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I live in a very hilly area and it can be difficult getting a reliable oil reading out of the beast. Normally I do it when filling up, but after the car had sat for a few days at a friend's, I checked the oil cold and it was virtually at the max mark. I then checked it again at the next refuel stop (300 miles later) and it was reading just below the min. Normally she uses about a litre every 1k. I topped it up straightaway, putting in a litre of TWS, and the dipstick returned to about 2/3rds between the max and min marks. There was no oil level warning from the dash at any point.

I'm anxious to get some advice on 1) whether a cold reading can be relied on at all, and 2) may I have damaged my engine!
 

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Always check the level readings in the same conditions, meaning, follow the label under the hood: Warm engine up to temp, idle for 1 min, shut off and ck after 30 secs - 1 min... It goes something to that effect. I highly doubt you did any damage, you would have to be down quite a bit to start to cause (unnoticable) harm.
 

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I concur with 117. The main thing is to be consistent - check it the same way each time.

In any engine, you are going to get oil distributed all over the place, in the heads, various channels, etc. and that's perfectly normal and fine. But that means that the difference between checking the oil right after you turn off the engine versus a day later when every little drop has had a chance to collect down in the pan can be substantial. I think that's what you're seeing.

Ever notice how when you change the oil, it never seems to stop dripping out of the drain? That's why. Even an hour later it will still be dripping.

Overfilling is bad, but I think you're OK.
 
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