Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Eastern ON Canada
Car: 07 OBW 2.5i D-4AT
Feedback Score: 7 reviews
As AWDFTW noted, the dipstick goes into the engine oil pan at an angle (about 45 degrees). The top of the dipstick has an offset yellow handle that should be oriented toward the front. This will bring the flat dipstick into the oil pan with marked side ("L" and "F") facing up.
Because of the angle the oil level on the marked top of the dipstick will be lower than the level on the unmarked bottom, but they are both measuring the same thing. Use the markings on the top -- this is the correct level.
The handle also has an O-ring that provide a snug fit in the tube. This means that when the engine is stopped and the oil returns to the pan (or is refilled during a change), if the dipstick is in place, there's no vent to allow the oil to move up (or down) the tube. I found that leaving the dipstick out when filling, or while waiting for the oil to return to the pan after the engine is stopped, will provide accurate and consistent reading, hot or cold. (E.g., when filling fuel, I will open the hood and pull the dipstick up about 6-8 inches first, then fuel up, and then remove the dipstick, wipe it and send it down the tube for a reading.)
Also, I'll add that the "F" mark (actually a hole) is "full cold". The level will go up with a hot engine -- to the level of the notch that is about 1/2 inch above the "F" mark.
Granted, it's not the greatest design but necessitated by the location of the oil pan in a boxer configuration. Even the new FB engine seems to be the same, although the dipstick is moved to the front. (See attached.)