Why Is My Dipstick Covered In Oil? (9 Reasons Why)

Dipsticks are a great way to check on your engine’s health, but they can also sometimes be covered in oil. 

This is because some engines are designed to lubricate themselves by pooling oil on their dipstick. Join me in discovering more!

Why Is My Dipstick Covered In Oil?

Your vehicle’s dipstick may be covered in oil mainly because your engine is contaminated with dirt. In addition, having too much water in your engine oil system could also cause your dipstick to be covered with too much oil. You also may have a clogged or old fuel filter, or you are having an engine oil leak, among other reasons.

Learn more about why your dipstick is covered in oil. Here are nine reasons why. Continue reading to know more! 

1. Contaminated With Dirt

Your dipstick is covered in oil because the oil in your engine has become contaminated with dirt, dust, and other debris. 

This can happen if you have been driving through deep puddles or standing water, and soiled your engine’s oil.

If you’ve had this happen to your motor vehicle before, the level of contamination will likely remain high enough to cause problems for a long time. 

This means that even if you change your oil regularly, it could take months before the new oil reaches its full potential to remove contaminants from the engine.

2. There’s Too Much Water In The Engine Oil System

You’ve recently changed your transmission fluid and not flushed out all of the old fluid that was left behind in the pan (that’s why it looks white). 

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Your engine uses only about 10% of its total capacity when cold, so it takes longer for the engine to get hot enough to burn off any excessive amounts of water in its system.

This will cause further problems as well as make future changes more difficult (due to high levels of corrosion).

3. Clogged Or Old Fuel Filter

Another reason why your dipstick may be covered in oil is because there’s something blocking the flow of fuel into your engine. 

For example, if you don’t change out your fuel filter regularly (or at all), this could cause it to clog up and prevent adequate amounts of fuel from entering the system where it belongs. 

And therefore causing an increase in oil consumption as well.

4. Not Enough Fuel

The most common reason for your dipstick to be covered in oil is that there isn’t enough fuel in the tank resulting in more use of oil. 

For example, if you’re driving a vehicle that was not meant for long-distance driving or if you’ve been driving for a long time, then this might be the case. 

If there isn’t enough fuel in your tank, then it will cause your engine to run slower, and the result will be too much oil in your dipstick.

5. Engine Oil Leak

Engine Oil Leak

A thorough inspection of your car’s engine can reveal the source of the leak, which will be easy to fix once you know what to look for.

If you suspect that your dipstick is covered in oil and there are no signs of a leak, you may want to consider finding a mechanic who can take a look at your car’s oil viscosity and determine whether or not it’s normal.

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Of course, when a car’s engine is running, the engine’s oil must be replaced regularly. 

If there is a leak in your car’s engine, the oil will be leaking out of that area and into the oil pan where your dipstick is located.

6. Clogged Oil Level Sensor

A clogged oil level sensor can cause a false reading on your dipstick, which means that all the oil has been drained from your engine and no longer has any lubrication value. 

This can result in overheating, engine wear, and other issues that can cause serious damage to your vehicle.

So why does this happen? It’s actually easy. Oil gets dirty over time, and it attracts dirt particles into its pores. 

These particles get stuck in there, preventing any more lubrication from being added to your engine. 

The only way to fix this problem is by replacing your sensor—but if you’re not sure where it is located, then it may be too late.

7. Engine Overheats

Your engine’s been overheating and burning up some of the oil. 

If your car has an overheating problem, there’s a good chance that some of the original lubricant (the stuff inside the motor) has been burned off and replaced by something else. 

It is like water vapor or carbon dioxide—and now your dipstick reads low levels even though there’s actually plenty left inside.

8. Your Dipstick Is Not Self-Cleaning

You might think that the dipstick is cleaning itself, but this is not true. 

The dipstick has a small tube that takes the oil out of your engine and puts it back when you press it down. 

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If you have a lot of dirt or debris in your engine, this tube can get clogged up with gunk and stop working properly. You need to clean this tube so that it can function properly again.

9. Lack Of Maintenance

If your vehicle’s oil has been sitting in the sun for more than two hours, it can begin to separate from the rest of the engine and cause a condition called “sludge.” 

If this happens, it can get onto your dipstick and prevent you from knowing how much oil is left in your crankcase.

A clogged dipstick can also be caused by an internal problem with your engine or transmission that prevents any oil from entering them. 

This is usually caused by a worn or broken part inside the system that’s preventing any oil from reaching those areas. The longer you wait to have this fixed, the worse it will get!

If you notice that your dipstick is covered in oil and begins to smell funny, do not drive.

You should have it checked out as soon as possible by a professional mechanic who specializes in diesel engines.


With this information, you should be able to determine what is causing your dipstick to be covered in oil. 

If the dipstick is covered in oil and not otherwise leaking, cleanliness should do the trick. Be sure to regularly clean your dipstick to avoid this kind of issue.

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