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On my 2009 impala 3.5L and 2004 f150 4.2L.

I shut them off and wait a couple minutes and check the dipsticks, and it's always hard to see if oil is on there (seems to scrape oil from somewhere while pulling it out which messes up the reading). I've checked with a fresh oil change too when I am certain the right amount is in there and it's the same issue.

I feel like a dunce bc this should be very simple, but what can be done?

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    Welcome to the site. By "check the dipsticks" can you confirm the procedure you follow. You are supposed to remove the dip stick, wipe it clean then place it all the way back in the hole and pull it straight back out. This ought to give you a very visible oil level reading. – Steve Matthews Sep 13 '18 at 13:13
  • @SteveMatthews sorry, I should have included the procedure. I do it exactly like that. Sometimes after wiping and reinserting it, I let it sit there for a minute to make sure the oil gets a good contact and has settled down so it can leave a crisp line on the stick, but I still have the same issue. Typically, it's all over one side (no clear line) and dry on the other. The vehicles are on level ground as well. – BingBong Sep 13 '18 at 13:25
  • Is the dipstick flat or not flat? My 2016 Toyota RAV4 hybrid has a non-flat portion in the dipstick to fix exactly the issue you're seeing. Anyway, if it's dry on the other side, that ought to say something about the oil level. – juhist Sep 13 '18 at 16:08
  • @juhist it's spiraled to keep it stiff and then at the end where you read it it's flat. The backside seems dry (no distinguish oil level) even after I change the oil. So it's definitely got the right amount of oil. – BingBong Sep 13 '18 at 16:40
  • What does the user's manual say? My 2016 RAV4 user manual says wait for more than 5 minutes. So a "couple minutes" is not enough. You could also test rotating the dipstick by 90 degrees, or you could just check the oil when the engine has not been operated i the last 12 hours... – juhist Sep 13 '18 at 17:07

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