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How to Read an Oil Dipstick

If you don't know much about vehicles, routine checkups can seem intimidating. Yet, not everything is complicated. Checking your oil is a simple task you can handle in only a minute or two. Follow these steps, and you'll be a pro in no time.

1. Properly Prepare Your Vehicle

To ensure an accurate reading, you need to do some prep work. First, make sure you are parked on a level surface. Next, consult your owner's manual to find out if your engine needs to be cool or not before checking the oil. Typically it should be cool, however, this is not a requirement in some newer models.

2. Find and Remove the Dipstick

With the engine off, pop the hood. Underneath, you will find a dipstick: a long metal rod used to check the oil. Often, it has a loop on top for you to easily grab. If you are having difficulty locating it, refer to your owner's manual.

Once you have located the dipstick, pull it out. Have a paper towel or any type of rag on hand, as the metal will be covered in oil. When the dipstick is removed, wipe it clean from top to bottom.

3. Get Your Oil Reading

Fully reinsert the dipstick into the area where you found it. Then, take it out again. Now you will notice a precise oil line on the metal. Depending on the style of dipstick, there may be dots, hash lines, or letters that indicate your target area. Refer to your owner's manual for clarification if this causes any confusion.

As long as your reading is between the Full and Low indicators, you are in good shape. However, pay attention to the texture of the oil. If it is black, sticky, or gritty, your oil needs changed. Also, if the oil is at or below the low indicator, more is needed.

Time For a Change

That wasn't so bad. Checking the oil is easy. But leave the rest to us. If you need an oil change performed, we invite you to bring your vehicle to our auto repair shop today!