Motor oil lubricates the parts in a car engine, which reduces friction and keeps the engine from getting too hot. Keeping tabs on oil levels in your car can help prevent overheating if your oil reservoir loses oil unexpectedly. Fortunately, checking your car’s oil at home makes it easy to know when to schedule an oil change near Harvey!
Not sure how to check car oil yourself? Read this step-by-step guide to learn more about the importance of timely oil changes, and find out how to check oil levels in your car accurately.
Checking your oil only takes a few minutes -- but a quick check under the hood can save you a lot of grief! If you find unexpectedly low oil levels, or a problem with the oil quality, there could be an underlying issue. Follow these steps for how to check car oil, or check your owner’s manual for instructions specific to your make and model:
Park your car on level ground and turn off the engine.
Wait at least 30 minutes for the engine to cool down.
Open the hood and find the oil dipstick -- a long, thin metal rod that measures oil level. In most vehicles, you’ll find its pull-tab near the front of the engine. If you can’t locate it, refer to your owner’s manual.
Pull out the dipstick, and use a clean rag to clear off the oil.
Now re-insert the dipstick all the way back into its tube, and pull it steadily back out.
Inspect both sides of the dipstick to gauge your oil level.
The dipstick will either have two marks about a half-inch apart, or a cross-hatched area. If the oil reaches anywhere in that range, the oil level is good.
If the oil is low, remove the oil tank cap and slowly add new oil. Add a little at a time, re-checking the level after each addition.
Why Check Your Car’s Oil Level?
Oil can tell you some important things about your car’s overall health. For instance, oil that appears very dark, or contaminated with small particles, is dirty and needs to be changed. Besides not functioning properly as a lubricant, dirty engine oil can gunk up your engine with engine sludge -- a mix of oxidized motor oil, dirt, soot, water vapor, and leaked coolant.
Low oil levels can alert you to problems like an oil reservoir leak, degraded engine gaskets, or worn-out oil seals. Low oil levels encourage friction and engine overheating. Leaking engine gaskets can cause lots more problems, from coolant loss to engine block damage at the leak point. Knowing how to check car oil is an easy way to guard against these and other costly car problems!
Rely on Leson Chevrolet for Essential Auto Services
If your Chevy vehicle is due for an oil change or other routine service, our New Orleans-area service center technicians have you covered. We’re happy to answer all your car-care questions, from checking tire treads to emergency jump-starts. Check out our rotating selection of service and parts specials for Harvey and Metairie drivers!