A Crash Course in Checking Your Oil

How to Change Your Oil (Or Have Our Team Do It For You!)

If you’re not yet comfortable checking your own oil, that’s okay. However, it’s a useful skill to learn and can be important to preserving your vehicle. Therefore, we want to offer you a crash course (No pun intended. We certainly don’t want you to have an accident.) in checking oil. We’ve been serving our local community since we opened our doors in 1991, so it just feels natural to help our neighbors by teaching you a useful skill. However, we want you to remember that for tasks you don’t want to handle on your own, you can always count on K.A.R.S. in Alliance, Ohio.

Steps by Step Instructions

As you prepare to check your oil for the first time, you may want to consult your owner’s manual to review the exact specifications for your car. Index references may include the words oil, engine oil, motor oil, or lubricant. The manual will also show you where to look for the dipstick (most vehicle models) or the electronic monitor (on a few models) as well as whether you should check the oil when the motor is cold (most manufacturers) or after the motor has been warmed up (a few manufacturers). For most cars, the next step is to remove the dipstick by pulling. Use a clean cloth or disposable paper (paper towel, napkin, etc.) to wipe the stick clean. Reinsert it, pull it out again, and look at the oil streak (the line where it stops). Each stick will have some sort of marking. This could be a crosshatched zone, low/high indicators, full/low, etc. If the streak is between those markings or in the zone, your oil level is okay. If not, you need to add oil. Be sure to replace the dipstick, pushing it firmly into place. (Note: The oil is not added where the dipstick enters. You will need to find and the oil fill cap.)

Important Considerations

As you’re checking your oil, there are several important factors to consider. Most obviously, if your vehicle needs more oil, you’ll want to add some. That brings us to the first consideration. What kind of oil should you use? Consult your manual to determine the exact oil your manufacturer recommends (example: 5W-30, 10W-40, etc.). Also, think back to your last oil purchase and change. Did your mechanic use conventional, full synthetic, synthetic blend, or high mileage oil? You’ll probably want to continue using the same kind. Also, observe the visual condition of the oil. It will have a golden to dark brown color, but it should not be black and thick (which may indicate the presence of sludge), nor should it look milky (which may show that coolant has leaked into the engine oil). Your final consideration is where to take your car for service and repair. K.A.R.S. in Alliance, Ohio, is here to help you when you’re ready to change your oil and make you feel more comfortable with those little tasks you can perform yourself.

By on November 10th, 2020 in Oil Change