this thread.
    LINK
    Facelift Model - Engine oil level procedure
     
  2. SpeedyGee Administrator Staff Team

    England Speedy Birmingham
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    You could check it stone cold.

    The hot method is a newer (recommended) way of checking the engine oil level.
     
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  3. jimmy1973gb Club Member ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Northern Ireland jimmy1973 Ballymena
    68
    17
    I tested my other car when the engine was warm, which was a Celica, it showed only half full of oil, retested it and same result, I had no spare oil to top it up so took my other car to town and bought some new oil. When I got home 15 mins later I restested it again before adding oil, it was showing on the max of the dipstick. Luckily I had no spare oil sitting about otherwise I would have topped up and had too much oil in the sump. Since this happened I've always been very careful when checking oil level. Its better to be slightly under max than over the max on the dipstick. I think when checking oil level when warm I would be leaving it 5 minutes to settle, if dipstick showed lower than max then I would leave it another 2 minutes and retest. If it still showed that it needed oil then I would carefully top up making sure not to go over the max.
     
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  4. hondream Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Simon Walsall
    237
    64
    I will check it again, when cold.
    But when I first checked it when cold, if memory serves me correctly, it was about 10 to 12mm above the max. hole.
     
  5. jimmy1973gb Club Member ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Northern Ireland jimmy1973 Ballymena
    68
    17
    If too much oil in when cold if it were me I would be draining some out. Too much oil can cause all sorts of trouble, blow oil seals, leaking into clutch, and can actually cause damage. If its been a while since the oil was changed then drain all the oil out, replace oil filter and put in new oil. You will know how much oil you are pouring in, so will be sure you have the correct amount of oil and specification of oil.
     
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  6. Bones126 Top Contributor ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

    England Dave Birmingham
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    It's a good question and one I questioned myself, the only thing I can think of is.
    Does Honda want you check it while the engine is at warm/normal running temp with specific time to wait so that the oil is where it needs to be while you check the oil level. The cold way I agree most of the oil will be in the sump, but I wounder if Honda's have too much oil in the sump when cold to check, and by measuring it cold and setting to the level would mean that there is not enough oil in the engine while at normal running temp? Does that make sense to anyone??

    Having said that, the oil light I assume would come on :-/ Be good to get a definitive answer.
     
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  7. Zebster Expert Advisor ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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    I have genuinely never seen this much obsessing over oil levels!

    So long as it's somewhere between 'min' and 'max' after standing overnight on 'roughly horizontal'* ground it'll be fine and you can then worry about some other vital fluid level or other!

    *In my experience, it's parking the vehicle on a level piece of ground that's the hardest part, as most properly laid surfaces slope towards a point of drainage, so are rarely horizontal. And what if your suspension has 'settled' a little unevenly due to wear? You're going to need a long spirit-level and some wedges to put under your tyres! But where exactly would you put the spirit level anyway?
     
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  8. tonygw Valued Contributor ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

    It does amaze me in this day and age that manufacturers havent come up with a better way of checking oil than a simple dip stick. My 2.4 varies in oil level dependent on the slightest gradient on where it is parked, since I live on a hill I kind of know roughly where it should be when at home, but take it to work and what seems to be flat gound, isnt and affects the reading quite a lot depending on which way round I park the car, facing forwards it reads full but parked backwards it reads below min.

    I havent found anywhere as yet that I consider flat enough for an accurate reading. When I do an oil change and add the correct 4.4litres (or what ever it is) I have never got it to read on or close to the max mark. I don't know if this is correct or not?

    I have had the car two years and to this date (4 oil changes) I have never been confident there is the correct amount of oil in the sump or not.

    I do try to check it when its cold though, not sure how much oil "expands" when its warm when in a resevoir such as the sump.
     
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  9. Zebster Expert Advisor ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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    If it really, really mattered then manufacturers would have had to come up with a way to be absolutely sure of the EXACT level in the EXACT conditions necessary to do this. Or maybe fuel stations would provide an area for checking your oil level that was guaranteed to be precisely flat and level (although this wouldn't account for coefficient of expansion nor sump drain-down issues). So it obviously isn't important to be able to precisely measure the oil level in the sump and the humble dip-stick is seen as a reliable enough indicator of a 'nominal' condition.

    Similarly, can anyone accurately ever measure tyre pressure in an ultra-accurate manner?
     
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  10. hondream Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Simon Walsall
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    Yes, finding somewhere that is flat is a challenge......:Smile:

    But if a jobs worth doing, then it's worth doing well............
     
  11. hondream Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Simon Walsall
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    I use to think that myself, but speedy has opened my eyes to the truth. (despite me having underlined in the manual on my old car that it should be checked when hot......lol)

    If you're on max. cold after standing overnight, then you're probably 1 litre overfilled when hot.
    Overfilling can damage the engine - expensive repair bill.
     
  12. Zebster Expert Advisor ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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    There is absolutely no way oil expands by around 25% between ambient and running temperatures! I'm sure oil expansion coefficients for modern oils will be available on the internet if you want to perform accurate calculations, but I'm willing to bet that these will be equivalent to single percentages for this temperature change.

    And mild over-filling will not cause damage or leaking, although diesel owners do need to be a bit more careful.
     
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  13. jimmy1973gb Club Member ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Northern Ireland jimmy1973 Ballymena
    68
    17
    I work for a bus builder and we actually done this test last week, it took 5 minutes for the oil to settle in the sump and after that the level was stable. If it made big difference the dipstick would have 2 different levels, 1 side for cold and other side for warm. The main thing to remember is to wait 5 to 10 mins before checking so oil has settled.
     
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  14. SpeedyGee Administrator Staff Team

    England Speedy Birmingham
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    That's correct Seb, it's not about expansion.
     
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  15. Eck Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    It is about1 litre max to min, but not linear.

    Hot/cold, lets look at the scenario when for some reason oil has been lost, as this is the prime reason it is being checked.

    If sufficient has been lost and the engine is started to warm it up then the engine may be ruined.

    So possibly a cold check is the best primary check.

    If the car 'lives' on a gradient then maybe go somewhere horizontal and set the level to max carefully, return to home, let the car sit for a minute or too and reset the visual datum on the gradient for 'the home' condition. When cool check again and and visually set yourself a cold datum position. But of course remember to park up or downhill each time the oil is checked.

    In this wonderful world communications there may even become a place for the use of the camera on your mobile phone - when setting the datum positions hot & cold above take a picture for reference, even print the pictures and stick them somewhere useful for others who may also check the oil. If necessary take pictures in up and downhill mode.

    10 minutes setting a procedure to make oil life reassuringly stress free?

    Simples?
    - - - Updated - - -
    forgot to add, been quiet for while in Tenerife, thanks for concern
     
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  16. Zebster Expert Advisor ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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    True.
    Somehow Hondream has been given the wrong impression that it is:-
    In fact (as since pointed out) sump 'drain-down' issues will normally result in the oil level appearing to FALL when hot, as a significant proportion of oil has yet to return to the sump.

    Finding a properly level parking place is key to accurate measurements, as well as allowing plenty of time for the oil to drain back into the sump. Hot Vs cold measurement is not a major issue (which it appears that we agree on).
     
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  17. Zebster Expert Advisor ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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    I've been thinking about the problem of accurate measurement Vs 'level' ground. If you take a reading on roughly level ground, then turn the car completely around (180 degrees) and take a second reading, then the average of these two readings should give the accurate dipstick position (subject to the temperature and drain down times).
     
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  18. Eck Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    On level ground is the only consistent way to check.
    Not all the oil gets to the sump, there is always an amount left in galleries, cavities etc.
    For instance the capacity of oil for the (my) Jazz is given in litres as total 4.2, with filter change 3.6, without 3.4.
    This therefore infers about 0.6 litres in the various galleries etc. but if the car is not level then some galleries/cavities will be drained to a greater/lesser extent dependant on whether the car is nose up/down, so an average may not be valid either.

    Why not check it in garage forecourt when filling, most of these are flat.
     
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  19. Zebster Expert Advisor ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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    As mentioned, all laid areas deliberately slope slightly towards a point of drainage. It is very difficult to find a truly flat and level surface. And it's almost impossible to tell whether a surface is level without a very long spirit level. Hence my slightly flippant suggestion of turning the car around to determine an accurate average reading for those with dipstick-related OCD.
     
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  20. Old Cruiser Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    pete slough
    194
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    With mine and my previous Civic Type-S oil was checked in a honda dealers workshop and these are pretty flat, engine run up to temperature then left sitting for 5-10 mins, was then seen to be at Max' mark (good for proper VTEC operation so i hear) if left overnight therefore a cold engine, level would read approx' 3 mm over Max' which appears to be also the case when measuring on my driveway at home, this has caused no issues, so for me I have a cold reference point , which is when i check my oil before a long journey or once a week. Just thought I'd stick my peenies worth in!!LOL
    Cheers Pete
     
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