How to Check Your Engine Oil

How to Check Your Engine Oil
Changing the engine oil is the most common recurring auto maintenance item for any vehicle owner. Oil is what lubricates your vehicle’s engine and it resists heat and friction because that produces wear. Wear is something that will kill your engine, eventually, especially if not maintained. In order to determine whether or not it needs changing, you first have to check it. Checking your engine oil is quick, simple, and so easy that you can do it yourself. Most car models should get their oil changed approximately every three months or three thousand miles, but some models, such as newer hybrids, can go up to five thousand miles. The seven steps below explain how to check your engine oil:

Getting Started

Make sure your car or truck is on even ground so that the dipstick reads correctly. The engine also must be OFF. You should never check your engine oil when a vehicle is running. Also, be sure that the engine is completely cooled off before checking your oil.


Find the engine oil dipstick. Simply open the hood of your vehicle and look for a handle that looks like a yellow plastic ring. Most vehicles will have something that reads “engine oil” on it. 

*DO NOT confuse the engine dipstick with the transmission dipstick*

STEP 2: Pull the dipstick completely out of the engine and wipe it clean with a rag.


Then, put the dipstick all the way back into the engine tank again.


Next, pull the dipstick out again- but this time- do not wipe it clean.


Take a look at the end of the dipstick to get a correct oil level reading. There should be marks on the dipstick to help you determine if your oil level is low. If the oil level of your vehicle is low then you know you need to add oil. Another thing to look for when checking your engine oil is to look at the color of it. Clear, light brown, or amber colors are indicators that the oil is still good. Darker shades of brown or black indicate that the engine oil is old and needs to be changed as soon as possible.


Put the dipstick back into the tank all the way.


Close the hood of your vehicle. Now you are done! Regularly checking your vehicle’s oil level will help ensure that your engine is being properly lubricated and maintained at all times. It’s a simple task that takes only a few minutes to complete and once you’ve learned how you’ll realize how quick and easy it actually is.