Motor oil is to an engine what blood is to a human body. You want the right type of motor oil, the right amount and at the right time. If any of these pre-requisites are off, it could mean trouble for the engine and you. In order to reach peak engine performance and longevity, you must start by learning how to check your car oil like a professional. This means paying attention to each detail and following the step-by-step guide below.
How To Check Your Car Oil
Park your car on level ground, which ensures that you get the most accurate reading. Switch your engine off and wait for 10-15 minutes for it to cool down. It was common practice earlier to check your oil when the engine was cold, in order to give the oil a chance to settle in the oil pan. Nevertheless, many manufacturers have since then recalibrated their dipsticks to read correctly, even when the engine is warm.
While the engine is off, pop the hood and locate the oil dipstick, which often has a red or orange plastic tab on it. Refer to your owner’s manual if you weren’t able to locate it after a quick look around the engine. Some of the newer cars monitor oil levels electronically and don’t allow manual oil checks. Make a habit of checking your oil once a month. You can also rely on Car Factory’s trained technicians for current, engine-specific, oil service interval recommendations.
Remove the dipstick using a glove. You will get a sneak peek at your oil level and consistency, but reading at this point is unreliable, so don’t think about skipping the next step.
Wipe the dipstick all the way from the handle to the tip with a paper towel or a clean cloth. The first reading you get from pulling the dipstick isn’t accurate because the oil can splash around or wick upward on the dipstick. Downloading free maintenance apps on your mobile phone help you stay on top of your car’s most important service milestones.
Push the dipstick all the way back in, wait for a second or two and then remove it again. Review the oil on both sides of the dipstick. There are indicators towards the bottom of the stick, which will show you if the oil is low, good or high. Make sure you keep it clean as the motor oil can get contaminated in several ways, including debris introduced through the air, tiny metal shavings in the engine itself, and the combusted by-products. Inserting a clean oil filter helps repel these pollutants so that the oil can do its job.
Inspect the color and consistency of the oil on the stick visually, which can help you determine the oil’s present efficiency. Remember, if the oil appears black, thick, gritty or milky, it might be time for an oil change.
Wipe the dipstick off once again and put it completely back into its tube, making sure it is fully immersed. You can close the hood now.
If your oil check indicated that the oil is low, off-colored or of a strange consistency, visit the Car Factory in our Miami or Hollywood locations today and get it checked out by our team of professionals. Make sure you do it at the right time, call (786) 406-6234 or go to CarFactory.com to schedule an appointment.
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