2017~2023 Strange Oil Change problem - can't read the dipstick properly, low oil level warning


Work In Progress..
'18 CX-9 Signature
A) Yes. I'm frustrated that either the marks are off or it takes more oil than Mazda thinks - so it makes me mad that I gamble with over-filling the car and damaging the motor, or under-filling it... which appears to be what everyone is doing.

B) I'd happily fill it so the dipstick shows a full crankcase, but Mazda's engineers or whomever, say 4.8qt. So I guess I just live with the dumb dipstick or fill 'er up and see what happens. I tend to keep vehicles a LONG, long time; my 2005 Tacoma has 228K on it.

Overfilling or underfilling by a large enough amount would result in engine damage or low oil warnings. Assuming you're talking about the 2017 Mazda3 under your username, you mentioned that this was your first oil change with this car. I'm guessing you bought it used and it has some mileage on it. If this is correct, then it's very likely that the previous owners have been filling oil to the halfway point between the two marks or the max mark (or somewhere in between) for those miles, as that is what most people fill to. On the other hand, if they filled the oil using the listed capacity of 4.8 qts, the result is the same - the engine has been fine for those miles. Further, many others here drive vehicles that share the same engine as yours - they have been filling within the range on the dipstick, all the way up to Max, with no issues for many years. Finally, dealership techs fill oil on these cars day in and day out. If there were issues related to the dipstick having the wrong markings, they would see those issues and they would have been reported to Mazda Corporate by now, considering the volume of cars going in and out for a common service like an oil change.

Having written and edited operator and repair manuals, service bulletins and recall campaigns for agricultural equipment for many years, I can tell you that manuals can be wrong sometimes. When they are wrong, if there are issues that arise from that mistake, the manufacturer will hear about it fairly quickly and move to correct it as soon as they can.

IMO, if the markings are wrong, and that is a big IF, then based on the many other owners and vehicles out there that are running just fine, I'd say that the amount that they may be being overfilled by isn't significant enough to cause any issues. Keep going with 4.8 qts or fill to halfway between Min and Max and keep on truckin.
2017 Mazda 6 Sport
I thought it was just ME... first oil change and I added 5qt + new OEM filter. Noticed it barely goes above the low-fill dot :( Frustrating. Mobil1 0W20 and Mazda oil filter, checked warm, cold & hot, it's always registering at the low end of the low/high dots. WHY would Mazda create a dipstick like that?
Sorry but I'm not seeing how 5qt can only get to the Min marker on a 2.5 NA. From Min to Max marks is 1L (close enough to a qt). That would mean to get to the Max line would take 6qts. afaik, all the 2.5 NAs use the same oil pan so there shouldn't be these wide variations between what people are seeing. Of course, there is no guarantee that the amount of oil in the bottles is accurate to the ounce. I've put in a 5qt bottle and had it reach under the top marker; then the next time put in 5 qts of the same brand and it go a little above the marker

I just put 5qts and leave it at that. It's comfortably in the upper end of the operating range and the difference of of a couple of ounces isn't going to matter a bit
2020 CX-5 Tour
.... Added with Mazda’s special using a range on torque specs instead of a single value, this experience is totally different from any other vehicle brand.
I'm very familiar with Hyundai/Kia, and they've been using a torque range for at least 15 years, although their ranges are typically around 30% smaller (i.e. less variation) than what Mazda specifies. One explanation that I've read, for using a torque range spec, is that the min value is for well lubricated fasteners, while max is for completely dry ones, and everything else in between. Not saying that as a fact, just passing along what someone else wrote. I've been working with range torques so long now that I'm not bothered at all by it. I usually just go with the middle, or slightly above and call it good.

And AFA the dipstick marks being off (which is a possibility), I'm not concerned about that one either, because IMO the engineers incorporate enough 'play' to allow 1/2 quart or so of overfill, without adversely affecting
the engine.

One factual example of this is when Hyundai/Kia installed replacement dipsticks on all of their cursed Theta GDI/Turbo engines. Those replacement dipsticks had higher marks than the original ones, and resulted in .4 quart of additional oil, when filled to the max mark. This was done in an effort to mitigate the systemic oil burning and engine failure issues happening in a massive number of vehicles. One heck of a band-aid right there :rolleyes:


2016.5 CX 5 Touring AWD, 2015 SCION XB
If this is a new used car maybe it has the wrong dipstick, maybe someone swapped it out. I know I broke a few that had the plastic handle snap off in my time and had to replace it. Maybe take it to the parts guy and see if you can get a comparison with another one.