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Oil Level High After Car Sits For Hours

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubles' started by web1b, May 21, 2011.

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  1. web1b

    web1b Active Member

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    After an oil change at the dealership, I checked the oil level in my garage after the car was parked overnight. The level read way past the maximum fill line.

    I called the dealership and the service advisor asked if I let the car sit before checking the oil and I said yes, it was parked overnight. He said to bring it in. So, I went back to the dealership today and another service advisor read the oil level within 5 minutes of me driving up and it seemed to be right at the maximum fill line.
    I told the guy the car had only been stopped couple minutes and don't we need to wait for the oil to settle and he said it only takes a couple minutes for the oil to settle.
    I'm going to check it again in the morning. Obviously, the dealership cannot wait very long to check the oil because they have to turn the cars over quickly, but how long should you have to wait to get an accurate level?
    Maybe they could just not fill the car to the very maximum fill indicator as long as it was well above the minimum line in the normal range.
    If the oil shows overfilled after sitting several hours does that matter if it doesn't show overfilled when the car has only sat for 2-5 minutes?
    I wonder if I should siphon out some oil in the morning if it's way past the max line again then? I don't want to bother driving back to the dealership to argue about it. I just won't go back again.
    I don't want any damage from overfilling and I don't want to be overcharged for an extra quart of expensive 0W-20 oil.
    The dip stick is also pretty difficult to read between the oil having very little color and some oil smearing up the stick as you drag it out. They really need to come out with another way. Maybe a gauge that shows the level like the gas gauge or a oil pan designed to prevent you from overfilling. My BMW didn't even have a dip stick.
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    how much of an inch is it above max? it's not a huge issue but it is best to have it a little low. it's hard to believe there is that much of a difference between 5 minutes and overnight. 15-20 minutes should be enough.
  3. web1b

    web1b Active Member

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    It was showing as much over the max dot as the difference between the two dots for minimum and maximum level.
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    wow. that's a lot! doesn't make sense really. why don't you try driving it on a morning your home for the day and then check it every so often to see what it's doing?
  5. web1b

    web1b Active Member

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    After parking about an hour it's showing about 1/2" above the max line.
  6. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster HID Guru

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    It sounds way overfilled... But perplexing why it rises so much.
  7. GBC_Texas_Prius

    GBC_Texas_Prius Member

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    I just went out to the garage and checked the oil, It's a little over full. This just after getting a "free" oil change at the 30K mark. I'm still getting over 50 mpg, so I'm not going to worry about it. GBC Texas Prius (Toyota Prius) | Fuelly
  8. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster HID Guru

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    Just remember that "full" is full. Not "fill to about here" but "hey I am full".
  9. adamace1

    adamace1 Senior Member

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    is should not be overfilled. I would take it to the dealer let it sit for a hour then make them come to your car and show them.
  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    One thing: right after an oil change, it can be very hard to check oil level on the dipstick. You make mention of this, but still I'm wondering if you might be misreading it.

    I just did our first change and found it took repeated checks to get a semi-accurate read on the level. The face of the dipstick near the front of engine seemed to be less "smeared" when checking. There typically was a streak of oil running way up the dipstick, confusing matters, but I would look for a little bare patch, and then see where the oil started, just below that bare patch: dub that the level.

    If you're concerned, I'd say drop by the dealership, express your concern, have them check the level together with you. Don't come on too heavy: you could be misreading it. It's in everyone's best interest to get to the bottom of this, do an accurate check.

    I do not think you could siphon oil out, though I could be wrong. Likely the easiest route would be to raise the car, open (gently) and secure the maintenance flap, loosen drain bolt carefully till it's completely threaded out, but continue to hold it against the hole, then rock it carefully and drain a bit into a graduated receptacle. Torque for the drain bolt is 27 lb/ft.

    Obviously if the dealer acknowledges overfill they will do the draining in this instance, but this is how I've dealt with overfill in the past.

    In my experience dealerships are notorious for overfilling. Level should not be above the full mark: a few mm below is a good spot. Slight overfill, say up to 6mm should not be too significant though, just my opinion: when manufacturers set oil level, I'm sure they include a goof-up factor ;)

    Oh BTW, have you been checking the oil level prior to the oil change? That's always good: get's you familiar with the dipstick's foibles (long bendy route, tendency to smear), and gives you a "what they did at the factory" benchmark.
  11. oldasdust

    oldasdust Member

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    What is the exact amount of oil to be replaced. I have a vehicle that is 3 quarts 23 ounces and many with the filter are 3 point or 4 point something quarts. The dealership always puts in 4 full quarts which is 8 ounces overfill. A major chain that has vehicle maintance put 4.5 quarts into my vehicle when the owners manual stated 5. I argued with them and finally got them to put in the 5 full quarts. Thats why i do my own with a factory filter, synthetic oil of the manufacturers viscosity and amount listed in the manual. My new prius will go to the dealership for the first 2 years then we will see after i examine their work.
  12. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Standard Capacity:

    Drain and refill with oil filter change: 4.2 liters (4.4 US qts, 3.7 lmp. qts)
    Drain and refill without oil filter change: 3.9 liters (4.1 US qts, 3.4 lmp. qts)
    Dry fill: 4.7 liters (5.0 US qts, 4.1 lmp. qts)

    4.2 liter worked ok for me, after letting the oil drain very thoroughly, went and had supper while it dripped: oil level after refill was just a little below full mark. Anywhere from mid-way between the marks to the top mark is fine.

    IMHO, slightly below full, say 4~5mm, is sweet spot: it's for sure not overfilled, but close enough for comfort.

    I think it's very common for "professionals" to just dump in the remaining portions of quarts/liters when fractions are called for. It's expedient for them, but bad practice.
  13. web1b

    web1b Active Member

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    After letting the car sit overnight again, I just checked it and now the level is way above the max dot. There is a definite difference in the level shown when the car is hot and when the car has sat long enough to be completely cold and all of the oil to drain back into the pan.
    It is about an inch over the max line now even though it showed being right at the max line when the dealer checked it with a hot engine.
    Is the car only "officially" overfilled if the level is over the max line when the engine is hot? Is there any documentation on this?
    Does overfilling matter if it only shows overfilled when the engine is cold?
  14. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster HID Guru

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    May be a stupid question, but do you park on an incline?
  15. web1b

    web1b Active Member

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    No, it is parked in the attached garage to the house and the house is not built on an incline.
  16. andyprius

    andyprius Senior Member

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    Rather than worrying whether the oil level is over full, it is much easier to just do your own oil change, ( if, within your personal situation ) THREE qts brings my 05 right to the halfway mark, which is perfect. :cheer2:
  17. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    I did the recommended 4.2 liter on our 2010. Just checking now, I see it's barely below the full mark: 1~2mm at most. I'll probably go with 4.0 liters (4.2 US quart) next time.

    Also, it's really hard to read the dipstick, even a few weeks after the oil change: multiple checks show streaks of oil along the edges, making it hard to judge. I just look for a little, definitive bare patch as being at the top of the true level.

    Addendum: a trick to try: push the dipstick in just to the beginning of resistance on the plastic handle, and don't push it home. Then pull it out and check the level. This seems to splash less, and a moving target is more definitive: if you see what you think is the level, and now that same zone has moved down about 3/4", it sort of corraborates.
  18. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    mendel may be right. sometimes there is a short streak of oil going up the dipstick that isn't actually the oil level. park it at the dealers and ask the tech to check it with you in the morning. if it's really an inch you could be in for a major headache.
  19. Den49

    Den49 Member

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    It is often difficult to get an accurate reading after you have pulled out and reinserted the dipstick because the dipstick tube gets coated with oil which then transfers back onto the dipstick above the full mark. Try this:
    1. Let the car sit for an hour or so on a level surface.
    2. Slowly, pull out the dipstick keeping it within about 15 degrees of vertical with the wet end down. Don't wipe off the oil.
    3. What is the reading on the dipstick (fraction of an inch above or below full mark)?
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