Your car should always be in excellent condition. Changing a car’s engine oil is one of the first maintenance tasks that many people learn. Some cars include electronic oil monitors that display the oil level on the dashboard. However, many cars require you to get beneath the hood and use the dipstick.
Read our step-by-step guide to take care of your car in between service appointments and avoid engine problems.
Things you will need to change engine oil
You’ll need the following items:
- Any towel
- Engine oil bottle
How to check your engine oil
Check if your car is parked on level ground, as a slope could result in an erroneous oil measurement. Also, your engine should be at a comfortable temperature. If you haven’t driven your car in a while, wait 5-10 minutes before checking your oil level, or check it first thing in the morning before using it.
When checking anything under the hood, never do so while the engine runs. Instead, open the hood of your car and look for your dipstick’s brightly colored plastic handle. Consult your owner’s manual if you’re not sure where it is.
Remove the dipstick once you’ve located it, and wipe it clean with a kitchen towel. The clean dipstick will have two notches scratched for maximum and minimum oil levels. Replace the clean dipstick in its tube and push it back in. Check where the oil line is with respect to the notches by pulling it out again.
The level is fine if the top of the oil streak is between the min and max markers. Some oil should be added if the level is less than halfway between the markers. You should add some oil if it’s near to or even below the minimum mark.
How to add engine oil to the car
Locate the oil filler cap in your engine bay if your oil needs to be replaced. The word “oil” or an outline of an oil can should be on this. Next, remove the oil filler lid and use a funnel to pour the oil into the container carefully.
A liter of oil equals the gap between the minimum and maximum notches on a dipstick. So if the level were at or near minimum when you checked it, you’d need to add roughly 1 liter.
If you’re unsure how much you’ll need, start with a small amount and work your way up. Allow a few minutes for the oil to drain to the bottom of the engine before rechecking the dipstick level.
It’s just as harmful to put too much oil in your car as it is to put too little. So be careful not to overdo it.
Is your engine oil low?
Make sure you know which oil your car requires before topping it up. Check your car’s owner’s manual to avoid damaging your engine using the wrong oil. It’s critical to utilize oil that complies with all technical requirements (ACEA, API, VW, etc.). It must also be the correct grade (numbers separated by a ‘w,’ for example, 5w30).
How often should you check your oil level?
One of the most critical car maintenance duties is checking and topping off your engine oil. It is, however, one of the easiest to complete on your own.
The mechanic will drain the old oil, replace the oil filter, and refill it with new oil during your yearly auto service. However, you can check your oil and top it up in minutes.
We don’t advocate waiting till your yearly service.
What to do if you run out of oil?
It’s critical not to let your engine oil become depleted. There is less lubricant for your engine’s bearings and other moving parts when the oil pressure is low. In addition, metal rubs against metal, resulting in irreparable and costly damage.
When you’re cornering, the oil pressure warning light may turn on if the oil level drops too low.
What is the color of engine oil?
When new, the oil is clear and golden, but it quickly darkens to a dark brown or black color when used. This darkening is completely normal and causes no concern. However, when new oil interacts with the remaining old oil, it might turn black after replacing it.
If it’s black and the texture is sludgy, it’ll need to be replaced. If the oil appears milky, creamy, or frothy, it is because of coolant or water leaking into the oil. It would help if you had this checked out by a mechanic.
How long is engine oil good for?
The manufacturer’s recommended oil change interval will be listed in your manual. The majority of cars have service intervals that are set in stone. This usually entails changing the oil every 9,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first.
Some cars have different service intervals. In this situation, the car will notify you when it’s time for an oil change based on how it’s been driven and the oil’s quality. If your car is serviced variedly, the recommended oil will be specially formulated to last longer.
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