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How to check your car's oil level

Updated on December 17, 2007


Introduction Checking your engine oil is very important because without oil you will fry your engine. By checking the oil you can detect if you need to replenish the motor oil in time before it's too late. If you know your car is leaking oil you should check your oil level every time before you drive, otherwise every time you get gas is sufficient.

Instructions Difficulty: Easy

Things You'll Need

* 1 Quart of Motor Oil * Paper Towels * Rags


1 Step One

Check the oil when the engine is warm. Oil expands when it's hot and contracts when it's cold. Different temperatures will give you different readings.

2 Step Two

Park the car on a level surface.

3 Step Three

Turn off the engine.

4 Step Four

Pull the hood release lever under the dashboard.

5 Step Five

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.

6 Step Six

Find the dipstick, a long piece of metal sticking out of the engine with a loop at one end, usually located near the spark plugs.

7 Step Seven

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

8 Step Eight

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

9 Step Nine

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.

10 Step Ten

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 (less than a quarter of a quart) with a funnel. Many dipsticks simply have 2 lines with a cross hatch design in between. The oil level should be halfway between these 2 lines.

11 Step Eleven

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.

12 Step Twelve

Check the oil level with the dipstick after adding oil. Add more if necessary. It's easier to add more oil, but fairly difficult to remove oil if you add too much.

13 Step Thirteen

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


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    • profile image

      Palapon 8 years ago

      Thanks for the great advice. I was confused as to the new dipstick style with the punched holes as I am used to 'Full' and 'Low' markers on dipsticks, but this cleared the confusion straight away.

    • profile image

      Newwonder 8 years ago

      Thank you for your video it was very helpful. and empowering. I'm tired of asking and asking my husband to check my oil. Now, I can be in control.