Engine Oil Dipstick Hard To Read: Great Tips For You To Fix

Having your car engine system checked regularly will ensure your excellent performance on the way. No one wants the car to make knocking sounds on startup, especially because of the oil shortage.

However, when checking the oil level, many people find the engine oil dipstick hard to read.

There are many reasons leading to this technique trouble. Your dipstick may be loose and broken, or you have no experience using the tool to check your car.

No matter the reason, knowing the best way to read a dipstick for the car system is essential.

The following article will provide some constructive advice for your deep understanding, which will help you learn how to read an oil dipstick effectively. Let’s get started!

What Is An Engine Oil Dipstick?

Engine Oil Dipstick Hard To Read

An engine oil dipstick is a useful tool for an accurate reading of the oil level. It helps ensure the stable performance of your car engine system, allowing you to have the best ride.

The oil checking solution comes with the effect of applying the right lubricant, reducing friction, and getting the internal parts cleaned.

When you inspect the oil condition regularly, you will notice whether something happens with the oil. Having the skill to know how to read an oil dipstick will prevent you from unexpected oil problems while you are on the way.

With the comfortable design of a long and flat metal rod, you can easily use the dipstick to read the oil level without difficulty.

Based on your car engine’s type, the dipstick will be located at different positions. However, pinpointing the dipstick placement is not a big deal since it often comes with a colorful handle, like an orange dipstick, for you to spot it.

How To Solve When The Oil Dipstick Is Hard to Read?

There are two common ways to follow for your clean reading oil dipstick.

You can either sand the dipstick’s surface or paint it a new color for it. Whatever solution you choose will produce a satisfying result for you.

Most cars will have the same trouble with an engine oil dipstick hard to read after a long usage time. But don’t worry too much since there are many ways to tackle this problem as below:

Rough The Surface

No matter what your car brand is, even for a Toyota dipstick hard to read, one of the easiest ways is to have a quick pass of sand on the surface of the dipstick.

When you rough the surface’s texture, it will become much easier to see the oil level.

This option will not cost you anything. All you need to do is sand the dipstick thoroughly on both sides to ensure the easy-to-read oil checking.

Paint The Dipstick

Another solution is to paint the dipstick. Spraying a new color on the dipstick is a good idea to make the oil stand out and help you read it easier.

It is recommended to go for the black painting option since this dark color will contrast with the light color of the oil. You will likely see the oil level better after trying this trick.

How To Read An Oil Dipstick Correctly?

Step 1: Preparation


The first and foremost thing you need to do is set up your car before learning how to read a dipstick.

Make sure you park your car on flat ground with the engine off. If your car is running, you can’t get accurate reading on dipstick since the oil has not cooled down yet.

Never underestimate this step because it will decide whether you get the actual oil level or not. There are cases when the car is parked on a slope, and the result turns out to be mistaken.

Step 2: Find The Location Of Dipstick

Find The Location Of Dipstick

You should try your best to differentiate between oil and transmission dipstick. An oil dipstick often has a small colored handle at the top of the engine, which will make it easier for you to locate.

In case you still find it difficult to find the dipstick placement, it is advisable to check the owner’s manual instructions. There will be pictures with detailed notes for you to find the dipstick tube.

Step 3: Pull The Dipstick And Clean It

Pull The Dipstick And Clean It

This step will help you solve the difficulty reading oil dipstick. After finding the right location of this stick, pull it out and use a paper towel to clean its bottom.

After using it for a long time, your dipstick can be dirty, and dust will make it hard for you to read the correct level accurately.

Removing all the residual oil that may cover the dipstick means nothing to worry about the oil level true reading.

Step 4: Reinstall The Dipstick

Reinstall The Dipstick

Once the dipstick is clean, you can easily have your car’s accurate oil level reading. Reinstalling the dipstick before rechecking the engine oil level would be helpful.

The dipstick should be fitted to get enough oil for checking. If you notice any squeaky sound while assembling the dipstick, try to pull out and reinstall it until it is in the right position.

Step 5: Pull The Dipstick Again And Read The Oil Level

Pull The Dipstick Again And Read The Oil Level

Now that your dipstick is clean and ready for checking the oil level, pull the dipstick again to get your work done.

If you are still confused and don’t know how to read an oil dip stick correctly, here is a great tip for you.

When you observe closely at the end of the dipstick, it has two marks for “low” and “full” oil levels. The lower line means the oil is at the minimum level, while the upper line shows the maximum level.

The oil level is considered ideal when it is between the two lines, proving that it works wonders for your engine performance.

If you notice the level is closer to the lower or upper line, you had better add more oil or use up a little more to make it return to the stable level.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When Should You Check The Oil Level?

If you want the most accurate result when you check the oil level, it would be best to know the exact time to start checking.

The perfect time to inspect your engine oil is when it is cool or cold. Should you do the dipstick reading after the engine runs, it will not show the correct oil level result.

It is recommended to check the oil level before you turn on the engine or after you shut it down for 5 to 10 minutes. By doing this, you can measure precisely since all the oil now pours down in the oil pan.

2. Why Does Your Engine Need The Proper Level Of Oil?

The engine oil is considered as the soul of the system, making it smoother for your car to perform on the street.

That’s why it is essential for the engine to have the proper level of oil. A suitable amount of oil will keep the engine running well while preventing it from getting dirt or overheating.

This is when you need an oil dipstick to help you check the proper oil level to ensure there is enough oil for the smooth operation of the engine system.

You had better get a regular check to adjust the oil volume according to the recommended level.

3. How Much Oil On The Dipstick Is Suitable?

There is no definite answer to this question because each dipstick will show different reading results according to each car model. You should check carefully with the seller to know exactly your car model.

Generally, most cars need about 1 liter of oil on the dipstick. This is an adequate amount for a car, provided that it is running smoothly and doesn’t have any serious problems with the engine.

However, if your car has warning noises or intermittent flashing Check Engine light, you had better fill more oil until your car is back to normal to ensure its good performance.

4. Is It Easy To Replace A Dipstick?

Like any other mechanical tool for cars, an oil dipstick can be worn out, leading to an inaccuracy reading level.

But you don’t have to worry about the replacement since it is easy enough for you to find a new dipstick.

There are many options for you to choose from with different materials at a diversifying price range. The price can be as low as $5 and go up to about $130.

If your dipstick is not broken beyond repair, you can opt for the option of repairing it yourself. Remember to clean the dipstick with soap and water before gluing the broken pieces together.


After reading this article, I hope you are confident in reading the dipstick since you can learn some effective ways when it comes to having the engine oil dipstick hard to read.

It is advisable to strictly follow the instructions to get the best result when the problem arises.

At first, it may seem difficult as you are not used to technical issues.

However, once you have mastered the skill of reading an oil dipstick, there’s nothing that can prevent you from enjoying your unforgettable ride.

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