How to Check Oil Level

Oil circulates in the engine to lubricate these parts and keep them from wearing out. When the engine is off, this oil settles to the lowest spot in the engine (the oil pan). An oil pan stick or dipstick was installed an the engine by manufacturer to allow you to check the level of the oil. Oil is usually sold in one-quart plastic containers. To open, set it on a flat surface, grasp it near the neck and twist the cap off. If you hold the container with one hand as you twist the cap with the other hand pressure will force oil out the spout as soon as the cap removed.

Instructions :

  • Have a old rag on hand to wipe the dipstick. Make sure your car is in level and the engine is cool. Open the hood and look for the dipstick. It is a rod with a curved handle sticking up from one side or the other of your engine. Push the dipstick down in its tube, if needed, to make sure it accurately measures the oil level in oil pan.

  • Pull the handle up to remove the dipstick rod from the engine. There should be a light or dark brown liquid coating the last couple of inches on the rod. If the liquid is reddish-brown you have the automatic transmission dipstick. Replace and keep looking for the engine oil dipstick.

At the lowest end of the dipstick rod will be marks and maybe the word FULL. Lower an the rod will be another mark and maybe the word ADD. Some dipsticks have only narrow area stamped with a criss-cross design or just two dots. If so, the highest point of the design indicates FULL and the lowest point means ADD. Visually check to identify the highest point on the stick covered by oil. This point should be somewhere between the FULL and ADD words or marks.

  • If the top of oil is above the ADD mark, the oil level is okay. If the top edge of oil is bellow the ADD mark, you must add oil without overfilling it. How to much? For most car add one quart of oil. If the oil mark is well below the ADD mark, put one quart in, let it settle a few minute, and then recheck the oil once.

  • To add oil, first find the oil cap on the engine. Some cars have a twist off cap on the valve cover ( a long and wide part of the engine that often has a design or lettering). Other cars have an oil filler tube with around cap that you should pull off. To make sure this is the right place to put oil, remove the cap and look for signs of dark brown oil buildup.

  • Remove the cap from the oil container (of course, you’ve made sure the oil is the same as that already in the car). If this can’t be done without spilling oil an the engine, use a funnel. Oil won’t hurt the out side the engine, but it smells awful when the engine gets hot.

  • Wait an few minutes until the oil settle in to the oil pan and then recheck the oil level to make sure it’s between the ADD and FULL marks. Filling oil past the full mark can cause more harm to an engine than running to low. WHY? Because excess oil is worked up into a lather by moving parts, reducing the oil’s lubrications qualities.