94 Civic Oil Level Check (overfill problems)

After researching this topic after I got an oil change that "appeared" to be about 3/4 quart over-filled, I've come to this conclusion:
There are hundreds of posts concerning Honda's being overfilled after
putting in the EXACT amount of oil the manual calls for.
When you check the oil on a 94 Civic (possibly others), wipe the dipstick then ONLY stick the dipstick back in without "pushing it all the way in." (The dipstick has a rubber-seal or something that requires you to push it down into place.) Allow it to just sit on the top of the dipstick hole, and don't push it all the way down into place.
When you do this, the oil shows at EXACTLY the top hole... just like it's supposed to.
The japanese guys who designed this engine must've figured this when they made the engine. They just didn't tell us about it.
I know there are a few other engines that have the dipstick labeled this way... telling you NOT to screw on when checking the level.. etc. I remember a briggs-stratton engine we had on our riding lawn-mover had that label.
Dale
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On 7/21/2006 7:42 PM snipped-for-privacy@cox.net spake these words of knowledge:

The manual gives a capacity. It doesn't tell you the EXACT amount of oil to put in. It tells you to fill it. You measure how full it is by using the dipstick.

Wrong. Let's review: you cannot drain every ounce of the oil that is in your engine. If the capacity is 4.2 quarts, you may only be able to drain 3.1 quarts out, for example. That means you should only add 3.1 quarts back in, bringing it back up to full capacity.

If there is such an instruction with your engine, you should heed it. (There are no Honda engines with such an instruction.) Otherwise, you should insert the dipstick all the way, as designed, to check the oil level.
Remember, the capacity given in your owner's manual is just that: the capacity. You should only *add* that much if you take the engine apart - that's the only way you'll ever *drain* that much out.
RFT!!! Dave Kelsen
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having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words." -- George Eliot
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spake these words of

Both the Owner's Manual and the shop manual are quite specific. They both give an amount of oil to be installed in the engine after a drain and filter removal. This IS the EXACT amount of oil to be installed when changing your oil.
However...
Several points to be made here:
1) Oil change shops will often round up the amount they add. A car calling for 3.8qt will usually receive 4.0qt.
2) Owners may check their oil level on sloped ground, while the oil change place will have changed it on a flat concrete pad. You would be amazed how few road/parking lot/driveway surfaces are actually FLAT and LEVEL. Most are sloped to facilitate water drainage.
3) If the engine oil was barely warm when it was brought in for the change and the tech did not let it sit for 15 minutes or a half-hour, there may be lots of oil hung up in the galleys and on internal surfaces which will not drain, but will get added to the new oil, resulting in a possible overfilled condition. The safest thing to do is to drain the oil cold, after sitting overnight, or drain it when hot, immediately after a minimum half-hour drive.
4) Regardless of what the manual says, it is a terrible idea to check your oil level "a few minutes" after shutting the engine down. The best thing to do is to always check it during the identical same set of circumstances, such as after standing overnight. Failure to allow sufficient drainage into the oil pan will result in a falsely low reading, leading the owner to add oil when none was needed.
5) The temperature of the oil in Item 4 is the critical determinant in oil level and how long it takes for it to all drain back into the oil pan. Engine coolant temperature cannot be used to determine how hot the oil is. The oil takes much longer to heat up than the coolant does.
6) It is utterly stupid to fail to fully seat the dipstick when checking the oil. The dipstick MUST be pushed in as far as it can go when checking, and the level MUST be checked two or three times, wiping the stick before each reinsertion. No exceptions to this rule. Period.
7) A small amount of overfilling (up to 1/8" over the top of the upper hole) is quite acceptable and should not be of any concern. Any more should be drained off.
--
TeGGeR

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