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Should oil levels be checked when the engine is hot or cold?

“Is there a ‘best’ way to check the oil level? I have always checked the oil level with the engine stone cold. I recently read in an auto enthusiast magazine that oil should be checked when the engine is hot – and that seems wrong. What is the REAL answer and why? Thanks.”

David Lease, Oakton, Virginia

Answer

We recommend checking the oil level either before turning on the engine or 5 to 10 minutes after shutting down so you can have all the oil in the oil pan to get an accurate measurement.

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