Checking your oil levels is important for the health of your car’s engine. Thanks to oil, the engine remains lubricated, allowing it to run smoothly. Assessing your oil levels is important, so you can detect if the oil itself needs to be changed to maintain your engine. You should check the oil levels every one to three months, depending on the age of your car. If you have a new car, your first oil change (or several) may be included with your maintenance plan. If not, it is up to you to have your oil changed regularly so you can drive your car without worry. The team at DriversLicenseAdvisors.org suggests checking the type of oil your car takes. Nowadays, new cars take synthetic oil, which can last up to six months, requiring less frequent oil checks and changes. Learn how to check your oil by reviewing the steps outlined below.
- Open your hood – Once your car has been off for at least 10 minutes and the engine has cooled down, the first step in changing your oil is to pop your hood. Look for the lever on the inside of the driver’s side of your car. Pull the lever until you hear a popping sound. This indicates that your hood has been released. Feel under the hood for the release, and lift the hood above your head. The team at DriversLicenseAdvisors.org recommends propping your hood open if it does not stay ajar on its own, so you can have full access to what’s underneath.
- Remove the dipstick – Locate your dipstick for removal. Depending on the type of engine you have, the dipstick may be located toward the center of the hood or at the front of your engine. Make sure you are not confusing your oil dipstick with the transmission fluid dipstick or the transaxle fluid dipstick (depending on your car’s engine).
- Clean the dipstick – The team at DriversLicenseAdvisors.org recommends cleaning your dipstick with an old rag. A paper towel may not get the job done, and a rag will be much more absorbent.
- Reinsert the dipstick – Once the dipstick is clean, reinsert it into the oil pipe. Rotate it slightly if it gets stuck, though it should rotate naturally due to its bended shape.
- Pull the dipstick out again, and inspect the oil – Now, you can examine the oil. First, take a look at the oil level. If it is low, you should add more accordingly. Or, if it has a bad smell, this is an indicator that the oil is ready to be changed. If you want to add some oil on your own, the experts at DriversLicenseAdvisors.org recommend double-checking the type of oil your car takes prior to attempting this step. Then, you will pour it in under the oil cap – not where you have been working with the dipstick.
- Place the dipstick back again – After you have assessed the oil, simply reinsert the dipstick securely back into the oil pipe.
- Close up shop – Once everything is back in place, be sure to close your hood and listen for the click. If you need an oil change, proceed to book an appointment to take care of this task, so you can continue driving your car with a properly lubricated engine.