How To Check Engine Oil

Step 1: Park on a Level Surface

Ensure that your car is parked on a level surface. This step is critical to obtaining an accurate oil level reading.

Step 2: Let the Engine Cool

It’s best to check the engine oil when the engine is cold or has been off for at least a few minutes. This allows the oil to settle in the oil pan, providing a more accurate reading.

Step 3: Open the Hood

Locate and release the hood latch inside your car. Once the hood is released, secure it in the open position using the prop rod or support arm.

Step 4: Find the Dipstick

The engine oil dipstick is usually a brightly colored, T-shaped handle, often labeled “ENGINE OIL.” It’s typically located near the front of the engine, close to the radiator.

Step 5: Remove and Wipe the Dipstick

Carefully pull the dipstick out of its tube. Use a clean, lint-free cloth or paper towel to wipe the oil off the dipstick completely.

Step 6: Reinsert and Remove the Dipstick

Insert the clean dipstick back into its tube fully, and then pull it out again. This time, pay attention to the oil level marks on the dipstick.

Step 7: Read the Oil Level

The dipstick will have two markings, typically labeled “L” for low and “H” for high. The oil should fall between these two marks. If the oil level is below the “L” mark, you need to add more oil. If it’s between the “L” and “H” marks, the oil level is okay. If it’s above the “H” mark, you have too much oil, and you’ll need to drain some out.

Step 8: Adding Oil (if necessary)

If the oil level is low, you can add oil through the oil filler cap. Use a funnel to prevent spills, and add a small amount of oil at a time. Recheck the level with the dipstick until it reaches the appropriate level.


Regularly checking your engine oil is a simple and important task that can help maintain your vehicle’s performance and prevent costly engine damage. By following these steps, you can ensure your car’s engine has the right amount of oil to keep running smoothly. Remember to consult your owner’s manual for specific guidelines and oil type recommendations for your vehicle.

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