Check Your Oil
Your motor oil is the life’s blood of your car’s engine. Checking on it regularly is a important part of ensuring your engine is running well and lasts the distance.
The oil lubricates the engine’s moving parts, keeping them from wearing out too quickly. It helps keep the engine from overheating and keeps it clean, by preventing a buildup of dirt. Checking your vehicles oil level is a quick, easy job you should do at every other week. All you’ll need is a paper towel or rag.
Pull the dipstick back out, and look at the dipstick to see where the oil is on the end. If the top of the oil “streak” is between the two marks the level is fine but if the oil is below the minimum mark, you need to add some oil. If there is no Oil on the dipstick, DO NOT DRIVE YOUR CAR until you add oil or it is seen by a mechanic.
Also, check the oil’s colour. It should appear brown or black. A light, milky appearance could mean coolant is leaking into the engine. Look closely for any metal particles, too, as this could mean there is internal engine damage. If you see either of these conditions, get the car to your local mechanic for further diagnosis.
If everything’s okay, wipe off the dipstick and insert it back into its tube. Close the hood and you’re done.
A light, milky appearance could mean coolant is leaking into the engine.
Let’s Check Your Oil
Firstly, check the owner’s manual and follow the recommendations. Some modern vehicles have electronic oil monitors and don’t have traditional dipsticks for inspecting the oil.
Make sure the car is parked on level ground and the engine is cold, or at the very least leave the car off for a few minutes so the oil can settle to the sump. With the engine off, open the car’s hood and secure the hood with the strut. Make sure the strut is secured properly, the last thing you want is the hood to fall back down onto your head. Find the dipstick. Pull the dipstick out from the engine and wipe any oil off from the end. Locate the markings at the bottom. Every dipstick has some way of indicating the proper oil level, it could be be two holes, an “L”and “H” (low and high), the words “MIN” and “MAX”, or simply an area of crosshatching. Put the Dipstick back into the tube it came from.
To Add Oil
Use the grade of oil recommended in the owner’s manual. It will usually have a designation such as 5W-20 or 10W-30. You can buy it at any service station or auto-parts store.
To add oil, remove the oil cap, usually located on top of the engine. Since over-filling with oil is bad for the engine, you should add oil a little at a time. Start by adding about half a litre. Using a funnel, it helps avoid spills. Wait a minute or so and check the dipstick again. If the level is still below or near the minimum mark, add another half a litre. Unless your engine is leaking or burning oil (or if you haven’t checked it in awhile) you will rarely need to add more than a litre.
Screw the oil cap back on securely, and you’re done.