How to Check Car Oil

Wiping Off Oil Dip Stick

Motor oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle, whether it’s a daily commuter car or a work truck that’s driving to Bloomington, Peoria, and Champaign every week. While it’s important to have your oil changed regularly, you should also know how to check the oil level in your car — and check it often, every month or so. Not sure how to check your car’s oil level? Sam Leman Automotive Group is here to help.

How to Check the Oil Level in Your Car

While most vehicles use a traditional dipstick, some newer models have an electronic oil monitor. If you don’t know which your vehicle has, check your manual before starting. If your vehicle has an electronic oil monitor, follow the instructions in the manual — if you’re checking your car’s oil the old-fashioned way, follow these steps (you’ll want a rag or a paper towel handy):

  1. The engine needs to be both parked on level ground and cold. If you’re parked on a hill, you’ll need to move the vehicle and wait for the engine to cool.
  2. Once your vehicle is cool, open the hood and find the dipstick (most oil dipsticks look like the one pictured).
  3. Pull the dipstick out of the engine and wipe any oil off of it.
  4. Re-insert the dipstick all the way back into its tube, then pull it out and look at both sides to see where the level is.
Oil Dipstick in Engine

Although not all dipsticks are the same, they do all have a way of indicating a proper oil level. For most, there are two marks that have a hatched area between them — if it’s within those two marks, you’re in a good place.

If your oil doesn’t come up to the hatched area, you may need to add more oil — and you should have your vehicle checked out, as they aren’t supposed to lose any significant amount of oil.

Replacing oil yourself? Be sure to use the grade recommended in the owner’s manual and fill up gradually.

Why Check Your Car’s Oil Level?

Oil is essential to your vehicle’s performance. Too little oil can be a sign of a bigger problem, and even if it’s not, it can cause problems by inadequately lubricating your engine.

When your car is short on oil, it’s a matter of when your vehicle will be damaged by it, not if. Drivers who keep up with routine maintenance like oil changes are one step ahead of those who don’t, but checking your oil every month or so ensures you’re even more prepared and can help you get ahead of car problems

Let Our Service Team Keep Your Car in Prime Condition

Offering service specials and expert advice, our service team is always ready to help. An oil change at one of our Service Centers should only take an hour or less, so schedule service with us today or contact us online for further assistance.

Sam Leman Automotive Group 40.4607752, -88.9687249.