Checking your oil is one of the most important routine maintenance tasks you should be performing on your car. Oil is like blood for your car, and if you don’t have enough, it could cause you some serious damage and expenses down the road. Checking your oil only takes a minute, so it only makes sense to check it every once in a while. If you don’t know how to check your oil, we are here to help. Below is a step by step guide to walk you through the process.
The first thing you want to do is make sure the car is in park, and off. Let the car cool down for a little while to ensure that you don’t touch anything that is hot on the inside of the car. Once the car is cool, pop open the hood of the car, where the engine is located. Open it up, and grab the metal rod stationed there to hold it open for you. Now that the hood is open, you need to locate the dipstick.
The dipstick is usually located near the engine, and it looks like a long, slender tube with a rubber ring at the top of it. If you have trouble locating your dipstick, the owner’s manual that came with your car should be able to help, or you can look up the location for your type of car online. With the dipstick located, slowly pull it out of its tube the entire way. Grab an old rag or a paper towel and wipe off the entire dipstick.
With the dipstick now clean, stick it back inside the tube and slide it all the way back down. Leave it in for a few seconds, then slowly pull it back out again. Examine the bottom of the dipstick to tell how much oil your car has. On most dipsticks, there will either be two dots or two lines near the bottom. The top marker (the one closest to the rubber handle), indicates the oil is full. The second marker (between the top marker and the bottom of the dipstick) indicates half-full. See where the oil line is up to on the metal. You can judge how much oil you have by where the oil level reached on the dipstick.
Now that you know where your oil level is at, you can insert the dipstick back into the cylinder to finish up. If you found that you were low on oil, then you will want to add some as soon as you can. Purchase the oil at any auto repair shop, and grab a funnel to make the job a little easier. Find the twist-off cap located on the engine and pour the new oil inside. Put as much oil in as the dipstick said you were missing. Be careful to not spill any of the oil onto the engine, and clean up any that might have gotten onto it. If you are unsure where you are supposed to pour the oil into, or if you don’t know what kind of oil to get, the staff at the auto repair store should be able to assist you.
Hopefully this guide was able to help you. Remember to check your oil every few months, or more frequently if you have an older vehicle. Older vehicles tend to develop small oil leaks, so you will want to ensure that your car always has the proper amount of oil inside. As we said, this entire process can be completed in just a few minutes, and it is definitely worth your time to avoid the potential mechanical problems that could result from low oil. Good luck!