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correct oil and the best way to measure


26 Sep 2013
hi, I have just purchased a porsche 911 996 w reg. on start up the on board oil checks show only 1 bar and the same when I check after a drive. what is the best time and way to measure Using the dipstick and what is the best oil to top it up with.How often should i expect to be topping the oil up, Sorry for the lack of knowledge on this
Check after a full warm up (but turning off and allowing a minute or two for the oil to return to the sump).

A full warm up means allowing the engine to, erm, fully warm up to operating temp (this should be by driving, not by running idle).

Then turn off, leave for a few minutes to allow the oil time to drain back to where it is measured, then just turn the IGNITION on so only the dials, including the oil level gauge, operate.

Do NOT crank the engine.

If you do you'll have to wait all over again, and this time the oil will be colder and thicker than when you first turned the engine off and will take longer to return (possibly 10 mins).

Always check levels on the level! (ie flat and not on any incline either front to back or left to right).

Top up with whatever was last used in the service (it is not possible to know the viscosity required for your car at a distance)


See here (996 FAQs) for approved oils:


Maximum advised oil usage is circa 1L per 1,000 miles.

Some go without any oil consumption between services.

Each segment on the 996.2 (3.6 Carrera engine) digital gauge is 200ml of oil.

Pour 200ml at a time, allow a minute or two to get to the sump and and re-read the gauge or dipstick.
Thank you that is very useful, I presume the method you have just written is based on measuring the oil manually not by the computer? After a little research it seems mobile 1 esp ow40 seems to be the way forward, would you agree?
The process is the same for both: both need full op temp and level ground, short delay after engine off to allow oil return etc (manual dipstick obviously doesn't care about the ignition setting - NB: most 996 GT3, all 996 Turbos and all 997 onwards have no manual dipstick).

The dipstick is still the most accurate, then the hot digital measurement, then the cold measurement.

That is not to say the cold oil measurement when you first get in the car is useless (it just isn't perfect), but it still shows you if something is wrong and you have too low/no oil.

Try to keep topped up to the max on hot measurement (that's one segment down, as the very top segment is an overfill indicator - although don't be surprised if this shows on cold measure if correctly filled on hot measure).

Running low oil increases the probability of IMS failure and high-G lubrication failure.

I have been here long enough to know to avoid oil debates: but Mobil 1 is currently Porsche's factory and OPC fill and gets my vote.

As to 0w-40, well that depends on the wear on your engine and oil pump.

New engines get 0w-40, more leggy ones get a thicker oil.

You can test the required grade by seeing if cold idle gives 5 bar on the oil pressure gauge: if less use a thicker cold oil grade (5w, 10w etc)

You can test hot oil viscosity as full op temp (30 min drive, longer or more exertive in winter) as it should read circa 2 bar at idle: if less use a thicker hot oil grade (50 etc)
So with my car being a porsche 911 996 w reg with 130k on the clock with a recent engine rebuild, in your opinion what oil would you expect?
Thicker than 0w-40

Depends if Miss Daisy drove it around the M25 at a constant 60mph.

In which case it is effectively wear "blue-printed".

But seriously, do you know what oil was used in the last service and the bar readings from the tests I gave?
I will check both tomorrow and come back to you, I do appreciate your kind help on this

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