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No oil on dipstick

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Feb 8, 2018, 9:24 AM

Post #1 of 5 (816 views)
No oil on dipstick Sign In

  I have a 2005 tribute with 120,000 miles on it, and last had the oil changed at 115,500. I usually get it changed at every 5,000 miles, so i took it in a little early. The manual says every 6 months or 7,500 miles, and i had driven 4500 in about 71/2 months, so i figured i would change it at a shop. I checked the oil level 4 weeks prior to this oil change and it was fine. When i took it in the mechanic said there was no oil on the dipstick, and it needed 2 1/2 quarts to get to safe level, and i believe it holds 5 to 5 1/2 quarts.The mechanic told me to drive it 500 miles and bring it back for an oil change. I am just wanting some opinions on this advice to drive it 500 miles. Did it do any damage driving it with no oil on the dipstick? The oil pressure light never came on, and it drove just fine. Their are no apparent leaks, and no signs of burning oil. I am just wanting some opinions about this. Thanks for any feedback.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Feb 8, 2018, 10:31 AM

Post #2 of 5 (809 views)
Re: No oil on dipstick Sign In

Arggh! I'd do that but check it every day now for that 500 miles. IMO this 6 months/7.500 miles is for what manuals call "normal" use which is about nobody. No idling, no hot or cold weather, no stop and go driving and so on or use the "severe" schedule which is 1/2 those times and miles.
Do this: Just put key to run position without starting the engine. Now look and see if an oil warning comes on it should light up as the engine isn't running for low oil pressure is a light bulb check. It that works you may have lucked out but if it has a low oil level warning it should have been on - I find most fail within 10 years you are over counting on a device to warn you so get used to checking it and carry oil with you.

If low oil pressure never happened with light for that working the oil still was working way too hard might have made sludge you can help that by doubling how often you change oil and I'll add use synthetic oil of the correct viscosity and rating for the vehicle still change it but double how often,


Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Feb 8, 2018, 10:47 AM

Post #3 of 5 (805 views)
Re: No oil on dipstick Sign In

If that has the 3.0L DOHC engine those are known for valve cover gaskets leaking. In fact, I'm doing a valve cover reseal on one right now in my service bay. You'll have to get vehicle up on the lift to see leaks.

Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

tractorboy profile image

Feb 9, 2018, 12:39 PM

Post #4 of 5 (771 views)
Re: No oil on dipstick Sign In

I check my oil level and fluids every time I get gas. Both my niece and nephew have bought their own cars with in the last 3 years. They were both used and they did not believe me when I told them to look under the hood every time you get gas. My niece just caught her car in time before it ran dry. She asked " does the oil evaporate" LOL Smile. maybe its the place you are taking the car to. did they sell you the 2.5 quarts you needed?

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Feb 9, 2018, 2:26 PM

Post #5 of 5 (767 views)
Re: No oil on dipstick Sign In

IMO - At some point like for my suggestion is people who own/lease and are in charge of a car should know how and actually check oil manually not trusting warnings. You get an idea how far you go in normal driving for YOU how much if any it uses. A sudden change if caught on time why is great and fix it lots less than needing a new engine never as good as taking care of one but there are limits.
The days of expecting "X" qt. use by miles are much lower if only the machine work of engines is much more accurate new. You might also find it too full and need to know why! Yes - if over fueling by fuel system can be reading too full and a disaster also for an engine.
Self serve everything is the norm and not always a good thing this is one of them.

I'm bad, I showed folks how to check many things themselves and mark things when known good so no surprises out of neglect. 98% of most spare tires have never been checked till you need it can't use it as air does slowly go thru tire's rubber normally plus wild temp swings change tire pressure.

People are keeping cars longer and some use becomes the norm as miles and time gets up there OR worse fluids that shouldn't be consumed just get topped off at the speedy places really should be warning you that shouldn't be consuming a fluid.

If you want to keep stuff longer make it a habit to check and hope this time if not a leak as mentioned by DS just call it slowly the new normal.

I say it should have warned you if you change your own purposely leave engine oil just 1.5 qts. low should show a warning on most cars to prove that works! If not either fix that or if not leaking know how often to check it right now it's scary on this if damage is done so till it settles down or a leak found just check it and have the oil with you that much better,


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