How to Check Your Oil

Things You'll Need:

  • 1 Quart of Motor Oil

  • Paper Towels

  • Rags


  1. Step 1

    Park the car on a level surface.

  2. Step 2

    To get the most accurate reading you want to check your oil when the engine is cold.

  3. Step 3

    Pull the hood release lever under the dashboard.

  4. Step 4

    Walk around the front of the car, reach under the hood, find the latch and squeeze it. As you squeeze the latch, open the hood.

  5. Step 5

    Find the dipstick. This is a long piece of metal sticking out of the engine with a loop at one end, usually located near the center of the engine. Many times it will be labeled with the word "Oil" or brightly colored.


  6. Step 6

    Pull on the loop and draw the dipstick all the way out.

  7. Step 7

    Wipe the oil off the dipstick with a paper towel or shop rag.


  8. Step 8

    Replace the clean dipstick, making sure to push it all the way in, then pull it back out and hold it horizontally in front of you.

  9. Step 9

    Look at the pointy end of the dipstick. If the oil on the dipstick is below the line marked "full," add a small amount of oil. Many dipsticks simply have 2 lines with a cross hatch design in between. The oil level should be halfway between these 2 lines.


  10. Step 10

    Add the oil by unscrewing the oil filler cap, which is about 3 inches in diameter and located on the very top of the engine. It will usually be marked with the words "Engine Oil".


  11. Step 11

    Check the oil level with the dipstick after adding oil. Add more if necessary. It's easier to add more oil several times, then to take oil out.

  12. Step 12

    Put the oil filler cap back on and secure it tightly.

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