Dipstick Covered In Oil [5 Easy Solutions]

To find out your dipstick covered in oil may seem like a cause for concern. But that is not always the case. The dipstick can be covered in oil for non-threatening reasons such as measuring your oil level without turning off your car’s engine, not letting the oil sit, or an overheating engine.

On the other hand, some reasons are worth causing concern. These are having a blown-out gasket or putting too much oil in the engine.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your dipstick is covered in oil and what we can do to fix it.

Dipstick Dipstick Covered In Oil [5 Easy Solutions]

We’ll discuss some of the most common reasons that cause your entire dipstick to be covered in oil and what you can do to fix this problem.

1. Measuring Without Turning Off Your Engine

The dipstick must be used to measure oil only when the engine is turned off. If you take the dipstick measurement while the engine is running, it’s likely to be covered in oil. There’s also a chance of causing an accident if you do so.


You must turn off your car’s engine and let the oil sit for at least five to ten minutes.  Then take the dipstick measurement of your oil level. If you get a correct reading now, that means your car is completely fine.

Note: You can also read No oil on the dipstick.

2. Not Letting The Oil Sit

The most common mistake many people make when they’re measuring the oil level is that they don’t let the oil sit properly. You can’t measure the dipstick oil level immediately after turning off the engine.

The oil passes through your dipstick and tries to reach the pan when the engine is turned off. It’s obvious your engine will be filled with oil if you take the reading while the oil is settling.


The best time to measure your dipstick oil level is in the morning. Your car’s engine would have gotten enough rest during the night. That allows for plenty of time to let the oil sit completely. You’d get the correct reading on your dipstick if you measure in the morning.

3. Measuring While The Engine Is Too Hot

You should never measure the oil level when your engine is too hot. Doing that can cause your entire dipstick to be covered in oil. 


Wait for the engine to cool down completely before you measure the oil level. Make sure you’re measuring the oil on a flat surface to get an accurate reading.

4. Faulty Head Gasket

Having a faulty head gasket is the most dangerous reason that causes the oil level to rise. The job of the head gasket is to stop air or coolant from leaking outside. The level of oil can rise if the head gasket is damaged.

A faulty head gasket can also lead to your engine catching fire. If your engine is overheated frequently, there’s a good chance that you have a damaged head gasket.

Another common symptom of a faulty head gasket is to have oil that looks milky or frothy. The engine oil looks this way because it has mixed with air or coolant.


A damaged head gasket is nothing to joke about. It can cause serious damage to your car and you if it’s not fixed right away. Consult a technician immediately and get the head gasket fixed as early as possible.

5. Overfilling Engine Oil

Your dipstick can be completely covered in oil if you have overfilled your engine. This can lead to complete destruction of your car’s engine.


You’ve to drain out the excess oil if you overfilled the oil. Get another reading from your dipstick once you’ve drained the oil.

How To Check Oil Correctly Using A Dipstick?

You need to know what the dipstick readings mean before you start checking the level of oil. If your dipstick reads below the “add” line, you’ve to add oil to the engine. If the reading is above the “full” line, you’ve overfilled on oil. Each of the lines between the “add” and “full” lines represents a quart.

Step 1: Let The Engine Rest And The Oil Sit

The first thing you need to make sure of before checking the dipstick oil level is that you’re on a flat surface. Let the engine rest for a while and let the oil sit to get the best possible reading.

Step 2: Open The Hood And Find The Dipstick

Open the hood of your car and identify the dipstick tube. It’s usually located on the left side of the engine for most cars. Most of the dipsticks have a clear circular handle that is red or orange. Check your manufacturer’s guide if you’re having trouble finding the dipstick.

Step 3: Pull Out The Dipstick

Keep a paper towel in one hand and use your other hand to remove the dipstick. Pull the yellow handle and the dipstick will come right out. Wipe out the oil and then put the dipstick back into the tube. Count for a few seconds and take the dipstick out again.

Step 4: See The Markings

Look at the end of the dipstick and see where the oil ends. A normal reading is when the level of oil is between the “add” and “full” lines. If it’s below the “add” line, add a quart of oil and check again until you cross the “add” line.

It’s perfectly fine if the level of oil is a little above the “full” line. One quart above the “full” line is normal. Drain out the excess oil if the level of oil is above the “full” line.

Your oil dipstick reading unclear means that the oil you’ve been using is too old now.


Is it okay if the oil on my dipstick is clear?

Yes, clear oil on the dipstick is what every car owner loves to see. It means that your air filter and oiling system are doing an excellent job.

How can I check if I have clear oil?

Use the dipstick and feel the texture of the oil using two of your fingers. The oil should feel clean if it is clear. If it feels gritty, the oil is not clean and you should change it.

Where should the oil level be on a dipstick?

The oil level should ideally be anywhere between the “add” and “full” markings on the dipstick.


Now you know the most common causes of dipsticks covered in oil. We’ve also discussed the solutions you can implement to get a correct reading using the dipstick.

Hopefully, you can get an accurate reading using the dipstick now. Let us know if this guide has helped you by leaving a comment below!

About John M

John contributed as a technical head at an automobile company just 2 years after his post-graduation in Automobile Engineering. He loves to lead a free life, so he left his job & started blogging. Now, he does research on every automotive problem, part & product and seeks a better solution & best products & shares his findings with his readers to help them as well as to minimize their struggle.

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