No Oil On Dipstick [Reasons + Solutions]

The dipstick not showing oil but the engine has oil! We bet you go through the following issues that cause no oil on dipstick or your dipstick to fail to detect oil: 

  • Very Low Oil Level
  • Oil Leaks
  • Oil consumption is increased by your engine
  • Oil does not settle down

We will also break down the negative effects if there is no oil in your car and what you should do regarding this.

Turns out, we will discuss why you can’t see oil on the dipstick besides those above-mentioned issues. Without further ado, let’s dive deeper to know everything. 

What Causes No Oil On Dipstick?

This chapter will break down why you can’t see oil on the dipstick. So, keep reading. 

1. Very Low Oil Level

A very low engine oil level is the main culprit that shows no oil on the dipstick. Generally, most dipsticks don’t go all the way to the bottom of the oil pan.

So, the chances are there may be oil in the bottom of the oil pan, and you are just a quart or two low. In short, the dipstick can’t reach below the top two quarts and measure the oil level in the pan. 

2. Oil Leaks

Defective or damaged valve seals are the reason behind an oil leak. Oil leaks also occur if there are cracks in the engine due to excessive wear & tear. These leaks within the oil supply lines will allow the oil to seep out when you add oils to your engine.

Your dipstick will show no oil because of these leaks. The oil empty rate will depend on the severity of the leaks and their numbers. 

3. Oil Consumption Is Increased

Cold conditions cause your engine to consume more oil than when you changed the oil last time. Because of the cold engine, it causes several engine issues like defective engine parts. 

Therefore, a damaged head gasket can encourage your engine to ingest more oil than usual. It is because the head gasket creates a seal between the engine block and the cylinder head.

If the head gasket gets damaged or cracked, your engine will consume more oil. In other words, your dipstick fails to identify oil if there is less oil in the crankcase.  

4. You May Just Change The Oil

Yes, it may sound crazy. But, indeed, you can’t see any oil on the dipstick if you just change the engine oil. Just let the oil settle for five to ten minutes. Then, check the oil level using your dipstick. 

Note: You can also read Can I Change My Own Oil On A Lease.

What Happens If There Is No Oil In The Car Engine?

The vehicle engine consists of many moving parts. When you run the engine, these moving parts spin or move at an incredible speed.

The oil pump lets the oil flow through passages to those moving parts. As a result, it will create a film and keep those moving parts separated from each other. 

If there is no oil or a lack of oil, those moving parts will start touching each other and create metal friction. Indeed, no oil in the engine will destroy the engine in a matter of seconds.

So, whenever the dipstick shows no oil,  fill your engine with oil to protect the engine. 

What To Do If The Dipstick Shows No Oil?

We recommend you check the oil level frequently. If there is no oil on the dipstick, we recommend adding a quart ASAP.

Then, check and see if the level shows on the dipstick, and pour more oil if necessary until it shows full. 

If there are any oil leaks, bring your car to your local garage and fix those issues. 

Other Issues If There Is No Oil On Dipstick

You may also go through the following issue and fail to detect the oil level using the Dipstick. 

1. No Oil On Dipstick But No Leak

Low oil level, but there is no leak! If this is the case for you, we bet your vehicle goes through an oil-burning issue.

Oil burning will happen due to defective engine parts, which allow oil to seep into the combustion chamber. Here are some common reasons responsible for oil burning:

  • The PCV valve gets worn out
  • Piston rings or cylinder walls get worn out
  • Damaged valve seal

We recommend you service your car as soon as possible if you experience a consistently low oil level. 

2. No Oil on Dipstick After Oil Change

You just changed the oil, but the dipstick fails to detect the oil level! You will encounter this issue for several reasons.

The filter is loose, oil is leaking, and you fail to fill the engine with oil correctly are some reasons if no oil shows on the dipstick. 

Just inspect your car and solve these issues. Then, check the oil level with the dipstick. 

Therefore, the new oil has a color similar to honey. So, there is a thin layer on your dipstick due to this fact, and you can hardly detect or see oil on your dipstick.

Also, make sure the dipstick is cold. Oil adheres better to a cold dipstick. 

3. No Oil On Dipstick But No Warning Light

You check the oil level using a dipstick. It shows no oil on the dipstick. So, you pour a quart of oil. But still, the dipstick shows no light. And the heck is- the oil warning light won’t come on. 

Let’s begin with the no-warning light issue. If the warning light gets broken or disconnected, the light will not come on. Therefore, the light won’t come on if there is oil in the engine. 

You may struggle to see the clean oil on the dipstick. Regarding this, wipe the dipstick with a paper towel. Then, put the dipstick in fully and pull it out.

Afterward, place it flat on a clean piece of paper towel and see where the clear mark reaches. Thus, how you can check the oil level correctly. 


How long does it take for oil to show up on the dipstick?

It depends on the engine. However, we recommend you wait at least 5 minutes after you run the engine to get an accurate dipstick measurement.

Can too much oil cause low oil pressure?

Yes, too much oil can cause low oil pressure. When you pour too much oil into the engine, it causes overflow oil and the oil will leak into other parts of the engine.

What are the symptoms of low oil in a car?

Burning oil smell, oil pressure warning light, overheating engine, and strange noises are the symptoms of low oil in your car. 

How do you know if the oil pump is bad?

Low oil pressure, noise, and increased engine operating temperature are the signs that let you know if the oil pump is bad. 

What happens if you put a little too much oil in your car?

If you put a little too much oil in your car, it will damage your car engine due to metal friction. 


Very low oil levels, oil leaks, and increased oil consumption are some reasons that cause no oil on the dipstick. The dipstick will also show no oil if you just change the oil.

We recommend you add a couple of quarts of oil if your dipstick shows no oil. And don’t forget to fix the leaks. 

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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