How to Check Your Car's Oil Level

Hey there. We're going to teach you a thing or two today with a step-by-step guide on how to check your car oil levels and wield the legendary oil dipstick.

More Vehicle Maintenance Tips

Engine oil is what keeps your car's engine running smoothly. When your car runs, the moving parts rub against each other and create heat. Vehicle oil lubricates these parts and absorbs some of that heat. That's why it's so important to stay on top of your car maintenance and get regular oil changes. If your engine parts are grinding and wearing down, your check engine light will end up turning on before you know it. Your warranty won't cover bad car maintenance, my friend. Let's get started!

When to Check Your Car's Oil Levels

It's recommended to check your vehicle's oil level once a month. If you see this symbol:

This symbol indicates the oil needs to be checked immediately because you either have too little or too much oil in your engine. If you notice that your check oil light comes on a lot, go see a mechanic ASAP to make sure you don't have a leak.

To keep your engine in prime condition, make sure you’re getting your oil changed every 3 months or 3,000 5,000 miles. Car maintenance doesn't take all that much time out of your day, but will help keep your car in good and engine in condition!

How to Check Your Car's Oil Step-by-Step

Step 1: Turn Off the Car

First thing's first, make sure your vehicle engine is off and that it’s been sitting for while on level ground. You want the engine to be cool, not hot like it had just been running. Go ahead and pop the hood!

Step 2: Find the Oil Dipstick

Next, you’ll want to find the oil dipstick. Your dipstick usually has an orange or yellow top and sticks out near your engine. There should be a loop that you can grab onto, but there might not be. All cars are different, so you might have to consult your owner’s manual if you are having trouble finding it.

Step 3: Pull Out the Dipstick

Grab the oil dipstick, pull it out, and wipe the end with a lint-free rag or a paper towel. When the dipstick is clean, dip it fully back into the pipe and pull it out again.

Step 4: Assess the Level

When you pull the dipstick back out, take a look at the bottom and see where on the stick the oil covers. There are two small fluid level lines marked on your oil dipstick letting you know where the minimum and maximum oil level should reach. There should be motor oil covering the dipstick up to the maximum mark.

Step 5: Adjust Oil Levels if Needed

If the level is good, shove that puppy back into the pipe and call it a day. If not, you might have to add oil to the engine. To do this, remove the oil cap and carefully pour in the correct amount until the oil level reaches the line marked on your dipstick. Check out your vehicle’s owner manual for info on where the oil goes, what kind you need (synthetic oil, 5W-30, 10W-40, etc.), and how much you should add. These ratios can vary depending on a number of factors like if you have a diesel engine or if you use synthetic oil.

If the tank requires a whole quart of oil to get it to the right level, it’s way too low and you should probably check in with a mechanic so they can make sure you don't have an oil leak.

There you have it! Step-by-step instructions for checking your oil levels and determining if they're in the right place to keep your car running smoothly. Now get back out there!

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