Checking Your Vehicle’s Oil: Easy Instructions
How to Check Your Car’s Oil
Oil is the essence of your vehicle’s engine. Making sure there’s always sufficient oil is the simplest way to guarantee that you prevent disastrous engine malfunction and the huge repair expenses that go with it.
This is particularly crucial if you’re driving an older motor vehicle. When a car’s odometer turns past the 100,000-mile mark, wear and tear on the engine can cause it burn off small quantities of oil each time you drive. That loss adds up, which can make the oil level drop too far between oil changes. High-mileage automobiles are also more susceptible to oil leaks. Both of those problems are grounds to check your oil frequently to determine just how frequently you need to refill it.
Step 1: Plan to Check
Be sure your motor vehicle is parked on even ground with the engine turned off, the transmission in Park (or the manual transmission in a lower gear) and the parking brake on. Lift the hood.
Most automobiles have a hood-release control under the instrument panel on the left side of the vehicle. There’s also a safety catch beneath the front edge of the hood that you’ll have to undo before you can raise the hood.
Step 2: Find the Dipstick
The dipstick on most automobiles is simple to spot, as it has a small colored handle—usually yellow or orange—shown with an oil-can symbol.
Step 3: Pull Out the Dipstick
Pull Out the dipstick completely out of the tube that it’s held in. Have a rag or paper towel ready and remove any oil off of the end of the dipstick. At the end of the dipstick you will see two lines: the bottom one shows that the oil level is one quart low. The top line indicates that the crankcase (the car’s oil tank) is full. Some dipsticks are also marked with words like “full” and “add.”
Step 4: Take Note Of the Oil Level
Put the dipstick into the tube slowly and push it all the way down. Now remove it again and look closely at the tip. It should have oil on it. If the amount of the oil is between the two lines, your automobile has sufficient oil. If it is at the low point mark or below, it is time to add a quart.
Step 5: Stop and Re-check
Once you’ve added a quart of oil, wait a number of minutes for the oil to drain down into the crankcase. Then check it again to make sure that the level is at least between the high and low marks. The oil level does not have to be at the high mark for your engine to have enough lubrication to run safely.