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Discussion Starter #1
I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, but what mark indicates full on the oil dipstick? I've never seen a dipstick quite like the one on the volt. If the oil is filled within the top crosshatched area does this indicate full or overfilled? I'm looking to do the first oil change on my Volt and I just want to make sure I get this right and don't overfill. Thanks.
 

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That is a good question. I'm waiting to hear the answer, and I don't expect to look a mine before the lease is up.
 

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It takes less time to find the answer in the Owners Manual than to type the question. The pictures in it will show things more clearly than words.
 

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It takes less time to find the answer in the Owners Manual than to type the question. The pictures in it will show things more clearly than words.
Yup, took me 2 seconds to search for "Oil" in the PDF of the owner's manual. They show a nice diagram too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, I did read the manual and look at the picture. The picture indicates the low level, but does not indicate the full level. Below is the statement from the manual.

Notice: Do not add too much oil. Oil levels above or below the acceptable operating range shown on the dipstick are harmful to the engine. If you find that you have an oil level above the operating range, i.e., the engine has so much oil that the oil level gets above the cross-hatched area that shows the proper operating range, the engine could be damaged. You should drain out the excess oil or limit driving of the vehicle and seek a service professional to remove the excess amount of oil.

What is the acceptable operating range on the dipstick? This needs to be clearer. It says the oil is too high if it is above the cross-hatched area. Does this mean the oil should be within the crosshatched area, or be between the two crosshatched areas?Thanks.
 

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Yes, I did read the manual and look at the picture. The picture indicates the low level, but does not indicate the full level. Below is the statement from the manual.

What is the acceptable operating range on the dipstick? This needs to be clearer. It says the oil is too high if it is above the cross-hatched area. Does this mean the oil should be within the crosshatched area, or be between the two crosshatched areas?Thanks.
I see "If the oil is below the cross-hatched
area at the tip of the dipstick, add
1 L (1 qt) of the recommended oil
and then recheck the level. "

Sorry, based on your question, it seems this is the first time you have changed oil on a gas engine. In my experience they (cars, lawn mowers, snow blowers, tractors, etc.) all use the same kind of dipstick cross-hatched "safe zone" for the acceptable oil level. Maybe some don't, but I've never seen one that didn't.

See the arrows on either side of the cross-hatched area in the owners manual illustration? They are indicating the minimum, and maximum acceptable oil level. You want the oil level inside the cross-hatched area. As long as it's somewhere in the cross-hatching you are fine. Below it is too little oil, above it is too much.
 

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According to the GM vehicles I presently own, the oil level must be between the two marks that frame the small holes at the stick end. The top mark (toward the handle) is the maximum (full), the bottom mark (near the tip) indicates low, and the holes vaguely indicate levels between full and low. The difference between the two levels can be as much as one quart of oil.

Never add more than the top level, because the rotating crankshaft can splash and churn up the oil, causing engine drag and (even worse) foam the oil (mix with air) which reduces its film formation between engine parts and cause damage to metal surfaces. Obviously a low level can cause the oil pump to stop picking up oil, especially in a tight turn, and run the engine dry of oil.

Every gas engine will consume the oil slowly (the Volt engine will do so even slower) and a normal engine should not reach the low oil level before the next oil change is programmed. If the oil level drops sooner, there may be a worn part or loose gasket causing leaks, or worn rings allowing more oil to be consumed in the cylinder.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I see "If the oil is below the cross-hatched
area at the tip of the dipstick, add
1 L (1 qt) of the recommended oil
and then recheck the level. "

Sorry, based on your question, it seems this is the first time you have changed oil on a gas engine. In my experience they (cars, lawn mowers, snow blowers, tractors, etc.) all use the same kind of dipstick cross-hatched "safe zone" for the acceptable oil level. Maybe some don't, but I've never seen one that didn't.

See the arrows on either side of the cross-hatched area in the owners manual illustration? They are indicating the minimum, and maximum acceptable oil level. You want the oil level inside the cross-hatched area. As long as it's somewhere in the cross-hatching you are fine. Below it is too little oil, above it is too much.
I have been changing oil in cars as long as I have been driving. Every car I have ever driven has had a clearly indicated full mark. The diagram in the manual with the arrows indicates the low marks. The strange thing is, the proper fill range seems to be in a non-crosshatched area bordered by two crosshatched areas. The only reason I'm asked this in the first place is because the factory fill was filled slightly into the upper crosshatched area, which could be interpeted as being overfilled. Since making the original post, I found a thread in the Cruze forum, and people seemed to be equally confused as I am.

http://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/34-1-4l-turbo/13782-2011-cruze-how-read-dipstick.html


I think this quote sums it up pretty well.

"I think the dipstick is well marked - fill the oil so it's between the hash marks. In the upper or lower hash mark is marginal, but needs to be addressed. It's the manual that needs work."
 

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From the 2013 Volt Owners Manual...
Add enough oil to put the level somewhere in the proper operating range. Push the dipstick all the way back in when through.
 

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I agree the Volt dig stick is confusing and ambiguous to where the oil should be. It's is because there are TWO separate cross hatch areas with a non cross hatch area in between. Every other engine dip stick I have seen o ly have one cross hatch area. I interpreted from the manual that the oil should be at the top of the lower cross hatch area, and to ignore the upper cross hatch area. However if I didn't read the owners manual I would have no idea how to read the dip stick. This is an example....

http://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/atta...422-2011-cruze-how-read-dipstick-dipstick.png
 

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After reading the messages on the Cruise forum, they came to the conclusion that the correct oil level should be in the middle area BETWEEN the Lower and upper cross hash area. That is completely different that what my owners manual states. I wish someone in the know, like WOP could chime in. I've done two oil changes on my 2011 and each time I set the oil the to top of the lower hash area, and not the blank area in between the two hash areas. Honestly this is the most confusing dip stick I've ever run across.
 

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I have to agree with the OP on this one. The first time I checked my oil level, I checked the owners manual because the dipstick seemed a bit odd with its dual cross-hatched areas.. And I just reread the owners manual again tonight after seeing this thread. After both readings, my feeling is that the manual is a bit ambiguous and should be improved. For example, the illustration would be a clearer if proper labels were included -- not just unlabeled arrows placed in an illustration immediately under the heading "When to Add Engine Oil".
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have to agree with the OP on this one. The first time I checked my oil level, I checked the owners manual because the dipstick seemed a bit odd with its dual cross-hatched areas.. And I just reread the owners manual again tonight after seeing this thread. After both readings, my feeling is that the manual is a bit ambiguous and should be improved. For example, the illustration would be a clearer if proper labels were included -- not just unlabeled arrows placed in an illustration immediately under the heading "When to Add Engine Oil".
Exactly. The manual makes it way more confusing than it should be. Well, I changed the oil on my Volt for the first time tonight. The whole process is very easy and the filter is conveniently located compared to other cars I have worked on. After draining the oil and replacing the filter, I added 3.5 liters (3.7 quarts) of oil that is specified in the capacities section of the manual. This brought the level up to the top line on the dipstick below the upper crosshatch section.
 

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I have never checked my oil in 18 months. Actually I have never even raised the hood! Considering I have 139 ICE miles I guess for me it probably is not necessary.

After 18 months I still have 93% oil life and will just bring it in for its oil change at 24 months.
 

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Here is an image of the dipstick handle. Note the Min/Max oil level guide embossed into it:

Dipstick-handle-markings.jpg

Applying this min/max guide to the Volt's oil dipstick:

Volt-Dipstick.jpg
You don't want to overfill past the upper crosshatch area, nor run below the bottom crosshatch area. Many (all?) current Chevy's use a dipstick like this.
 
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