No Oil on Dipstick [Causes and What To Do]

We all know that a dipstick is a contraption located in the engine. It is similar to a stick and is enclosed within a container that is shaped like a tube or cylinder. The dipstick can be moved up and down within this tube.

It is dipped lower to reach the oil in the compartment that settles down. The dipstick is then pulled up to check the quality and quality of the oil left in the compartment. If it comes out without any oil on the stick then it may be signaling many aspects.  

Engine oil is essential

No oil on the dipstick may mean no oil left in the engine, which is a warning for immediate attention. The engine cannot perform without the oil. It is its lifeline. The liquid creates a coat of oil over the parts and eliminates friction.

The moving parts will create so much heat without oil that the engine may get damaged. The gears inside and all the components need this engine oil and that is why it is essential that you check the oil level regularly and refill the container as and when needed. 

Reasons For No Oil On Dipstick?

Though the first reason that comes to mind is that the oil reservoir is empty, there are other reasons too for the dipstick being devoid of oil.  

Do You Know That The Dipstick Must Be Sued In A Specific Way?

It sounds simple to just dip and take the stick out to check the oil level. But the simple process also works under ideal conditions.

The car must be on a flat surface as on an incline the oil will be in a different position and the dipstick will not reach that. The other reason is that the dipstick may not even go all the way in when the car is not parked on a flat surface.

Can The Engine Be Consuming More Oil?

Though you may remember the last oil change, the engine may have consumed more oil since then. This means that some parts of the engine are not working efficiently. The engine may use more oil if the seal is broken due to any reason. It translates to less oil left in the crankshaft.  

The Oil Level is really very low

If the oil level is low then obviously the dipstick will remain dry. You may forget the last oil change, or the oil change sensor may not be functional. This will lead to oil change being ignored. Though the car instruction manuals specify the amount of engine oil, when we use a new model of car, we may ignore such small points.

The right quality and quality of oil must be filled in the engine and even after that, you must check the oil level every day before you start driving. If the oil/ engine check light is malfunctioning, then you will not even know when the oil is completely used up until the dipstick comes out dry. 

Oil Leakage From The Engine

Though modern cars are carefully designed to prevent leaks and yet it may have some faulty seals between the different components. This could be a result of normal wear and use of the car.

The leakages may lead the oil to enter parts of the engine and depending on the severity of leakage the oil will get over sooner. These oil leaks may cause some damage to the engine and of course, the dipstick will come out dry as the reservoir has very less oil left in it. 

Do Not Drive If The Dipstick Comes Up Dry

Do not drive the car if the dipstick comes up without oil. It may also lead to contaminated oil if you continue to drive along dusty roads. The engine may be damaged without oil in the long run and the time depends on the model of the engine itself.

The crankshaft and the bearings need a constant flow of oil and once there is no oil then they may be damaged very soon.  You will see the symptoms of the parts malfunctioning within a few minutes.

The internal parts including the combustion part may be damaged beyond repair. Hence, the best advice is to check the oil level every day using the dipstick and if it comes up dry then don’t drive except to go to the mechanic.

Tips to follow– 

  • Do not start the engine if the dipstick has no oil on it.
  • Ensure that you park the car on a flat surface and it is not on an incline.
  • Check the dipstick again after a few minutes allowing the oil level to settle down at the bottom.
  • The car should be cool, so if you had been driving it then allow it to cool down before you perform a dipstick test. The cool oil will settle down and coat the dipstick easily.
  • If the dipstick is still dry, then check for oil leakage. 
  • Check the oil reservoir that the oil is in the right container.  
  • Pour adequate amounts of oil in the reservoir.
  • Now use the dipstick to check the level again.
  • Check the dipstick if it is the right tool for your car. 


The engine oil is essential as we know, for the smooth movement of parts of the engine. There is a sensor that lights up if the oil level is low. But the dipstick is a reliable test, and you can do it every day before starting the engine.

An adequate quantity of oil prevents any kind of damage to the engine components. It may give correct/ wrong information if the dipstick shows no oil. Then you must check the causes and refill the oil container immediately.

If you cannot find the cause of the dry dipstick though you have refilled the tank, then it is time to take the car to take to a mechanic and refit with the right dipstick.

Liam Dare

As CEO of, my passion for the automotive world motivates me to build online businesses that provide information and entertainment to users. I am proud to contribute in a positive way to the automotive community.