With today’s gas prices soaring, you want to be sure your car runs as efficiently as possible. One trick to getting good mileage is to keep up with regular maintenance. The first and easiest step to taking care of your car is to get in the habit of checking your own oil. It’s simple to do if you follow these steps.
1 paper towel
- Open the hood. It’s best to check your oil when the car has been running but not too hot. Try early morning after a trip to the gas station or running errands. Turn the car off and then open the hood.
- Locate the dipstick. The location of the dipstick varies by vehicle. If you don’t know where yours is, check the manual. Or take a look at your engine; it’s usually easy to find. You are looking for a stick or loop that protrudes. It may have oil written on it to give you a hint. Give a little tug, if it moves it should be the dipstick. If it doesn’t move easily, keep looking and you will find the dipstick.
- Pull the dipstick out and wipe clean with a paper towel. The biggest reason you don’t want to check the oil when the car is too hot is that you don’t want to burn yourself. Pull the dipstick all the way out and wipe it clean to remove any oil. Take a look at the clean dipstick. Near the end of the stick, you should see a hash mark or line that indicates where the oil level should be.
- Reinsert the dipstick. Make sure to push it all the way in to get a proper reading.
- Pull the dipstick out again and check the reading. On the second pull, you will be checking the oil reading. The oil left on the dipstick this time should be near the level or line you found in step 4. If it is, you have enough oil. If it is low, you might want to add some more. While checking the oil, don’t just look at the level. Sometimes the oil will be very thick and dark. If the oil looks dirty, it might be time to change it, even if you haven’t reached the mileage for an oil change.
That was all it took; five minutes or less to check your oil. Get into a routine with checking your oil. Some people prefer to check whenever they get gas; others schedule it as part of their Saturday morning chores. Find a method that works for you because when you take care of your car, it will take care of you.