How to Check the Oil Levels in Your Car

Checking the oil levels in your vehicle is essential to maintaining your car’s health and longevity. While it may seem intimidating initially, checking your oil doesn’t have to be difficult and is something you can easily do on your own at home. Here are the steps to follow to check the oil levels in your car like a pro.

Read your car’s owners manual

If you’ve never checked your car’s oil levels before, be sure to first read the owner’s manual and manufacturer’s recommendations for checking and maintaining the vehicle’s oil. Newer cars may require different methods to check the oil, whereas older models tend to have dipsticks that allow for easy manual inspection.

Park on a level surface

The first step to accurately check your car’s oil levels is to park it on a level surface. If you’re parked on an uneven surface when you go to check the oil, it can give you a skewed idea of how much oil you have left. Once you’ve parked on even ground, turn your engine off let your car sit for several minutes to ensure the engine isn’t hot. This prevents you from getting burned when checking the oil.

Check the dipstick

Unless the owner’s manual says differently, you’ll need to look at the dipstick to determine your vehicle’s oil levels. To do this, first pop open the hood and locate the dipstick. Most dipsticks will have a colored tab on it for easy identification. Once you’ve found the dipstick, pull it out and wipe any remaining oil off of it. If you try to read the dipstick without first wiping away oil you’ll likely get an inaccurate reading.

After you’ve removed the excess oil, put the dipstick back in as far as it will go and wait for a moment before pulling it back out.

Analyze the indicators on the dipstick

Once you’ve taken the dipstick out of its location, take a look at the oil on each side of the dipstick. There should be indicators located near the end of the dipstick that reveal the quality and quantity of your oil. If the indicator shows that your oil is high or good, you don’t need to worry about refilling it at this time. However, if the indicator shows that your oil is thick, black, or gritty, you may need to get your oil changed to ensure its effectiveness.

Another thing to look for is metal particles in the oil. If you see these, this could mean that your car has internal engine damage. Additionally, if the oil looks milky or unusually light, you may have coolant leaking into your vehicle’s engine. If this is the case, you’ll want to get your car towed to an auto mechanic for repair.

Replace the dipstick

Once you’ve thoroughly analyzed the dipstick and determined your oil levels, wipe it off once more and insert the dipstick back in its place. Be sure to place it firmly in its location to ensure that it’s fully seated.

If you have any questions about checking your oil or would like to have one of our service advisors take a look for you, stop by North Point Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat today.

Posted in Car Tips