What to Do If No Oil on Dipstick: Complete Guide

A dipstick is the tool you use to check the oil level and determine how much oil is left in the pan. Additionally, it’s alarming if you notice zero oil on the dipstick, indicating a potential oil leak or consumption issue. After you know it, you should do something about it. Well, what can you do if there is no oil in your dipstick?

At first, you may think about what a fault is and whether my car needs any repairs. However, for emergencies, you can check if there are any oil leaks or not. If there is none, proceed with the added oil and refill the oil. Nevertheless, this article discusses what you do if there is no oil in the dipstick. Let’s start.

What’s A Dipstick?

For every new car owner, it might be puzzling why a car requires a specific dipstick to check the oil levels accurately. That’s why; you should know what a dipstick is and why most cars have only one dipstick.

It would help if you had a dipstick to use your car oil level. Usually, it’s a thin, long piece of metal with a plastic or rubber handle. After inserting this dipstick into the oil filler hole, pull it out. You have to do it to see the oil level on the stick.

no oil on dipstick but no warning light

The dipstick informs drivers about what’s going on under the car’s hood. Some drivers or car owners call this guidance to car maintenance the engine check or oil stick. No matter what you say, if your car has a dipstick, you can find it in one way. Just go under the hood of the car and search for it.

Where Is Dipstick Located?

Every car manufacturer designs car engines with different specifications. That’s why the location of your car dipstick may be slightly different. Nevertheless, most oil dipsticks are on the passenger or driver’s sides.

In some cases, you can see two oil check sticks. One is for checking the oil levels, and another is for checking transmission fluid levels. But some cars have only one dipstick, and you can check both.

How To Use A Dipstick?

Shut off your engine and wait for the oil to settle in the oil pan, ensuring an accurate reading. Most importantly, make sure your car is parked on the square ground. Now open the hood and find the dipstick. Likewise, pull out the dipstick and wipe it off to clean the oil. Indeed, if the engine oil is complete, the oil on the dipstick can be old.

Yet, put this dipstick into the tube to analyze the current oil level. Wait and pull this dipstick and check the oil level.

No Oil On Dipstick Possible Causes

You must understand that there are many reasons not to find the oil on the dipstick. Most importantly, all of the reasons are not bad. Here are some reasons for no oil on the dipstick:

Low Oil Level in the Pan

After driving, a low oil level is one of the most apparent causes of no oil on the dipstick. Generally, you may forget to change your car oil, though it’s normal. While fighting life battles, it’s pretty easy to remember the last time you changed your car oil.

Another reason is that you didn’t use the correct quantity of oil. Every engine has different oil capacity and pressure requirements, so you should know about that. It can help you put in the right amount of engine oil.

Oil Leaks

Oil leaks often stem from poor valve seals, deteriorating gaskets, and compromised oil pan integrity. Also, they come from engine cracks caused by wear and tear. Ordinarily, the engine oil will seep out if there are leaks within the supply lines. Moreover, the rate of oil emptying depends on the severity and number of leaks. In addition, you may wonder why my dipstick is dry after filling it with oil.

If there’s no oil showing on the dipstick, determining how much oil to add is crucial for maintaining proper oil levels. So, if you don’t fix the problem of oil leaks, your engine will be short on engine oil.

Engine Might Be Consuming More Oil Than Before

Eventually, if your car shows no oil on the dipstick, indicating potential oil consumption, and the oil vanishes very early, your engine consumes more than before. Besides, there is not much oil on the dipstick when the engine is cold.

In particular, this is a severe problem. There are some reasons why the engine consumes more oil than before. Because of it, your engine faces some issues and damage, so your machine will need immediate repair.

You Just Changed the Engine Oil

We want to say that it’s a rookie mistake. That is, after an oil change, you find no oil on the dipstick, suggesting a need to add more oil! Yes, Immediately after you change the engine oil if you check, you can’t see any oil on your dipstick. Though it sounds crazy, it will happen. Let your oil settle for 5 to 10 minutes, and then check using your dipstick.

Wrong dipstick

Another reason is that the dipstick represents itself, which isn’t suited to the engine. Every engine contains its dipstick. For that reason, if you use the wrong dipstick to check the oil level, you will be surprised. Even if you think that the dipstick fits your engine you can see it’s not.

How Much Oil to Add When There’s No Oil On The Dipstick?

Unfortunately, if you can see no oil on the dipstick, you should fill it. Hence, you need to put a minimum of one-quart oil in the tank. On the other hand, add the oil to your dipstick as soon as possible, if you know already. All cars require oil for optimal performance; without enough oil, your vehicle’s engine could suffer.

What Happens If There Is No Oil On The Dipstick?

Finding no oil on the dipstick can lead to significant engine damage and affect oil pressure negatively. For this reason, your car needs enough engine oil. We know oil is blood for your vehicle; without it, your car won’t perform. Mainly, it’s easy to understand that your car running means your engine is responsible for it.

Thus, if your engine is running, your engine inside is moving. The reason is that the inside of the machine has many moving parts. With that, these moving parts make heat and friction. Ergo, the primary function of engine oil is to lubricate the components, reducing wear and maintaining pressure.

Notably, if there is low oil on the dipstick, it means your engine cannot perform well while moving. As a result, your engine will be damaged now. Accordingly, always ensure that your engine gets clean oil.

How Do We Know If Dipstick Is Low On Oil?

Ultimately, if you know your oil is low, you should check your dipstick. First, stick your dipstick into the oil tank. Make sure it can reach significantly below the tank. Ensure that the stick creates contact with the below part.

In this case, you can see a mark on this dipstick. As high or low, you can mark them. Henceforth, after pulling the dipstick, If the oil marks below the low indicator, it signifies a critically low oil level, necessitating an immediate oil top-up.

dipstick shows no oil

Other Issues Causing There To Be No Oil on The Dipstick

Surprisingly, you may also face the following issue. And, also using a dipstick, you may fail to find the oil level.

  • No Oil on The Dipstick but No Leak

Low oil level, but you can’t find any leak. This indicates your car is experiencing oil burning or excessive oil consumption issues. Oil-burning issues often arise from worn engine components, leading to increased oil consumption, allowing the oil to seep into the burning chamber.

Some common reasons that are responsible for oil burning:

· The PVC valve became worn out

· Piston rings get worn out

· Damaged valve seal

We suggest you repair your vehicle as soon as possible if you notice a low oil level.

  • No Oil on The Dipstick After Changing The Oil

By using a dipstick, you can accurately determine the correct oil level and if an oil top-up is needed. Does your dipstick fail to find the oil level after changing your oil? For any issues, you may face this problem. For example, a loose oil filter, oil leak, and if you fail to fill the oil appropriately are some causes.

Subsequently, inspect your vehicle and solve the problems. Then, check the oil level; the new oil color is like honey. Due to the thin oil layer, it may be challenging to discern the exact oil level on the dipstick, indicating a need for a closer inspection. Furthermore, with a cold dipstick, the oil adheres very well.

  • No Oil On The Dipstick, but No Warning Light

First, using a dipstick, check the oil level. Meanwhile, you appear to have no oil on this dipstick. Ergo, pour one quart of oil but still no oil dipstick no light. Let’s address the oil light issue, which signals low oil pressure or levels. Undoubtedly, if the warning light gets disconnected and broken, then the light won’t come.

Read Also: Car Leaking Oil After Oil Change

What Do You Do If You Have No Oil On The Dipstick?

Finally, if you know there is low oil using your dipstick, you need to add more oil. Before filling your tank, make sure the oil is clean. In a word, if you use lousy oil, unfortunately, you need to change this oil.

Nonetheless, after refilling your tank, wait and check if this oil shows on the dipstick. Even so, if you notice any oil leaks, service them and fix the issues as soon as possible.

How much oil is left when the dipstick is dry? 

If you don’t see oil on the dipstick tip, add oil. Probably, the oil is left because your dipstick doesn’t touch the surface of the oil pan. The reason is that your dipstick is dry, so it can’t touch the bottom of the oil pan. So if the dipstick is dry, it will read one quart low and dry two quarts low. 

That means, in small engines, only a quart or a half quart of oil remains. But a big machine can hold more than a small engine. This isn’t good for your engine because less oil heats up more, and oil is the engine’s primary coolant. 

If the oil level is low enough, your oil pump will suck in a bit of air when you turn. You may hear it as a lifter clatter. Due to A/C and radio on, most people don’t realize the sound. Additionally,  if your oil pump sucks enough air, it will foam the oil and won’t lubricate very well. 

Finally, you can see the oil light flickering toward you. Most people can’t catch the oil pressure needle dipping. But sooner or later, your engine won’t quit making that noise. Therefore, you should add sufficient oil to ensure your engine runs smoothly and maintains proper oil pressure. 

How to check the oil by dipstick


Q. What happens if you have no oil in your engine?

During running the car, its internal parts run at high speeds. At this time, the possibility of friction occurring will increase. Engine oil ensures that all of these parts contact smoothly. No oil in your engine means every engine part will be damaged

Q. How long does it take for oil to show on a dipstick?

Generally speaking, wait ten or five minutes to let it settle, and then see it on your dipstick. After refilling your tank, you must wait 5 to 10 minutes to show.

Q. Why does my dipstick show no oil?

Notably, the dipstick has a mark that indicates the oil level should reach. Sometimes, you can find holes rather than patterns. In this case, add at least one quart if the oil isn’t inside the holes or marking on the dipstick. Besides, if the oil level isn’t showing on the dipstick, add the oil immediately.

Q. What are the symptoms of low oil in a vehicle?

Oil pressure warning lights, burning oil smell, and strange noises are the symptoms of low oil in a car.

Q. How do you understand if the oil pump is poor?

Low oil pressure, noise, and enhanced operating temperature are the signs of the oil pump.

Q. Can I check no oil on the dipstick when hot?

New cars with electronic oil level controllers will check engine oil when hot.

Q. What do the holes on an oil dipstick mean?

The Holes or dots are a kind of indicator of oil level in the dipstick.

See : Engine oil dipstick reading tips


In conclusion, no oil on the dipstick will be a sign of several issues with your vehicle. But often, it is most related to low oil and engine damage. To identify the issue and take necessary action, you must find from where the problem is coming.

You can do it by checking several areas and possible leaks around the engine. In the final analysis, if everything seems good, fill up the oil pan with clean oil and start your engine.



I am Engr. Z Eusuf Lubricant Specialist, Mechanical Engineer & has been working with engine lubricants for a long time and knows what makes them work best. I can help you find the right oil for your needs, and I have tips on how to keep your engine running at its best.

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