Did you know that checking your vehicle’s oil level is probably one of the easiest car maintenance tricks you can do? Most professionals are actually bewildered at how few drivers seem to actually understand the importance of regular oil checks. There’s a mentality that goes: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And while this old saying rings true for a lot of things, it doesn’t translate to: “remember only when already broken”.
In the previous post we tackled the importance of vehicle maintenance, and this is something that all car owners should be aware of. Believe it or not, a number of vehicle problems and breakdowns occur due to simply “forgetting” to check the auto’s oil level. A brand new car will be completely useless in a matter of months if you don’t check and refill your oil.
Before checking your vehicle, consult with your owner’s manual first on what type of oil you need to use for your SUV, car or truck. You can tell the difference between various vehicle oils based on the viscosity or the thickness of the liquid. Be sure to use the type of oil the manual describes. Don’t switch viscosities just because a type of oil is cheaper than your usual brand. Most professionals would actually recommend not changing oil types throughout your vehicle’s entire run.
If you find that your vehicle is prone to oil leakage caused by an unsteady cap, then you may need to replace these faulty parts. For high quality direct replacement car parts or truck accessories, I suggest you conduct your search online. There are numerous parts providers peddling their wares online. For discount auto parts simply follow the link.
When are you supposed to check you oil levels? Before turning your oil checking into a routine, you first need to check your owner’s manual to see how often you’ll need to change your vehicle’s oil. This would vary depending on the number of months and/or mileage.
Most mechanics would tell you that the best time to check for oil levels is every gas fill-up, although if you happen to be a pretty busy person, then you may check your oil levels every week or two. If you still don’t have enough time for this weekly practice, then I suggest you check your vehicle’s oil levels when:
· You notice how your vehicle seems to be using up more oil than before (This is usually a sign seen in older vehicles—most of the time, it means your vehicle needs some engine work)
· You’ve been using your vehicle more
· You’re about to take a long trip
· You’ve been taking more frequent drives around town
· The oil levels are low but not low enough for you to fill the tank up
Remember to check your oil levels while the engine is still a bit warm. Take note: warm and not blistering hot. Oil level results are usually more accurate during this time.
Follow these easy steps when checking your vehicle’s oil level:
Step 1: Prop up your hood.
Step 2: Look for your dipstick or oil stick. This stick is usually located near your vehicle’s oil fill cap.
Step3: Take out the dipstick as evenly and as straight as possible.
Step 4: Wipe down the dipstick using a paper towel or a piece of cloth. Try to get it as clean as possible.
Step 5: Take the dipstick and insert it into the tank once again. Do this as straight and as evenly as possible, up to its full length. Then remove it once again, keeping the dipstick as straight as possible.
Step 6: Look at the dipstick to determine the oil level. There are many different dipstick-types used depending on your vehicle type, model or maker. Indicators may vary according to the dipstick used, but most of these dipsticks usually have marks that indicate a “full” level—meaning no oil is needed. If the dipstick indicates an “add” level, then you need to add a quart of oil. If your vehicle needs oil, proceed to step 7, if not, skip and go to step 8.
Step 7: Depending on your oil level, it may be necessary for you to add more than just a quart of oil. To add oil, follow these simple procedures:
Reinsert your dipstick.
Remove your vehicle’s oil cap.
Carefully add a quart of oil. Be extra-careful to avoid spilling anything.
Recheck your oil level. If it’s still pretty low then add around half a quart more then check again.
Repeat these steps until your vehicle has enough oil. Replace your oil cap after you finish these procedures.
Step 8: Reinsert your dipstick and replace the oil cap.