How Do You Check Car Engine Oil Level
Find the dipstick inside your engine bay. It should have a red or yellow top. Take it out and clean the end with a rag. You should then be able to see some signs or marks on the stick itself. These will normally be a LOW mark and a HIGH mark. Your engine oil needs to be inside these two levels, and closer to the top level rather than lower to the bottom level.
If your engine oil is closer to the bottom level then it is time to “TOP UP” your engine oil. Make sure you have a small container of the CORRECT type of oil ready to put into your engine.
Oil is like blood in the body. Your car can’t run without it. Motor oil keeps all your engine movable parts well lubricated while helping in heat dissipation.
However, after some time oil becomes contaminated with various engine impurities and acquires a dark color instead of its characteristic amber color. At this point, your oil loses its viscosity and becomes a poor lubricant.
Many people are not sure when to check under the hood for oil levels. Some wait until the “check engine oil” flashes on their dashboard before they can contemplate an oil change. However, at this time the oil will have caused serious engine trouble if its low or dirty.
Proper Way to Check Oil
The surest way to check your oil level is by using the oil dipstick. Before, you can remove the dipstick ensure the engine is not hot; if you have being driving give it an average of five minutes before you can check the dipstick.
The location of the oil dipstick varies with car brand but it is located in the engine block. Most of the front wheel drive cars have it on the front of the engine.
Remove the dipstick and wipe it with a piece of cloth. There moments you may find that the dipstick is stuck. Simply twisting it a bit and it will be loose. Once the dipstick is clean then re-immerse it back.
Removing it again should give you clear readings. There two markings on the dipstick – maximum and minimum. If the oil falls below the minimum level or is close to this markings it is time to top up your oil. However, ensure that you are not experiencing leaks.
This necessitates you to constantly recheck the oil dipstick every few miles for oil drip levels. When you are replenishing your oil levels ensure you do not go beyond the maximum levels.
You do not refill oil from the dipstick hole. Instead on top of your engine block is something written “oil cap”. Unscrew this cap and refill your oil. The dipstick will inform you of the oil levels.
While checking the dipstick oil levels, you should also examine the oil color and texture. Good oil is amber in color however, if there is sludge buildup it will turn a dark color.
You can also feel the texture of oil to know if it is still usable. Good oil has a smooth texture, however, if you rub oil with your fingers and it feels coarse then it is probably time for an oil change.
How Often Should You Check Oil?
There is not specific time but most mechanics recommend you do it at least once a month or before going on a long trip. You can also check it more frequently if you suspect you are experiencing oil leaks.
The other question is when should you change your engine oil?
The number of miles you need to clock before the next oil change will depend on the type of oil, car usage and whether you have being experiencing leaks. If you are using the conventional oils then expect to do around 3,000 to 5,000 miles before the next oil change.
Modern cars are designed to be more efficient hence they can do more than 7,000 to 10,000 miles before they may need an oil change. In addition, full synthetic oils are designed with less impurities making them last longer. Your car manual or mechanic offers great suggestions as to when to do an oil change.
Symptoms of Low Oil in Your Car
It is also imperative that you know some possible symptoms for low engine oil. If you are going to enjoy a smooth ride then your oil should be at optimal levels. Oil change is a simple procedure that should not take you more than 15 minutes to fix.
Oil Warning Light
One of the first signs that your car is running low on oil is that the oil warning light will turn on. This is often reflected on the dashboard but may vary depending on car type.
The oil light monitors the oil pressure through a series of sensors. The moment they detect a dip in the oil pressure they send a signal to the onboard computer and you should get a warning. If you do not take this seriously you will have further engine breakdown as the metallic parts grind into each other due to lack of lubrication.
Engine Burning Smell
Oil is a vital lubricant for the various metallic parts in your engine. It keeps them from coming into contact with each other. When these metallic parts are not well lubricated friction will result. This leads to more heat being generated leading to a burning smell from the engine.
The moment the low oil indicator comes on, you should stop the car immediately and check for oil depth. If you do not do this the metallic engine parts will start grinding each other producing knocking sounds.
If this persists you are going to experience a loosening of the engine rods. Rods are what holds the pistons in place. These rods are move at intense speeds and need oil to keep them well lubricated. When they become loose they start emitting knocking sounds.
Premature Engine Failure
If you continue with a car that is low on oil them metallic parts will experience premature wear and tear. This eventually leads to premature engine failure. The cost of repair can be very high and may result in you requiring a new engine.
When changing your engine oil you may need to raise the car a bit so that you can also change the oil filter.
It is also important that you do the oil change in certified auto repair shop to prevent the spilled oil from contaminating the environment. While changing oil is a simple DIY, you may want it done in an auto repair shop so that they can service other car parts.
It is also imperative that you select a suitable oil type that is well suited for your climatic conditions. Oil has various ratings that show how it responds in winter and extreme hot weather conditions. What you do not want is oil thickening during cold seasons.
This is poses challenges moving the crankshaft and you may experience more cold starts. The other problem is having your oil evaporate during extreme hot conditions. Your manufacturers manual will give you clues at the right motor oil to use for your car.
When you are draining your oil it is prudent to let the engine run for a few minutes. This allows oil to regain its viscosity while the circulation helps carry around any carbon deposits. Once the temperature has dropped, you can then drain the oil.
Motor oil plays a vital role in keeping all the metallic engine parts well lubricated. When you have clean oil in place you experience fuel efficiencies and smooth transmissions.
However, due to the high number of impurities in the engine the oil becomes contaminated, acquiring a dark color. You can check oil levels through the oil dipstick located on the top of the engine.
First, remove the dipstick and clean it before re-immersing it for a correct reading. Oil should not drop below the minimum level neither should you refill it above the maximum level.