How to Check  Your OIlMost cars no longer follow the old standby of every vehicle needs an oil change every 3,000 miles or 3 months. Late model vehicles are designed to go 5,000 miles or more between oil changes. With that much time in between, it is necessary to take on the little maintenance tasks yourself. This includes checking your oil. It may sound daunting, but checking your oil is a rather painless process.

It’s important to know how to check your car’s oil so you can avoid potential problems that could leave you stranded on the side of the road, or worse purchasing a new engine. Follow this step-by-step process and checking your oil will be a breeze.

Oil expands when it’s hot, so you’ll want to be sure to check your oil when your engine is warm – otherwise, you’ll get a less accurate reading.

  1. For best results, park on a level surface
  2. Turn off your engine and wait about 10 minutes to allow the oil to drain back down into the crankcase. (otherwise, you might think you’re low when you’re really not)
  3. After 10 minutes, pop your hood
  4. Locate your oil dipstick. If you’ve never used it before, you’ll usually find it near the sparkplugs – it will look like a large loop sticking out of the engine. Some cars have a T handle instead of a loop, or even have the dipstick attached to the fill cap.
  5. Pull the dipstick all the way out of the engine.
  6. Use a paper towel or rag to wipe the oil off of the dipstick.
  7. Put the dipstick back into the engine, making sure you push it all the way in.
  8. Pull the dipstick back out and hold it horizontally.
  9. Look at the pointed end of the dipstick. If the oil is below the line marked “full”, you’ll need to add some oil. Some dipsticks have two lines with a design between them – on those dipsticks, the oil level should be halfway between the lines.
  10. Add any oil that you need to add. Unscrew the oil cap and use a funnel. Add oil in small amounts – it’s much easier to add more than it is to remove oil if you add too much.
  11. After adding oil, check the oil level with the dipstick again.
  12. Put the oil cap back on securely and replace the dipstick.

Remember – your engine’s oil lubricating system is a closed system, so if you’re consistently low, you probably have a leak. When your car has an oil leak, it can easily transform into an expensive problem. Bring it in to our Service Department early, so we can identify and address and leaks in your engine.