How to Check the Oil in Your Car

December 19th, 2018 by

Auto Mechanic Checking Oil

Engine oil is one of the most important substances in your vehicle – it protects your engine from dirt and debris, lubricates moving parts, and helps to draw heat away from the engine to reduce wear and tear. To make sure your engine oil is doing its job and to ensure you won’t need an oil change sooner than your owner’s manual suggests, you should check the oil in your vehicle at least once a month or have a service pro near Overland Park do it for you. Unsure how to check the oil in your car? This guide will provide all of the information you need!

How to Check Oil: A Step-by-Step Guide

Whether your vehicle uses synthetic or conventional oil, checking oil levels is quite simple. Follow these steps on how to check oil.

  1. Pop the hood of your car, and locate the vehicle’s oil dipstick. It typically will be in a tube near the engine.
  2. Pull out the dipstick, and wipe it off to remove oil. This clears the way for a proper oil level reading.
  3. Reinsert the dipstick entirely, and pull it back out.
  4. Your dipstick will have an indicator of what the proper oil level is. Inspect your oil level to ensure you’re good to go, or add more oil if necessary.
  5. While the dipstick is removed, rub a bit of oil between your fingers to identify any grime or debris.

Checking your car oil may seem simple enough, but its importance is paramount. Doing so will provide you with information on whether an oil change is needed, guaranteeing that you vehicle will continue to run smoothly.

Where’s the Engine Oil Dipstick?

Your dipstick should be located at the front of the engine. They often have a ring on the handle to make them easier to pull out, although some European models don’t have one at all. If you can’t find yours, check your owner’s manual to determine its location.

Do You Check the Oil with the Car On or Off?

When checking oil, should the car be running? Generally, the answer is no. You don’t want the oil circulating through the engine while you’re checking your oil levels. Your car should be parked on level ground in the Gardner area, and the engine should be cold so that you don’t burn yourself. Plus, a cold engine ensures that the oil is in the pan, giving you a better sense of how much oil is flowing through your engine. For some cars, however, automakers do recommend a warmed-up engine, so be sure to check your owner’s manual for specifics on whether you check oil with the car on or off.

How Do I Know if the Oil is Low?

At the end of your dipstick, there are two lines. One line is marked ‘Add’ the other is marked ‘Full.’ Ideally, your oil level should be between those two lines – never above ‘Full’ or below ‘Add.’ Remember also that some newer cars have electronic oil monitors, which will provide you with the information you need.

How Do I Add Oil?

If you have determined that your engine oil is low, you can add more directly to the engine by following these steps:

  1. Check your engine block for the cap labeled “oil.” It will look similar to a radiator cap.
  2. Unscrew the cap, and insert a funnel. This will prevent oil from spilling out.
  3. Carefully pour a half quart of oil to the engine, a little at a time. Be sure not to overfill the oil.
  4. Check your engine oil levels again, following the above instructions. Add more oil as needed.
  5. Screw the oil cap back on securely.

What Kind of Oil Should I Use?

Sometimes, your oil cap indicates the type of oil your engine requires. If not, the grade of oil recommended will be listed in your owner’s manual. It is crucial to use exactly the type of oil recommended for your vehicle, as using the wrong kind can damage the engine. The Parts Department at Olathe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram will have the engine oil you need in stock.

Let Olathe DCJR Help!

Whether it’s time for an oil change or you need a hand with any of the maintenance tasks your car needs, like diagnosing the check engine light,  we can help! We are here for you too if you want to get more automotive tips like how to make your own car air freshener, how to diagnose engine issues based on leaking car fluids, or how to read tire codes. Always feel free schedule a service appointment with one of the expert techs at Olathe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, as well.

For anything from a Jeep Wrangler accessory to wheel repair, we’ll have you taken care of and back on the road to Springhill in no time. Don’t forget to take advantage of our money-saving coupons as well, and learn about used car leasing or what to do after a car accident.

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