8 Steps To Check Your Car’s Engine Oil Level.

There are numerous items, on your car, that don’t require any special skills to check, except for some basic know how, such as how to check your car’s engine oil level. Maintaining the correct oil level, in your car’s engine, is vital to keeping your car running trouble free for years to come.

So how exactly do you check your car’s engine oil level? Here are 8 steps to check your car’s engine oil level.

  1. Warm Up the Engine.
  2. Locate the Engines dipstick.
  3. Turn the Engine Off.
  4. Remove the Dipstick.
  5. Check the Engine Oil Level.
  6. Top Up the Engine Oil (if necessary).
  7. Recheck the Oil Level.
  8. Enjoy Your Car.

1. Warm Up the Engine.

It is important that the engine has been warmed up to get an accurate oil level reading. While warming the engine up, find a flat, level area to park your car on to also help achieve an accurate oil level.

When an engine is left to sit, and cool down, for an extended period of time, the oil that is in the oil galleries, oil pump and oil filter can drain back into the engines sump, therefore leading to a false high oil level on the dipstick. Have you ever noticed, and I hope you have, the red oil can light in the instrument panel, some people say it looks like a genies lamp, disappear within a few seconds of the engine being first started? That is caused by the oil pump drawing up engine oil out of the sump, filling the oil galleries and oil filter and providing all the internal engine components with pressurised oil that require lubrication.

The oil pressure light. (looks a bit like a genies lantern.)

By warming up the engine for even just a few short minutes will warm up the engine oil and spread it around the engine to aid in an accurate oil level reading.

2. Locate the Engines Dipstick.

In Order to check your car’s engine oil level, first you must know where the dipstick is. But wait what is a dipstick and where can I find one? Simply put a dipstick is a long piece of flexible metal with two marks at the bottom of the dipstick, one for a full level mark and the other as a low-level mark. The dipstick sits in a tube that holds and directs the dipstick into the sump of the engine. The dipstick is normally located on the side of the engine with a coloured handle to help identify it, although some manufacturers do alter its location and identification. If you are still unsure consult your owner’s manual as that will have the dipsticks exact location marked in its pages, normally under the engine oil level heading.

3. Turn the Engine Off.

Here is where good old common-sense kicks in. You MUST, turn the engine off. Not only does it make checking the engine oil level safer, but a running engine sloshes the oil around in the sump and by turning the engine off it allows the oil to stop flying around and settle in the sump.

Turn the engine off and wait around 30 seconds for the oil to settle, the excess oil around the engine will drain back to the sump and allow the oil to settle giving you an opportunity to find an accurate level.

4. Remove the Dipstick.

The next step is to remove the dipstick from the engine. Then, taking a clean rag or cloth, wipe the dipstick clean and inspect the level marks so that you know where they are and what they look like.

The level marks on a dipstick can vary from holes punched into the dipstick, to marks etched into the metal, or even a moulded plastic tip with the marks embedded on the plastic. By identifying the marks, you will be able to easily determine the oil level.

Thge cross hatching on this style of dipstick indicates the Full and Low levels.

5. Check the Engine Oil Level.

Now that you know where the dipstick is located and what the level marks look like. You then need to reinsert the wiped down dipstick, into its tube, ensuring it seats properly and then remove the dipstick. It is at this stage that you then need to look at the mark the oil has left, on the dipstick, and inspect where in relation to the dipsticks level marks the oil level is.

Ideally the oil level should be at the full level mark, this will mean that there is sufficient oil in the engine. An oil level that is excessively high can cause oil leaks from the engine and even cause the engine to blow copious amounts of blue smoke, both of which I have seen on numerous occasions, because the customer thought they were doing the right thing but didn’t actually know how to properly carry out the steps noted in this article.

If the oil level is at or below the low-level mark then you will need to top up the engine with oil, but only to the full mark.

6. Top Up the Engine Oil (if necessary).

If your engine requires the oil level to be topped up, then it is extremely important you use oil that meets the correct viscosity, the number with the “W’ in it, and the correct specifications. The type of oil suitable for your cars engine can be found in the cars owner’s manual or alternatively most oil manufacturers have a lube guide, or product selector guide, on their website that allows you to enter your cars details and then it will show you which oil to use, taking out all of the guess work.

To top up the engine oil you must remove the oil filler cap. This is where you pour in the oil to the engine. It can be identified by either having an oil can symbol printed on it, or even have the words Engine Oil printed onto the cap itself.

Generically many engines will take approximately 1 litre to take the oil level from the low-level mark to the full level mark, although that will vary between differing engines. This just highlights that there is no need to pour all 5 litres of oil into the engine at once without checking, just add it a little bit at a time.

7. Recheck the Engine Oil Level.

Now that you have topped up the oil level, with the correct oil, you need to recheck the oil level. If you have followed the steps in this article, then you will have filled the oil up to the correct level. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you achieve the correct oil level. Make sure that you refit the dipstick back into its tube before you drive off.

The oil level is at the top of the cross hatching.

8. Enjoy Your Car.

Congratulations you have now learnt a new skill that will help to keep your car running smoothly and trouble free for years to come. It is now time to go and enjoy your car fresh with the piece of mind that you will not run out of oil.

Carrying out these 8 steps to check your car’s engine oil level is just one of a number of basic vehicle maintenance checks you can perform to help keep your car running well, out of the workshop and saving you money.

If you would like to find out more about basic vehicle maintenance and how we here at Every Road may be able to help you then send through an email to organise a free consultation regarding how our services may be able to help you.

Don’t forget to click the follow blog button to receive an email every time a new blog post is published. Until next time, get out there and keep making tracks on every road.

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