Engine oil is the life blood of your car and you need to check engine oil levels at least once a week. If your car has oil leaks or minor seepages coming from any part of your engine you will consistently lose varying amounts of oil and it should be topped up to prevent serious harm to your engine. Regular oil checks are very simple, once you know how to do them. It is a remedial task in terms of execution but vital in terms of the performance and health of your vehicle.
First, you need to locate the oil dip stick on your vehicle. On some vehicles there will be more than one dip stick, which can lead to confusion. Usually, the handles are labeled so they can easily be identified. They are also usually yellow and sometimes red. Find the ‘engine oil’ handle. Have cloths ready because you will need them to wipe excess oil away. While you have the hood open, have a look around your engine and familiarize yourself with some of the parts. Refer to the user manual for help on engine parts. You also need to locate the oil filler cap so that if you need to top off the oil you can do so. You will normally find the engine oil cap on top of the engine. The cap will be silver or black in most cases and it will have ‘Engine Oil’ written on it with a little icon of an oil can.
Grab hold of the cloth that you brought out with you. Hold the handle of the dip stick and pull it out carefully. You will probably find that the thin, flat, metal stick will have a couple of twists in it and as you pull it from the holder it may shift a little. Don’t be concerned if that happens. Pull the stick out and check the end that came from the car. It ought to be coated in motor oil. You will be able to also check the condition of your engine oil as you view it on the dip stick. The color and viscosity will indicate whether it is time for an oil change or not. If the oil is light and orange in color it is clean and does not need replacing. If it is thick, black or dark in color, you should think about a change very soon.
So, now you have taken out the dip stick from the holder in the engine. Examine how much covering of oil is on it and then wipe the stick clean with the cloth. What you need to do next is replace the stick where you just pulled it from. Press it down the tube until the handle clicks back into place or won’t move any further. Pull it straight back out again. Not fast, like you are in a hurry, just take it out the same way you did the first time. Examine the end again. You should see two marks on the sticks. One mark will be a low oil indicator level and the other one will indicate that your engine has enough oil (min and max). If the line indicates that motor oil needs adding, pour a quart into the same place you saw the engine oil cap in the engine and check the level again.