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i know this is a n00b question. i'm trying to see if this new shop actually put enough oil in the car. i take out dipstip, i wipe clean with paper towel, i put it back in for like 10 seconds, then take it out and i look at it. i see the max and the min line, but i only see oil in the bottom of the dipstick (bottom below the min line). i see no oil in between the 2 lines, but if i take the towel and tab the dipstick again or i use my fingers to touch in between the lines i get oil. so visually i can't see oil but it seems like there's oil there...? read in both warm and cool temps. comments?
 

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Make sure you dry the dipstick really really really well. Then dry it again. Then stick it in and pull it out slowly (TWSS), and read it in good lighting by turning it side to side. With the right light you will be able to see the reflection of light off of the glossy oil. It is the dumbest design ever but it can be read.
 

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Just wanted to add a bit more detail since I just changed my oil over the weekend.

1) Park your car on a flat surface and turn off engine.
2) Open the hood and pull the dipstick up at least 2 inches (or remove it completely).
3) Wipe the dipstick with clean tissue/Kleenex. Really clean the indentation with your thumb.
4) Wait around 5 minutes before putting the dipstick in.
5) Insert dipstick slowly and completely, making sure the notches line up.
6) Remove dipstick just as slowly
7) Hold horizontally, one hand holding the yellow ring and the other dipstick end resting on some tissue, supported by your other hand.
8) Under excellent lighting rotate dipstick slightly to see exactly where it's dry vs where it's wet.
9) Repeat a few times to get consistent readings (USE CLEAN DRY TISSUE). Add a minute or two in between checks if necessary.

I agree that dipstick sucks and I don't think an average driver should have to do it this way. Seems to be an engineering problem and not a consumer's. But with the low viscosity and brand new, light-colored or almost clear synthetic oil it's pretty hard. Very easy to check though if you've put many miles on the oil after it darkens.

You don't want to be driving with too little or too much. Both conditions will permanently damage your motor. As a note with my 2008 2.3 liter PZEV motor, OEM spin-on oil filter conversion, and OEM spin-on filter I use exactly 1 gallon of 5w-20 Eneos synthetic. It nets me 50% oil level (halfway between minimum and maximum on the dipstick) right after an oil change. I run the motor until the water temperature reaches at least 188 degrees Fahrenheit before checking multiple times.

Last weekend when I checked after 5,000 miles, the oil dipstick level was still at 45%!! Much of it was pretty hard, but no drag strip/race track action this time. Consumes very little compared to others I've used before like Amsoil. I've noticed this in the past that on both of my face-lifted 2.3 liter Mazda 3's (and all 3 motors) how oil consumption was noticeably lower. I'm impressed, and going to keep watching it like a hawk now :)
 

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What about filing the backside of the POS dipstick smooth? This may make it like all other flat, smooth, steel dipsticks...

No big deal if it doesn't help, won't damage anything... I may have to try this..
 

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[quote author=CalgaryMazda3 link=topic=210992.msg4250938#msg4250938 date=1342658667]
What about filing the backside of the POS dipstick smooth? This may make it like all other flat, smooth, steel dipsticks...

No big deal if it doesn't help, won't damage anything... I may have to try this..
[/quote]

If anything, you want to roughen it up so the oil has something to stick to. I tried filing the side of mine, didn't make any difference.
 

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Well I took the 5 minutes to file the back of the aluminum end of the dipstick smooth & shiny. I left the p/n's visible on it.
The back side is now shiny & you can now actually see the oil level if you get a light reflection on it.

I just changed the oil in it last w/end, so I'm dealing with crystal clear, clean oil. Worst case scenario.
I'm sure the smooth backside will help when the oil darkens up a bit. :)
 
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Not sure if anyone is following this, but now that our Mazda has about a month on the oil, the modded dipstick works perfect. :)

As I mentioned above, filing the back of the aluminum dipstick smooth has made it just like any other steel dipstick.
A flat surface to read the oil level on, just like all other dipsticks.

The engineer who over-engineered the Mazda dipstick is the one who is really the dipstick.
 
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I agree it is easier to read the backside of the dipstick. Also, have the engine off a minimum of 20 minutes before checking the oil, at least with the 2.0, don't know why, but the oil tends to drop back to the pan very slowly.

Finally, immediately after a change, put in the estimated amount of oil, less 0.5 a quart, then gently drive the car a mile or two, then park on level ground and wait the 20 minutes. Again, don't know why, but at least with the 2.0, you have to actually drive it a little bit, then shut the engine off, to get a good accurate reading after refilling with new oil.

All the above, is why I DIY it, even though it involves crawling on the ground and saves no money.
 

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[quote author=halo0 link=topic=210992.msg4265009#msg4265009 date=1346180460]
I saved a ton of money on oil changes by getting great deals on oil.
[/quote]This. Easy to get a metric shit ton of savings by buying your own oil.
 

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With regularity, in my area, change places and small garages offer $19.99 coupon deals, for name dino or semi-synth. Factor in the cost of the filter (a mediocre one at a change place, but a filter nevertheless), and avoiding the messing around with recycling involved when you DIY, I'll stand by saying, for me personally, no money is saved. If I was 99.9% confident the change places would fill to the exact correct level, with the right product, I'd use them.

Plus, I don't want to be that 1 in 10000 person who experiences the horror story of, they used transmission fluid not motor oil, they severely over/under tightened the drain plug, or the other misc galactic eff ups you hear about. This more than anything justifies the crawling around on the ground.
 
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