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Urgent: Think my oil is low... But I can't tell

 
Old 02-24-2019, 06:19 PM
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KingCorvette93
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Default Urgent: Think my oil is low... But I can't tell

Hey folks,

Thanks for helping me out so quickly, as I am on a short road trip!

I got in my car to leave the beach, and the Check Oil Level message appeared. Since the car should be warm for an accurate reading, I drove the car gently for about 5-7 miles until it was 175 degrees. I then waited 5 minutes for the oil to settle, and I checked it.

Wow, this dipstick is not helpful! However... It seemed that the oil was below the three dots! So, I grabbed the emergency quart from my trunk and added half of it (I only added half because the dipstick was so vague... Didn't want to add too much!).

I then drove another few miles down the road until the oil was north of 200 degrees. I checked the oil again, waiting 10+ minutes this time. The picture is of the reading I got after adding the half quart.

Danger zone?!? Add the rest of the quart? Where did my oil go? I have only had the car for about 3k miles, and the oil life is at 56%.

Repercussions of this incident?

Thank you so much!


Last edited by KingCorvette93; 02-24-2019 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 02-24-2019, 06:29 PM
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Corvette_Ed
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You're about a quart low, but since you can still see oil on the stick you're not going to break anything. Just add another quart of oil, keep an eye on it while you're on your trip, and when you get back figure out where the oil leak is because you obviously have one. Other than that, just enjoy your trip.

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Old 02-24-2019, 06:36 PM
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captain vette
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even after adding a half quart of oil your dipsticks pics show you still running low oil level. Just ad some oil til it’s on the safe zone.
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Old 02-24-2019, 06:37 PM
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KingCorvette93
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Originally Posted by Corvette_Ed View Post
You're about a quart low, but since you can still see oil on the stick you're not going to break anything. Just add another quart of oil, keep an eye on it while you're on your trip, and when you get back figure out where the oil leak is because you obviously have one. Other than that, just enjoy your trip.
Thank you so much! So you're saying I'm about 1 quart low based on the picture (after I added the half quart). So I was 1.5 quarts short earlier.

Ok, so I'll add what I have left in the jug and purchase another quart asap.

Where should the oil level be on the stick relative to the holes?
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Old 02-24-2019, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by KingCorvette93 View Post
Where should the oil level be on the stick relative to the holes?
It needs to be in that checkered area. That's what another poster referred to as the safe zone.

Always remove, clean, then reinsert and remove dipstick to properly check the oil level.

Edit: also wanted to mention that you never want to put too much either. I always try and keep mine in the upper half of the checkered area.

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Old 02-24-2019, 07:02 PM
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How can you say the dipstick is not helpful and vague? How much clearer does it have to be?
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Old 02-24-2019, 07:13 PM
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Page 6-20 of your 2010 Owner's Manual


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Old 02-24-2019, 07:19 PM
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KingCorvette93
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Originally Posted by Vet Interested View Post
How can you say the dipstick is not helpful and vague? How much clearer does it have to be?
The pictured reading came out ok... But the oil markings around the middle hole confused me. The first readings I took before adding the half quart were not clear at all.

So to answer your question, my threshold for clear and obvious is much higher than yours.
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Old 02-24-2019, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by KingCorvette93 View Post
Thank you so much! So you're saying I'm about 1 quart low based on the picture (after I added the half quart). So I was 1.5 quarts short earlier.

Ok, so I'll add what I have left in the jug and purchase another quart asap.

Where should the oil level be on the stick relative to the holes?
Your oil level should be even with the top hole on the dipstick for it to read as "full." You definitely have an oil leak somewhere, though, so make sure to have it checked once you get back.
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Old 02-24-2019, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Vette_DD View Post
Page 6-20 of your 2010 Owner's Manual

Thank you! Can you link me to this electronic version?
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Old 02-24-2019, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Corvette_Ed View Post
Your oil level should be even with the top hole on the dipstick for it to read as "full." You definitely have an oil leak somewhere, though, so make sure to have it checked once you get back.
Yes, clearly a leak going on. Although I was not aware of this issue, I assume responsibility because I should have been regularly checking the oil.

Hope everything is okay with the engine, considering I have been driving around just like normal... (visits to redline when car is warm, etc.) Unknowingly with the engine oil low...

Good thing I had the wherewithal to keep an extra quart handy, though!!

Last edited by KingCorvette93; 02-24-2019 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 02-24-2019, 07:34 PM
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Have you checked under the engine to make sure that is not a severe oil leak? Is the car smoking out the exhaust? Run your finger in the exhaust and see if you have oily residue. The oil went somewhere. Either the oil level was drastically low before you started the trip or you have something wrong.
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Old 02-24-2019, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by cmonkey713 View Post
Have you checked under the engine to make sure that is not a severe oil leak? Is the car smoking out the exhaust? Run your finger in the exhaust and see if you have oily residue. The oil went somewhere. Either the oil level was drastically low before you started the trip or you have something wrong.
I suspect there is a very slow leak going on somewhere. So, I believe that the oil level was low before I set out on the short trip. I fault for not being diligent and checking the oil regularly.

Exhaust is not smoking. As far as the exhaust tips, my recollection is that they are a bit black inside. Not sure if this is just exhaust residue, or burnt oil. I can grab some pictures a little bit later!
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Old 02-24-2019, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by KingCorvette93 View Post
Thank you! Can you link me to this electronic version?
https://my.chevrolet.com/learn
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Old 02-24-2019, 08:21 PM
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Where did the oil register on your dipstick when you bought the car?

Have you changed the oil, or had hit changed since you got the car? If so, where did the oil register on the dipstick when done?

Did they girl/guy that changed your car only put 5 quarts of oil in?
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Old 02-24-2019, 08:23 PM
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If you lost a quart of oil from a leak since you've owned the car, you would see it on the ground where you park the car.
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Old 02-24-2019, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by jimijam View Post
If you lost a quart of oil from a leak since you've owned the car, you would see it on the ground where you park the car.
Originally Posted by jimijam View Post
Where did the oil register on your dipstick when you bought the car?

Have you changed the oil, or had hit changed since you got the car? If so, where did the oil register on the dipstick when done?

Did they girl/guy that changed your car only put 5 quarts of oil in?
I bought the car from a Chevrolet dealership, and they said they changed the oil. I am due for the next oil change at 66k, according to the reminder slip. Definitely possible that they only put 5 quarts in it... We all know there are goofballs in the dealership bureaucracy. I just didn't think to check when buying the car; figured it would be fine... Who sells a car with low oil?!

After purchasing the car, I had a general inspection done at a nice Corvette shop, to keep me abreast of any future maintenance (1.5k - 2k miles ago?). They said the oil level was ok!! (Maybe they didn't really check?)

I park in a parking garage - and not the same spot every day - so it is hard to tell for sure if there is a leak simply by looking at the ground. That being said, I have never seen any obvious drip spots.

Just for reference, the engine sounds good - no ticks, bangs, or clinks that might come from a very low oil situation.

Last edited by KingCorvette93; 02-24-2019 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 02-24-2019, 09:15 PM
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Should be very easy to spot and oil in and around the engine. Not a bad idea to jack up the front, put the car on jack stands and crawl around and see if there is any oily spots.

I have learned that unless I personally have changed the oil, I never trust anyone else especially a dealership to do it right. I would bet that the oil in the car was on the low end of the dipstick from the dealership. If you don't find any leaks, you can bet that the dealership did not check the level and only put in a pre-measured amount.

Example: About 2 years ago, I purchased a used 2008 Audi S4. Very nice car. Has a V8 that takes 9 quarts of oil. I drove 50 miles away from the dealership and I get the low oil level warning. Find an Autozone and end up having to add 3 quarts of oil. Called the dealership (BMW dealership), they actually keep detailed records on how much oil is put into what car when doing an oil change. They have an automated machine and for some reason they only added 6 quarts.
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Old 02-24-2019, 09:24 PM
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Burning a quart every 1k-1.5k on these LS engines is not uncommon. Especially if you get on it pretty hard at times. Letting the oil level go down a quart or more is often the casue of so many lifter failures as well. Check your level every 1k miles.
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Old 02-24-2019, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by DSOMC6 View Post
Burning a quart every 1k-1.5k on these LS engines is not uncommon. Especially if you get on it pretty hard at times. Letting the oil level go down a quart or more is often the casue of so many lifter failures as well. Check your level every 1k miles.
Uh...wrong. I've been drag racing my car for the past two seasons and haven't lost a drop of oil. If you're losing oil on a stock motor there's a problem. Oil loss is not something that is common on LS engines.
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