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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So it's been a harsh Winter and the other day I noticed my engine coolant level in my 94 Tracker was near the "E" level ... so today I decided to fill it up to "F". Before I poured my 50/50 mix into the container, I looked inside and it looked to me like it was just plain water. The various liquids haven't been changed since I bought the car last October - except for engine oil.

So my question is: I know the preferred mix is 50/50, but does plain water hurt a car's performance?

While I was changing the engine coolant, I decided to check my engine oil level.

I got my oil change at 44,862 (yes, super low miles 94 Tracker) and it was 46,570 as of this morning. So we are talking about 1700 miles have elapsed since my last oil change.

Pulled the dipstick out, wiped it. Stuck it back in, pulled it out again and I would say the oil level was between 1/4 to 1/5 from that bottom hole.

My dipstick looks like this.

That got me concerned, because I really doubt I would make it to my 3000 mile engine oil change without adding a bit of oil on my own. Since I get my oil change at the Valvoline Instant Oil Change places, I went to Advanced Autoparts and bought a bottle of 5W-30. I know on the side of the bottle there are measurements.

Question: How much should I put in?

I guess from now on I'll just keep a bottle of engine oil in my car just in case.

Thanks in advance.
 

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How did you arrive at these (I presume) NEW oil level marks / indications per your dipstick image? :huh:




What does your Owners Manual state as the correct dipstick reference markings?

Typically (given no other marks), the upper hole indicates full, the distance between the holes as a safe operating range, and the lower hole the "low" level of up to two quarts needed. Maintaining it at the full mark (hole) is the goal, by adding additional oil as needed.

If the coolant mix is in question, a simple anti-freeze hydrometer tester is available for use at an Auto Parts store, or a tester can be bought at Wally World for a few bucks.

Anti-freeze needs to be changed every 3-5 years, depending on the type that was used last time. If in doubt, change it as it not only provides antifreeze protection, but also corrosion inhibitors and raises the boiling point / operating range of the coolant too.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I just looked in my owner's manual and it says:

"If the oil is at or below the ADD mark, you’ll need to add some oil. But you must use the right kind."

So I can only assume my dipstick is not factory original because it doesn't say "ADD." I'm going to assume the hole nearest to the tip would be "ADD".

This also means technically speaking I have enough oil.

Randomly research on the Internet:

"If it's between the two marks, you're good to go. If it's below the bottom mark, you need to add a quart of oil. Never add more than a quart at once without driving and taking a new reading of the oil level. Overfilling the engine can be messy."
 

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Unless someone else chimes in here to interpret the "add" mark to the hole locations...I would use the top hole as full, and add only small increments of replenishment oil to achieve that level, as needed.

To further verify the correct level, look up the total oil charge (with filter) in the Owners Manual, add precisely THAT amount at the next oil / filter change, run it, and THEN observe / mark / record the dipstick level full indication at that point. ;)
 

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I'm curious. Did you randomly post an image that you found for a dipstick? :huh:

That would explain the "original expansion mark..." reference as to being an AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION dipstick. Engine oil dipsticks don't employ such nomenclature. At least none that I've ever seen.

IF that is the case, we need to know precisely what your manual says AND what is marked on YOUR dipstick. Then we can nail this oil level question down with you. ;)
 

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Running plain water in the cooling system during freezing temperatures can be a disaster. Lucky if freeze plugs blow out. Possible to crack a head or block.

If the overflow is near E then I would check the radiator too when it is cool because it might be past the point where it can draw from the overflow.

I've found that mine takes about exactly a quart from one mark to the other, and anywhere in between is considered operating range. The same as every other vehicle I've had. Mine doesn't say add but there is a hatched area for the operating range.

Yes now you mention it, I'm sure that is an ATF dipstick, because there is full cold and full hot. And I don't think my oil dipstick has the holes, but I know the ATF dipstick (in my other cars anyway) has the holes.
 

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It is normally a good idea to change all fluids when you first buy a car. If your radiator is just running on water - you need to replace this right away with proper coolant. Normally, while the expansion tank may show a fluid level, it is always good to actually check the radiator itself for fluid level. Additionally, it is also a good idea never to allow the fluid level in the expansion tank to drop below the hose in the tank, as the radiator is then sucking air from the tank, and not fluid.
On my engine oil dipstick, there are just two holes, and you fill to the upper hole. It does not say 'ADD'. It's impossible to determine how much - it depends on the level you have. Normally, if the level is halfway down the stick, about a pint fills it to the top hole. But you should fill a little bit, wait for the level to rise, fill again, etc. It's just as bad to have too much oil, as too little. Also remember to do before you have started the engine, so that all the oil is in the pan.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
yeah I did just find a stock photo off the Internet as a reference. I just poured half a quart of oil in during lunch break. I'll check the level again before I drive home from the office.
 

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Pulled the dipstick out, wiped it. Stuck it back in, pulled it out again and I would say the oil level was between 1/4 to 1/5 from that bottom hole.

That got me concerned, because I really doubt I would make it to my 3000 mile engine oil change without adding a bit of oil on my own. Since I get my oil change at the Valvoline Instant Oil Change places, I went to Advanced Autoparts and bought a bottle of 5W-30. I know on the side of the bottle there are measurements.

Question: How much should I put in?

I guess from now on I'll just keep a bottle of engine oil in my car just in case.

Thanks in advance.
You might check back with the place where you had the oil changed. A lot of times they will "top off" any fluids that need it, between oil changes.
If they don't, then the amount of oil you add is enough to bring the oil level up to the top hole of the dipstick. You simply dump some (start out with about 1/4 of a quart) oil in through the oil hole in the top of the valve cover, give it a minute to run down to the oil pan, pull the dipstick out and see if the oil is up to the top hole. If it isn't add a little more and do the same thing.
Yes, the oil level being between the upper and lower hole is the "operating range", so you don't have to add oil, if the oil level is between the two holes. But I like to keep mine topped off at the upper hole. But it's up to you, on if you want to do the same.
 
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