Car Basics: Checking Your Oil

Checking the oil in a vehicle is a very basic car-maintenance skill that all drivers should have. It’s not difficult, and all drivers both young and old can learn how.

The oil plays an important role in keeping your car running smoothly. If you fail to keep the oil level/quality where it needs to be, you’ll experience some serious problems with the engine. So, here’s how to check your oil (which should be done at least once a month):

Open the hood, remove the dipstick, and clean it with a rag

The exact location of the dipstick varies from vehicle to vehicle, but look for a circular handle (usually yellow). Pull the handle and remove the dipstick. Wipe off the end of the stick so that it is clean of any oil. Once it is clean, insert the dipstick back into the tube and push it all the way in.

oil change idahoOnce again, pull out the dipstick and check the oil level

The dipstick will have some type of markings on the end. You might see the words “MIN” and “MAX”, “Full” and “Add”, or there may just be a section of the dipstick that has a cross-hatched pattern. Whatever the markings, you are checking to see if the oil is below the minimum mark indicated on the dipstick. If so, that means the oil in your engine is low and more is needed. Find a cap labeled “Oil Cap”, or something along those lines, and add the oil there, NOT into the dipstick tube.

Now that you have checked the level of the oil, you will want to check the oil’s quality. Not only do you need enough oil, but you need clean oil. First take a look at the oil’s color. If it is light-colored or milky, you should take it to a mechanic such as Bargain Tire to have it checked. There may be a coolant leak. Also pay attention to how the oil smells – if it smells like gasoline it is probably time for a change. To finish, rub some oil between your fingers. If it leaves a dirty smudge it’s also time for a change.

Congratulations, you’re done!

Piece of cake, right? You’ll be able to finish this whole process in under a minute in no time! When adding oil, check the vehicle owner’s manual to make sure you use the right type of oil. For oil that needs to be changed, bring your vehicle to Bargain Tire in Chubbuck, Idaho for our top-of-the-line oil change services. We’ll have you in, out, and safely back on the road!

Give us a call, or visit our website to schedule an appointment