How to Check the Engine Oil in Your Car

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Motorist How To Check Oil Level Oil Color Opening(Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

Checking the engine oil in your car is one of the simplest and most basic maintenance you can do as a car owner.

Besides providing lubrication to internal engine parts, engine oil also prevents wear and tear, keeps your engine clean, and stops it from overheating.

This one-minute task is extremely easy to execute. All you’ll need is a paper towel or a rag and your vehicle’s owner manual for reference. Are you ready to check your car’s engine oil? Let’s get started!


1. Park Your Car on Level Ground to Get an Accurate Reading

Motorist How To Check Oil Level Flat Ground

To get an accurate reading, make sure your car is parked on flat, even ground. To prevent any burns, make sure your car engine is cold. If your car has been running, leave it to cool for 15 minutes or so before checking the oil.


2. Pop your Bonnet and Locate the Dipstick

Motorist How To Check Oil Level Dipstick

With the engine switched off, pop open your bonnet and locate the dipstick. It should be sticking out from the engine with a circular handle for you to pull (see image above).


3. Pull the Dipstick Out and Check the Color of the OilMotorist How To Check Oil Level Oil Color

Once you have located the dipstick, pull it out completely. Next, grab a paper towel or rag and wipe the oil off from the end of the dipstick. Examine the colour and quality of the oil.

If the oil colour is still golden or amber, it is still “fresh” and doesn’t require any changing. If it’s black or brown in colour, it’s an indication that the oil is "old" and will require changing. However, if you spot tiny metal specks on your rag, it could mean internal engine damage. Send your car for a checkup if this occurs.


4. Check the Oil Level

Motorist How To Check Oil Level

After checking the quality and colour of the oil, it’s time to check its level in the engine. Insert the cleaned dipstick completely back into the oil pan and pull it back out to examine it. You should see two pinholes at the end. These indicate the minimum and maximum oil level. Ideally, the oil level should fall in between these two points.

If it drops below the minimum level, it means you’ll need to fill your car engine with more oil. If it goes above the maximum level, you’ll need to drain some oil from your car.

If you need to add oil to your vehicle, proceed to Step 5 below.


5. (Optional) Adding Oil to Your Vehicle

Motorist How To Check Oil Level Add Oil

Use the recommended grade of oil as instructed in your car owner’s manual. You can purchase engine oil at major supermarkets, all petrol stations, and car workshops.

To add, simply locate and remove the oil fill cap and insert a funnel into the pan. Next, pour the appropriate oil in small amounts into the funnel. Give it some time to drain into the pan and avoid overfilling the funnel.

Once that is done, check the oil level on the dipstick again by repeating the steps above. If the oil level is sufficient, screw the oil filler cap back on, insert the dipstick back, and close your car bonnet.

If you require to drain or replace the engine oil, simply visit your trusted car workshop to get the job done.

See, wasn’t that easy?

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