How to Check Your Car’s Engine Oil In Simple Steps

28. How to Check Your Car's Engine Oil In Simple Steps1
Read Time:4 Minute, 25 Second

The engine in your car depends on oil to function. The simplest way to ensure that you avoid catastrophic engine failure and the astronomical repair costs that go along with it is to always make sure there is enough oil.

This is particularly crucial if you have an older vehicle. Once the odometer on a car reaches 100,000 miles, the engine may start to wear down to the point where it starts to burn off small amounts of oil each time you drive. This cumulative loss can cause the oil level to drop too low between oil changes. Oil leaks are also more common in vehicles with high mileage. To determine how frequently you need to top off your oil, check it frequently for both of these problems.


Your engine will run smoothly between oil changes if you check the oil once a month. Oil changes ought to be made every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Have a quart or two of oil on hand in case you need it and check the oil first thing in the morning when the car is cool and hasn’t been running.

Tools Required:

  • Funnel

Materials Required:

  • Engine oil (one to two quarts)
  • Paper towels

How To Check Your Car’s Engine Oil

Step 1: Prepare To Check

Make sure your car is level, the engine is off, the transmission is in Park (or a lower gear if it’s a manual transmission), and the parking brake is engaged. If you don’t know how to do this, check your owner’s manual.

Step 2: Locate The Dipstick

Most cars have a small colored handle that is usually yellow or orange and is marked with an oil-can symbol, making the dipstick easy to identify.

Step 3: Pull The Dipstick

Pull the dipstick all the way out of the tube it is contained in. It resembles taking a sword out of its sheath. Remove any oil from the dipstick’s tip with a rag or paper towel that you have at the ready. Two lines can be seen at the tip of the dipstick; the lower line indicates that the oil level is one quart low. The top line indicates that the crankcase, or car’s oil tank, is full. Some dipsticks are also marked with words like “full” and “add.”

28. How to Check Your Car's Engine Oil In Simple Steps2

Step 4: Note Oil Level

Slide the dipstick slowly and all the way down into the tube. Withdraw it now, and pay close attention to the tip; it should be covered in oil. Your vehicle has sufficient oil if the oil level is between the two lines. It’s time to add a quart if it’s at or below the low mark.

Step 5: Wait And Re-check

After adding a quart of oil, wait a few minutes for it to drain into the crankcase before checking the level again to make sure it is at least halfway between the high and low marks. Your engine can operate safely with just the right amount of lubrication even if the oil level is below the high mark.

How To Check Your Engine Oil Level With A Dipstick

Checking the oil level in your car is easy if it has a dipstick. Open the hood (or rear bonnet, if your vehicle has a mid- or rear-engine), then make sure the engine is off. Pull the dipstick out of its tube by locating the handle, which is typically marked in yellow or red with an oil symbol stamped on it. Reinstall the dipstick in the tube after wiping any oil off with a fresh cloth. For an accurate reading, ensure that it is completely reinstalled and seated correctly.

Your car’s oil level might be slightly lower if you’ve just driven it than if it’s been idle for a while. Because some of the oil hasn’t yet settled to the bottom of the pan where the dipstick is located, some of it is still dispersed throughout the engine. As a result, it shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re worried that your car may be burning or leaking too much oil.

How Long Does Engine Oil Last?

Depending on the vehicle and how it is operated. You can find the manufacturer’s suggested oil change interval in your owner’s manual.

The majority of cars have set maintenance intervals. This usually means that the oil should be changed after 9,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first.

Variable servicing intervals apply to some vehicles. In this situation, based on how it has been driven and the state of the oil, the car will let you know when an oil service is necessary. The recommended oil will be specially formulated to last longer if your car is on variable servicing.

How Frequently Should My Oil Be Checked?

Consumer Reports advises performing an oil check on your car every other gas fill-up, as was already mentioned. A rag or paper towel to wipe off the dipstick is all that is required to complete this task.


The best thing you can do for your engine is check it frequently and change the oil. Make sure it is completed correctly and on schedule. Your engine will receive the care and attention it requires, and you’ll also experience peace of mind in addition to a smoothly operating engine!

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