How to check Oil Level in car & top up oil

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  • Post last modified:August 8, 2022
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Do you want to check the oil level? Good, because that’s the only way you can be sure that the engine always has the oil that is vital for it. All you need is a lint-free cloth or rag and a little time. In this article, we will show you how do you check oil level in your car.

check oil level

The oil level of the engine should always be correct; if oil is missing, you should refill your car. We show you how to do it and what to look out for.

Check oil level of your Car

  • The vehicle should be parked on as level a surface as possible with the engine at operating temperature.
  • Turn off the engine and let the car sit for five minutes. This will give the oil circulating in the engine an opportunity to pool in the oil pan.
  • Open the engine hood.
  • You will often find the dipstick marked by a conspicuous color (usually yellow) in the engine compartment.
  • Pull out the dipstick and wipe it with a clean, lint-free rag or non-fibrous paper towel.
  • Insert the dipstick back into the opening as far as it will go.
  • Make sure that the rod is really pushed all the way in. Sometimes the rod gets jammed.
  • Pull it out again and check the oil level. There are two markings for this: Minimum and Maximum. The oil level must be between them.

If you don’t spot the dipstick right away, some makes (Renault, for example) hide it quite deep down in the engine compartment.

Refilling engine oil

A tag in the engine compartment usually tells you which oil you need. A workshop will leave it there after the oil change.

  • To be on the safe side, also check the manual for the correct type of oil.
  • Open the oil filler hole at the top of the engine.
  • Fill some oil into the engine – not too much at once!
  • Give the oil a few minutes to run into the oil pan.
  • Then measure the oil level again.

Slowly approach the appropriate oil level. About half to three quarters of the way between min and max is fine.

If the oil consumption seems too high, check if engine oil is leaking from the outside of the engine. And if there is a pool of oil under your vehicle after parking. If so, drive to the workshop. Also, a case for the workshop is oil loss due to combustion. In that case, your car is burning oil, recognizable by bluish smoke from the exhaust.

This is what you should pay attention to refill oil

Near the dipstick, you will find the cap for the oil. On the lid, you will find the symbol of the oil can. Fill the oil very carefully and slowly. Usually, the opening is not very large, so the oil will come in very slowly.

Depending on the level, you can now add some oil. However, it is better to take too little than too much. Measure the level again with the dipstick and add more oil if necessary.

Take care of the environment and do not spill the oil if possible. Older oil and oil residues can be disposed of at the service station.

What you need to know about engine oil?

The main task of engine oil in an internal combustion engine and its circuit is to lubricate all mechanical and moving parts. Here, metal gears, bearing rings and their seats are often subjected to high stresses from the operation. Lubrication and the associated cooling of the installed parts are essential for durable and long-lasting operation.

Engine oil minimizes the frictional heat generated during engine operation. In another article you can also identify date code on tires with DOT number.

Which engine oil do I need?

If the workshop has changed the oil for the last time, a small plate is usually left in the engine compartment. Here you will find the designation of the oil you need.

If you do not find such a notice, look in the manual. Some manufacturers prescribe the use of a specific brand; you should follow these instructions.

Ask a garage or a gas station attendant if you are still at a loss. They will quickly recognize which oil you need and are guaranteed to sell you the right one. This way, no doubts remain.

What to do if the engine oil is too low?

If the oil level is below the Min mark: Carefully top up with suitable engine oil up to the Max mark. For orientation: If the oil level is at the Min mark, top up with about one liter of oil, then it is at the Max mark. It is best to top up engine oil in stages (approx. 0.1 liter), wait about 2 minutes and check the oil level again. This avoids dangerous overfilling because too much engine oil also damages the engine.

If your car permanently needs too much oil, you should check the reasons for the excessive oil consumption.

What to do if there is too much engine oil?

To be safe, wait a few minutes, then clean the dipstick again and check the oil level again. If it is still clearly too high, talk to the workshop you trust and agree on how to proceed. This also applies if you have accidentally topped up noticeably too much engine oil. Too much engine oil can cause the engine to foam: this reduces lubrication performance, and the oil can also enter the intake system and cause damage there.

How much does an oil change cost?

Regularly measure the level of the engine oil in your car. If you drive with too low an oil level, you endanger the engine. Too much engine oil is also harmful. Although modern engine oils are much more efficient than they used to be, this only applies if you regularly check whether there is enough engine oil at all. Ideally, you check the oil level at every refueling stop – whether diesel or gasoline. But in any case before longer journeys, especially when traveling abroad.

How often do I need to check the oil in my car?

Drivers should measure the oil level every month. With modern cars, checks are also possible digitally via vehicle settings. Drivers who are on the road a lot or drive short distances frequently should not lose sight of the engine’s oil level.

Why measure oil when warm?

The engine should be warm to measure the oil level correctly. However, after turning off the engine, wait for a little to completely collect in the oil pan.

What must be the oil in the car?

Purity and transparency. In the case of new engine oils, you can assess the appearance particularly well during filling: Fresh engine oil should be slightly transparent. It should also have a honey-colored, slightly brownish tinge. The engine oil should look particularly clean.

How much oil consumption is normal?

Oil consumption in the normal range is between 50 milliliters and a quarter of a liter after 1,000 kilometers. Modern vehicles provide information about the oil level via a display or the onboard computer. Fluctuations do not necessarily indicate a defect.

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