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Thread: Strange Oil Change problem - can't read the dipstick properly, low oil level warning

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Strange Oil Change problem - can't read the dipstick properly, low oil level warning

    I posted this in another thread, but will create a new one since I need to decide what to do.

    Background - 9/28/2018 - 1st oil change at around 3k miles. Put the car on homemade ramps and drained the oil overnight since removing the filter with a band wrench took to long and I decided to fill the oil the next day.

    I added a little over 4 quarts of Mobil 1 0W-20 AFE and decided to take the car off the ramps (started the engine) to check the oil level. The oil container showed slightly < 1 quart remained in the 5 quart jug. Since I pre-filled the oil filter, the low oil pressure light never illuminated. A dipstick check revealed the oil was above the full mark and on the twisted portion (Note: the oil was fairly thick on this part). There was a very thin layer on the bottom of the dipstick that went slightly over the low mark. The dipstick has two holes to mark the levels, not lines. I checked the oil only after letting the oil drain back into the oil pan for at least 5 minutes. Also, I pulled the dipstick straight out of the tube. My father reasoned that the fact that there was a thin layer of oil on the dipstick covering the low mark, that the oil level was ok. The strange thing was there was very little oil between the two level marks, as though it were wiped off while pulling the dipstick out.

    The car was driven back to my residence a total of about 100 miles and parked.

    Today, I drove the car to and from my carpool meeting place. When I pulled into my parking space, I noticed the low oil level light (orange color) was illuminated. I had to search the manual to see what the symbol meant, as it was not the low oil pressure warning light. My parking space is on a hill so I restarted the car and drove to a more level area to check the oil, again after letting the oil drain back about 5 minutes before checking it. The reading was unchanged from yesterday, so no apparent leaks that I could see where I parked it overnight. I wiped the dipstick and checked one more time. Same result.

    I restarted the car and drove it back to my parking space. There was no low oil level warning light illuminated, except for as described above.

    My dilemma is I think the oil could be low since the Mazda manual states the 2.5 l engine requires 4.4 quarts with an oil and filter change. Since the oil level warning light never came on after driving 100 miles and did not come on after checking the oil today, should I add more oil? I would like to avoid over-filling the engine; however, I want to make sure the oil is not low.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    cx5 gt +pp 2018

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    Put 5 us quarts you should be good.
    It actually takes a bit more if you want exact full mark, but 5 will bring you a bit over the mid level mark.
    There are few posts in the forum that outline the discrepancy.

  3. #3
    Banned Chris_Top_Her's Avatar
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    Imo get a baseline right after you change your oil (5qt jug everytime) so you know what the cold oil level is (I also prefilled filter). But the 0w20 is harder to read anyways and blows by (consume) easily. Also you'd have to put close to 7 qt to actually overfill the engine to the point where a moving part might aerate the oil.
    Last edited by Chris_Top_Her; 09-30-2019 at 07:27 PM.

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    Thanks, cz5gt & Christopher! I'll just dump the rest of the jug in. After doing my own servicing of my wife's 2010 3S and my former 2011 3i Touring, this new car is very complicated - 600+ page owners manual? I had to find a web-based one that was searchable.

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    I do 5.5 qt in all of mine.

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    I put 5 qt + 425cc in mine. Almost 5.5 quarts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IamVAguy View Post
    Thanks, cz5gt & Christopher! I'll just dump the rest of the jug in. After doing my own servicing of my wife's 2010 3S and my former 2011 3i Touring, this new car is very complicated - 600+ page owners manual? I had to find a web-based one that was searchable.
    Here is a link to a group of manuals for your 2018 CX-5. The top one is a pdf of the owner's manual. Right-click on it and Save Link As or Save File As and download it to your hard drive. There's also an interactive web-based one there. They have yet to post an interactive web-based manual for the 2019 model year.

  8. #8
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    Arrow Strange Oil Change problem - can't read the dipstick properly, low oil level warning

    Quote Originally Posted by IamVAguy View Post
    ⋯ Background - 9/28/2018 - 1st oil change at around 3k miles. Put the car on homemade ramps and drained the oil overnight since removing the filter with a band wrench took to long and I decided to fill the oil the next day.

    I added a little over 4 quarts of Mobil 1 0W-20 AFE and decided to take the car off the ramps (started the engine) to check the oil level. The oil container showed slightly < 1 quart remained in the 5 quart jug. Since I pre-filled the oil filter, the low oil pressure light never illuminated. A dipstick check revealed the oil was above the full mark and on the twisted portion (Note: the oil was fairly thick on this part). There was a very thin layer on the bottom of the dipstick that went slightly over the low mark. The dipstick has two holes to mark the levels, not lines. I checked the oil only after letting the oil drain back into the oil pan for at least 5 minutes. Also, I pulled the dipstick straight out of the tube. My father reasoned that the fact that there was a thin layer of oil on the dipstick covering the low mark, that the oil level was ok. The strange thing was there was very little oil between the two level marks, as though it were wiped off while pulling the dipstick out.

    My dilemma is I think the oil could be low since the Mazda manual states the 2.5 l engine requires 4.4 quarts with an oil and filter change. Since the oil level warning light never came on after driving 100 miles and did not come on after checking the oil today, should I add more oil? I would like to avoid over-filling the engine; however, I want to make sure the oil is not low.
    Mazda says the engine oil capacity for SkyActiv-G 2.5L is 4.8 quarts in specification of owner’s manual. But the actual oil capacity from our DIY experience is 5.3~5.5 quarts to reach the Full mark of the dipstick depending on that how long you’ve drained the old oil. You definitely under-filled the oil for oil change with only 4 quarts of fresh oil.

    Most people here put in 5 quarts of oil for DIY oil change. The oil level should reach ⅔ between Add and Full marks.

    Since 0W-20 oil is thin, sometimes it’s hard to read on dipstick. The best way to check the oil level is to do it the first thing in the morning before the engine start. One pull of dipstick without wiping it, you can see the oil level clearly indicated on dipstick!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by yrwei52 View Post
    Mazda says the engine oil capacity for SkyActiv-G 2.5L is 4.8 quarts in specification of owner*s manual. But the actual oil capacity from our DIY experience is 5.3~5.5 quarts to reach the Full mark of the dipstick depending on that how long you*ve drained the old oil. You definitely under-filled the oil for oil change with only 4 quarts of fresh oil.

    Most people here put in 5 quarts of oil for DIY oil change. The oil level should reach * between Add and Full marks.

    Since 0W-20 oil is thin, sometimes it*s hard to read on dipstick. The best way to check the oil level is to do it the first thing in the morning before the engine start. One pull of dipstick without wiping it, you can see the oil level clearly indicated on dipstick!
    I'll definitely add more oil next time. There's no way I can accurately check my oil at my residence since my parking spaces slant downhill. That's why I decided to take the risk of moving the car to a more level area in the adjoining neighborhood. It is strange that the low oil level light never went on until over 100 mi of driving. I guess that's why they're called idiot lights. The sensor appears to be inconsistent because it only went on for 15 secs, the time it took me to pull into my subdivision and park - most of that time the front end of the car was slanted downhill.

  10. #10
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    Thanks, Avoiding Deer. I regularly use the web-based version that's saved as a favorite - it's especially useful for your smartphone.
    Last edited by IamVAguy; 10-01-2019 at 11:07 AM.

  11. #11
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    Just to ask a real basic question...

    When you check your oil level...you are doing the following?:

    You pull the dipstick out.
    Wipe it off completely.
    Re-insert all the way in and then immediately pull it out.
    Check the level.

    I asuume the CX-5 has a dip stick like any other car?

    If you don't wipe off the stick first every time...it'll always look full because of the oil flowing down to the pan or the engine splashing it about.

    I only ask since...well...I can't think of any reason you would be low but the stick shows full.

    Also...there is usually no need to pre-fill an oil filter. Just fill oil to the max level of the dip stick. Run the car for 2 minutes. And check the level again. Depending on the engine, the level will decrease usually somewhere in the middle. If it is too low for your liking...put in a bit more oil.

    -Mike

  12. #12
    Structural Member shadonoz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IamVAguy View Post
    I'll definitely add more oil next time. There's no way I can accurately check my oil at my residence since my parking spaces slant downhill. That's why I decided to take the risk of moving the car to a more level area in the adjoining neighborhood. It is strange that the low oil level light never went on until over 100 mi of driving. I guess that's why they're called idiot lights. The sensor appears to be inconsistent because it only went on for 15 secs, the time it took me to pull into my subdivision and park - most of that time the front end of the car was slanted downhill.
    I have the same problem: slopes everywhere. I take mine to a flat spot down the street and park it overnight. Check it first thing in the morning. Never had a problem reading the dipstick.

    To clarify, that idiot light is for low oil pressure, not level. The level has to be a lot lower than four qts. for that light to go on.

  13. #13
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    If your low oil pressure light is illuminating you will shave years off the life of the engine if not ruin it right away. Did you use an OEM filter?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadonoz View Post
    I have the same problem: slopes everywhere. I take mine to a flat spot down the street and park it overnight. Check it first thing in the morning. Never had a problem reading the dipstick.

    To clarify, that idiot light is for low oil pressure, not level. The level has to be a lot lower than four qts. for that light to go on.
    Here's the light that I saw - I was confused since it was not the low oil pressure light which is RED.

    2018 CX-5 Low Oil Level warning.png The Low Oil Level warning light came on only briefly. Now that I added the remaining oil in the 5 Qt jug, the oil reading is fine - a uniform, thick film right between the Full and Add marks.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyFirstMazda View Post
    If your low oil pressure light is illuminating you will shave years off the life of the engine if not ruin it right away. Did you use an OEM filter?
    See my post at 12:30 pm - it has an attached screenshot of the 2018 CX-5 Owners manual. It was not the low oil pressure warning light.

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