How to Check Your Oil

What You Should Do

Motor oil plays a crucial role in the performance of the engine and it’s important that you consistently monitor its condition. We are told to check the oil, but seldom are we taught on how to do so. At WOW Auto Care, we recognize how frustrating that can be, and our automotive team is here to help with that. Here are some oil inspection tips that our professionals recommend you use during your next oil check.

Prep Your Vehicle

When checking the motor oil, first make sure that the car is on level ground and that the engine is cold (this may vary based on your vehicle, as some manufacturers prefer the engine warm). Then you’ll want to utilize the dipstick found in the engine. When first pulling it out, clean off old oil stains. Once it’s clean, you can then insert it into the engine and inspect the oil.

Inspect The Quality

Once you’ve pulled the dipstick out of the engine, ask yourself, “how does it look?” Ideally, motor oil should have a clear, amber color to it. That indicates the oil is excellent for use. Don’t panic if the oil takes on a dark and dirty appearance, as that is a byproduct of the oil circulating through the engine and it merely means it’s doing its job. You should start to worry if there are big metal flakes within the oil, it smells burnt, or if it takes on a milky appearance. Those signs signify something is going on within the engine, and professional help is required to accurately determine the issue.

Proper Levels

If the quality of the oil looks good, then turn your attention to the oil level. Ideally, you want the oil to be firmly between MIN and MAX or right at MAX (these indicators may change based on what vehicle you have). If the level is at or below MIN, that’s when you’ll need to add more oil.

When adding oil, it’s important that you understand what type of oil your vehicle utilizes. To find out, reference the owner’s manual. When adding oil, please refrain from adding it in all at once. Instead, add a little oil at a time, wait a few minutes, and then check the level utilizing the dipstick. If the oil is still not at an adequate level, then repeat the process. This way provides you with more control when pouring the oil and ensures the proper amount of oil is added, as too much motor oil in the engine is just as bad as low levels.

Written by WOW Auto Care

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