Your car’s engine is filled with moving parts, and moving parts require adequate lubrication if they’re to work properly. Motor oil provides that lubrication, meaning one of the most important things you can do to take care of your car is check your oil levels often. Seeing to it that your oil levels stay at ideal levels will not only help your car run better, but it will extend the life of your engine as well, saving you a small fortune in repair costs over time. Making sure your engine has enough clean oil is the best way to prevent harmful build-up that can affect performance as well. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know to properly stay on top of things.
HOW DO I CHECK MY OIL?
Even if you’ve never done it before, checking your oil is rather easy. Your car’s engine will be equipped with a dipstick that accurately measures the amount of oil in the oil pan.
HOW TO CHECK YOUR OIL LEVEL
PARK YOUR CAR
Always park your car on level ground before checking your oil to ensure an accurate, easy read. Make sure you give your car about 1-2 minutes for the oil to settle back into the pan. While the engine is operating, a portion of the oil inside the oil pan is being circulated throughout the engine. This gives the oil time to settle and drain back into the pan.
CHECK AT THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE
For the most part, it’s recommended that you also check your oil when your engine is cool to avoid dealing with a hot engine. However, some manufacturers recommend checking certain vehicles when the oil and engine are warm instead. Consult your owner’s manual to find out for sure which is best for your vehicle.
MAKE SURE YOUR CAR IS NOT ON
Whether you do a warm or cool check, make sure your engine is off.
PULL THE DIPSTICK AND CLEAN IT
Locate your engine’s dipstick and pull it out. Gently and thoroughly wipe off any oil with a clean, soft cloth or paper towel.
REINSERT THE DIPSTICK
Put the dipstick back into its compartment and push it all the way down. Some dipsticks need to go back in the exact way they came out, so be sure to check this.