Oil level in a Ford KA

Just bought a secondhand KA but can't get an oil level reading from the dipstick. The bottom 4 inches or so comes up covered in oil to various
degrees, but the oil leaves no clear level mark. Tried inserting the dipstick using different orientations without success, although the dipstick turns as it is inserted so ends up in one of two positions. Best I can get is a mark across half the face of the dipstick near the full notch, but even then only in about 1 in 4 attempts. Doesn't give me much confidence that this is a true reading.
Is this a characteristic of a KA? Anyone have any tips for getting a clear reading?
Jon McD
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Jon McD wrote:

Mine was similar. Leave the car to stand a good while after the engine's been run before you try to read the oil level, and on mine, certain angles worked better than others when you put the dipstick in.
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Jon McD wrote:

this is the kind of question i'd ask before buying the car.
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You'd ask how easy it is to dip the oil?
Be quite a list of questions, then...
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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D'yer know - it's possibly one of the very last questions I'd ever ask!
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Being superstitious brings bad luck
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Have you had any bumps in it?
When did it have its last service?
Does it run on unleaded?
When did the brakes last get replaced?
How easy is it to get a clear dip-stick oil reading?
--Nick?
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What sort of old clunkers have you been buying, then?
Haven't had to ask that question since we had a MkII Fester.
--
Steve H 'You're not a real petrolhead unless you've owned an Alfa Romeo'
http://www.italiancar.co.uk - Honda VFR800 - MZ ETZ300
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By far the best and most accurate way of checking the oil in *any* engine is to check it first thing in the morning, when the engine's been standing for several hours (if overnight it's likely to be 10 hours or more). This gives the oil plenty of time to drain back into the sump and the reading should be nice and clear - you probably won't even have to wipe the dipstick and re-insert it.
A lot of engines hold quite a bit of oil in the head - well hold is the wrong word, but the head seems to retain quite a bit of oil, meaning that dipstick readings are frequently unclear, and often under-read quite a bit, so careful you don't overfill it with oil as a result of wrongly assuming it to be too low on oil (which sadly buggered the engine in an Omega TD I had :-( ).
Peter
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have you tried looking at the other side of the dipstick? one side is normally the "clean" side and doesn't get any of it dragged along the pick up pipe

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Thanks for the replies.
I had tried all suggestions, well, apart from asking before I bought.
Rather surprisingly I got the clearest reading using the dipstick on my Mondeo (1.8l petrol). The critical dimensions of the two dipsticks are the same, but whilst the KA dipstick has a kink at the tip the Mondeo dipstick is straight. The oil level is above the max mark by about half the distance between max and min. Maybe this caused extra oil to be thrown up the dipstick tube. Hope this isn't in oil seal knackering teritory.
Jon McD
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I'm too late with this one, but surely you're better off wiping the dipstick before putting it in?
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