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How to Check Your Oil

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Reading Your Dipstick

Making sure that your oil level is adequate is extremely important because oil is the lubricant of the engine so that it doesn’t burn up the engine due to all of the friction and heat from the operating engine. If your engine oil is dirty or smells like gasoline when you pull the dipstick out, it’s time to change your oil. Let’s walk through the basics of checking your oil:

  1. Make sure that your car has been off for more than 10 minutes so that the engine is cool and that your car is on a level surface for an accurate reading. Locate your dipstick – Most dipsticks are labeled by color (yellow or red) with a description of what it is (i.e. Engine Oil)
  2. Pull out the dipstick and wipe it down so that all of the oil that may have splashed up higher on it will not affect your readings. There are different types of dipsticks (lines, dots, ridges, etc.) to read the oil level, but generally, the oil levels should be near or at the top marker labeled F.
  3. Insert the stick back in to get a proper measurement of oil for a few seconds and inspect the level based on the markers. Make adjustments to oil levels as needed.
    1. PRO TIP: Remember that just because the oil turns black does not mean that the quality of oil has gone away! Rub the oil with your fingers and if it leaves a smudge, it should be replaced.
  4. If your car’s oil needs to be changed check out this post for an in-depth explanation on how to do it yourself!

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.

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About the Author

FIXD Research Team

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

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