Checking Your Car Engine Oil: 5 Easy Steps

Checking Your Car Engine Oil 5 Easy Steps

Afraid of changing your car engine oil?

Not sure if it’s time for your oil to be changed?

If that is the case, you do not have to be worried. I am here to help you!

When we talk about oil, since oil reduces the friction in your engine and keeps it running smoothly, we can say that “Oil is the lifeblood of the engine in your vehicle”. With its vital role, it is worth making sure that your car engine has proper oil levels.

However, those who are not familiar with car maintenance may doubt whether they really need to check their oil regularly. Therefore, today's topic is oil checking and the article is divided into 2 main parts. We will talk about the importance of oil checking in the first part. After that, we will move to the second part, and in this part, I will introduce you 5 steps to check your car engine oil.

Why it is important to check your car engine oil?

The car's oil is a liquid used to lubricate all the metallic parts in your car and lower the friction in the mobile parts so they don't wear out

Checking Your Car Engine Oil 5 Easy Steps

Oil not only lubricates your engine, but also fights against the two biggest enemies of any motor: friction and heat. These two enemies can produce wear, which will eventually destroy your engine. The engine oil and filter need to be replaced regularly since friction and heat degrade oil over time.

It is advised by most car user manuals that you should have your oil filter changed between every 3000-5000 miles. After a proper time, oil loses its additives and becomes sludgy, black and horrible. Therefore, you have to change your oil to keep its function. In addition, the oil is designed to neutralize the heat and prevent the engine from blowing up! Not only keep engine from overheating, oil also helps to keep the engine clean since it can prevent dirt buildup.

Changing your engine oil is one of the most important you can take to prolong the life of your vehicle. You can be reminded of this important maintenance item and become familiar with what happens to the oil in your car’s engine if you inspect the level and condition of your engine oil regularly. Therefore, try to check your engine oil every time you fill your gas tank, or at least once a month. You can also stick a notes on the inside of your windshield to remind you when your next oil change is due. If you do not check your car engine oil for a while, it's much likely that's you're going to end up needing to take it into a garage.

Steps to check your car engine oil?

When it comes to maintaining the life of your car, checking the oil levels is an essential step. Inspecting to make sure your car engine has enough oil is the best way to keep your engine running well for a long time to come. Moreover, it is painless to inspect your car engine regularly since it is a quick and easy job. In this part, I have outlined 5 steps for checking your motor oil and what to keep in mind during the process. A rag or paper towel, and your car’s owner’s manual is all you’ll need. However, before checking, you need to remember 4 things below:

- The vehicle is on level ground

Try to find a relatively flat surface on which to park and check your oil.

  • You do this so that you can get an accurate reading on the dipstick. If the car is on a hill for example, the dipstick could read incorrectly.
  • Doing this can also make sure the oil isn't sloshed to one side of the pan, which can give a slightly inaccurate reading.

- Engine is off

Wait at least 10 minutes or plan to check your oil while the engine is cold.

  • DO NOT CHECK ENGINE OIL WHEN CAR IS RUNNING
  • Be sure that the engine has not been running for a few minutes. 
  • Wait a few minutes to check the oil so you can make sure any oil near the top of the motor can run down to the bottom.

- Refer to your owner's manual

Check the owner's manual and follow the automaker's recommendations.

Some newer cars have electronic oil monitors and don't have traditional dipsticks for manual inspection.

- Pop the hood

That’s all for the prerequisites to check car engine oil. If you have done all the things above, we can move to the 5 main steps.

1. Locate engine oil dipstick

Dipstick: a graduated rod for measuring the depth of a liquid, especially oil in a vehicle's engine.

Checking Your Car Engine Oil 5 Easy Steps

The location of the oil dipstick depends on whether your vehicle has an in-line engine (rear-wheel drive) or a transverse engine (front-wheel drive). Usually what you see in the engine bay would be the handle-end of the dipstick, which looks like a yellow plastic ring, which labeled “Engine Oil”.

FRIENDLY REMIND: Do not confuse the engine dipstick with the transmission dipstick. If you're not sure which dipstick is connected to the oil tank, check the user manual that came with your car, or ask a gas station attendant for help.

2. Pull out the dipstick and wipe the end clean with a rag

Checking Your Car Engine Oil 5 Easy Steps

3. Reinsert the dipstick into the engine until it fully seats

Checking Your Car Engine Oil 5 Easy Steps

Carefully place the dipstick back into the pipe connected to the oil tank.

Push it all the way down until it is completely reinserted. If it gets rattled or caught along the way, pull it back out, wipe it off, and try again.

4. Pull out the dipstick again

Checking Your Car Engine Oil 5 Easy Steps

Look at the end of the dipstick to see where the oil's film ends. The end of the stick will have the word "ADD" toward the end, and "FULL" toward the middle.

Checking Your Car Engine Oil 5 Easy Steps
  • The oil film reaches up to or below the LOW line: add more oil.
  • The oil film is close to the FULL line: don't have to add more oil quite yet
Checking Your Car Engine Oil 5 Easy Steps

It is important to inspect the engine oil condition. Since the color and consistency of the oil is indicative of its age, you should also check the oil’s color.

Checking Your Car Engine Oil 5 Easy Steps

Since oil will slowly change in color from a golden to brown, and finally to black, normal oil should appear brown or black.

  • Oil looks fairly clear like golden honey: Good condition
  • Dark brown to black oil: Needs to be replaced.

FRIENDLY REMIND: If it has a light, milky appearance, this could mean coolant is leaking into the engine. You will definitely want to have a mechanic take a look at your engine in this case.

5. Reinsert the dipstick

Checking Your Car Engine Oil 5 Easy Steps

That is all 5 steps for checking your car engine oil. Here are some tips I have collected:

  • You will notice they hardly use any oil in new cars. These cars levels do not vary, but you should control the oil level in old cars every week for precaution reasons.
  • You can also check your car oil before you've actually used the car, for example right after you wake up and your car has had some rest in your garage and hasn't been used for some time.
  • Check your car's manual to make sure that your car brand is suitable for these instructions.
Checking Your Car Engine Oil 5 Easy Steps

In conclusion, a one-minute investment can keep your car healthy and running smoothly. Checking car engine oil on a regular basis is a key part of keeping your engine running well and getting the most miles out of it. I hope this article can help you know exactly about the importance and the process of checking car engine oil. The next time you fill your vehicle with gas, do not hesitate to take a few minutes to inspect the engine oil level and oil condition.

Good luck with your driving!

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