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Discussion Starter #1
I'm sorry for the stupid question.

But with the 124's dipstick Im really having trouble working out the oil content.

Is it supposed to be checked hot or cold?

When checking hot, even after 5 or 10 minutes...

- I pull the dipstick out and it visibly has oil on it
- I wipe the dipstick with a tissue
- Re-insert the dipstick
- Remove the dipstick again for a second time
- This time the dipstick is bone dry

When checking cold, the oil is hardly visible.

There doesn't seem to be a "min" and "max" line?
From the bottom... Theres a smooth tip, then a knurled section about an inch long, then another smooth section, then the flexible ribbed part?
Should the oil level sit somewhere within the smooth section that one or two inches from the bottom?

Thanks for the help.
 

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Oil level should always be checked hot. Bring the engine up to operating temperature, then turn the engine off. Wait a minute. Remove dipstick, wipe it off, re-insert. Remove dipstick a second time, and that's your oil level.

You're low oil.

 

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I think a lot depends on how you drive this engine, but for me I need to add about half a quart every 1000 miles. So keep an eye on it. Don’t overfill!
 

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I drive mine hard. It hasn't consumed a drop.
 

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I don't see any harm in checking when cold if that proves easier for some to get a good read. Tho if nothing is showing on your dipstick when cold, your oil is really quite low.

Count me among those that use oil. About 1/3 quart every 1,000 miles. Need to get that catch can installed this spring.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've had another look (10 minutes after hot) but the knurled part looks bone dry. Has it really ran out of oil? There's no red oilcan warning light that's illuminated on the dashboard.
The car has done just over 6000 miles
 

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I've had another look (10 minutes after hot) but the knurled part looks bone dry. Has it really ran out of oil? There's no red oilcan warning light that's illuminated on the dashboard.
The car has done just over 6000 miles
It is very low.
 

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As per the manual...The level is normal if it is between Low and Full. If it is near or below Low, open the engine oil cap/filler 2 and add enough oil to bring the level to Full.
Note: Do not overfill the engine oil. This may cause engine damage.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the advice. I was just surprised a new car would use that much oil within its first year, so I thought maybe it's me who's reading the dipstick wrong.

In the end I had to add around 250ml of oil to get a reading above the min mark and 1 litre in total to get it around the max mark.
Looking at an online PDF of the owners manual (as I'm away from home at the moment), it looks like the engine oil capacity is 3.2 litres without oil filter replacement and 3.8 litres with oil filter replacement. Im hoping that I found out before the oil level got low enough to cause damage and the 2.8 litres of oil remaining would have still offered some protection.
Hefbadr... Wouldn't a low oil level cause low oil pressure?
 

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You won't see a low pressure warning until the oil pump has no oil to push into the oil distribution system of the engine. As long as the pump can steadily grab oil, you will have pressure, even when the available oil volume is low. The dipstick itself is the low oil volume warning device, but it only works when you check it regularly.

I would suggest a new habit of weekly dipstick checks even with what you would consider your own normal driving habits, and maybe before and after any sessions of spirited driving.

Lastly, if you have been driving long miles on this current low-fill of oil, I'd do a oil and filter change right now. Down one liter for an extended period has taxed this lower than normal amount of oil, shortening its service life. Change it now and develop new oil maintenance habits.

Steve.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I would suggest a new habit of weekly dipstick checks even with what you would consider your own normal driving habits, and maybe before and after any sessions of spirited driving.
I was thinking just that, as the thought of doing a 1000 miles at motorway speeds with hardly any oil in the engine makes me shudder.

Maybe I shouldn't have assumed that a new car wouldn't use any oil.

"Assumptions are the mother of all f*** ups"
 

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Yes, shudder! You're on the right track now, so it's time to stop worrying, and drive!

Steve.
 

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...add enough oil to bring the level to Full.
This has always puzzled me, on all cars. How much is ‘enough’? I do wish they would say the volume between low and full. Can’t be that hard to document, can it?

When you add (cold) oil, it has to make its way to the sump, so checking immediately after adding oil it may still read low, and you run the chance of overfilling trying to bring it up.

Am I missing something that everyone else knows? :shrug:
 

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I have this image of old tv shows with some guy pulling into a gas, before self serve. “Morning sir, filler up?” Then with out asking they clean the windshield and check the oil. Because I guess that is what you did back then, check the oil all the time.

It has been a long time since I have done this, and that was on used cars in high school. TR7, Spitfire, and X19. After those (which used less oil than my 124) it has not been an issue since. Pretty strange. Then it does not hold much oil on top of that. So if I designed an engine that I knew would go through oil, I might have some common sense kick in and add a buffer by holding at least 1 more quart of oil. Just sayin’

We can just call it Italian character. I have never named a car, but tempting now, some beautiful, high maintainance Italian name maybe. Plus she always needs new bling, facials, spa days, new nails, lip stick, and trips to the country. At least she does like to be driven hard and put away wet, nasty girl!

Here’s hoping she ages gracefully!


Allegra: Meaning ‘cheerful, lively’ in Italian
 

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It is very low.
Thanks for all the advice. I was just surprised a new car would use that much oil within its first year, so I thought maybe it's me who's reading the dipstick wrong.

In the end I had to add around 250ml of oil to get a reading above the min mark and 1 litre in total to get it around the max mark.
Looking at an online PDF of the owners manual (as I'm away from home at the moment), it looks like the engine oil capacity is 3.2 litres without oil filter replacement and 3.8 litres with oil filter replacement. Im hoping that I found out before the oil level got low enough to cause damage and the 2.8 litres of oil remaining would have still offered some protection.
Hefbadr... Wouldn't a low oil level cause low oil pressure?
Ben:

As long as the oil pump is being fed oil without ingesting air due to an excessively low oil level, then oil pressure will be normal. Any time the pump is starved of oil the pressure will drop or go to zero.
 

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This has always puzzled me, on all cars. How much is ‘enough’? I do wish they would say the volume between low and full. Can’t be that hard to document, can it?

When you add (cold) oil, it has to make its way to the sump, so checking immediately after adding oil it may still read low, and you run the chance of overfilling trying to bring it up.

Am I missing something that everyone else knows? :shrug:
It's not always that easy, there are many variables. Oil contract and expands with temperature, oil remains in the head and upper engine galleys right after you turn the engine off, that's why the correct procedure is:
1. Park in a level area, get the engine up to temperature and turn off.
2. Wait 5-10 minutes to allow all the oil in the engine to drain back to the crankcase.
3. Remove the dipstick and wipe, the reason the OP sees oil in the dipstick during the first pull is due to the oil splashing around the engine while it's running, as long as it's not bone dry, there should be some splashing.
4. Wipe the dipstick clean and reinsert.
5. Remove dipstick and read.
In my experience, the standard is one quart of oil between the low and high sections of the hashed are of the dipstick.

I always check the dipstick after an oil change even if the dealer has done it, then you can know where in the hashed area, your engine is full of oil.

I don't have a 124 yet, but my wife has a Fiat 500C and it burns some oil between changes.

She wants to trade to a pearl white/saddle 124 Lusso auto with all options. When they get to the around $15k price, I may pull the trigger. Maybe this winter.
 

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With the 1.4 MultiAir, low oil can cause the motor to stop running unexpectedly, particularly in situations such as hard turns. I'm not talking bone dry, but low. If you are barely seeing oil on the dipstick, or no oil on the dipstick, you could be low enough for this to happen. When low on oil, there can be issues with getting enough pressure in the MultiAir system to operate the intake valves. If they stop moving, the motor stops running. You really don't want this to happen. The motor only holds 4 quarts, so there is not a lot of wiggle room here. Check your oil regularly.
 

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With the 1.4 MultiAir, low oil can cause the motor to stop running unexpectedly, particularly in situations such as hard turns. I'm not talking bone dry, but low. If you are barely seeing oil on the dipstick, or no oil on the dipstick, you could be low enough for this to happen. When low on oil, there can be issues with getting enough pressure in the MultiAir system to operate the intake valves. If they stop moving, the motor stops running. You really don't want this to happen.
Excellent point, the MultiAir system uses oil pressure to actuate the intake valves, that's the main reason I err on changing the oil at around 3k miles instead of whenever the computer says. I don't want dirty oil clogging the minuscule paths of the MultiAir system.
 
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