How to Check Your Oil
Checking your vehicle’s engine oil is a quick and simple maintenance project that almost any driver can do themselves. Even if you don’t feel up to the task of changing your own engine oil, chances are that you will be able to check it yourself. Most models should have an oil change about every three months or three thousand miles. In between your regularly scheduled oil changes, you can check your engine oil levels to ensure that it has not become too low or dirty. Follow these simple steps to check your vehicle’s engine oil.
How to Proceed
Locate a rag or a scrap of old fabric to use when checking your oil. An old t-shirt usually works great.
Check out your owner’s manual. If you are extremely unfamiliar with what is under the hood of your vehicle, you will find a detailed description of where your dip stick is located in your owner’s manual.
It is best to check your oil while it is warm. A great time to check you oil is after a quick trip to a local market or around your neighborhood.
Make sure that you turn your vehicle off before you begin the process of check its oil.
Pop the hood. Pull the handle located on the inside of your vehicle, usually on the side of the driver side door, and the press the lever located underneath the center of the hood. Make sure that the hood of your car is securely propped.
Locate the dip stick. On most models, the dip stick is located on the left side of the engine. The dip stick usually has a yellow or orange circular handle that is clearly visible. When you pull this handle, a long piece of metal will slide out of the engine.
Once you locate and remove the dip stick, clean it with your rag and slide it back in. Make sure that the dip stick is inserted all the way back in.
Next, remove the dip stick once more. Look at the end of the dip stick. Some models will have a line marked “full” while others will have a textured area that represents the capacity of the oil pan. The oil will appear amber in color. It should be fairly easy to discern the oil level by looking at the dip stick.
If the dip stick indicates that the oil level is normal, re-insert it.
If the dip stick indicates that the oil level is low, touch the end of the dip stick with two fingers and feel of the texture of the oil. If the oil is clean, you can add new oil using a funnel. If the oil is gritty, it is necessary to have your oil changed as soon as possible.
Checking you vehicle’s oil level is a simple task that takes only a few minutes to perform. Knowing how to check your oil will enable you to ensure that your engine is being properly lubricated.
Andrei Zakhareuski is the founder of Driving-Tests.org. He has been writing for beginner US drivers for several years.
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