How Do I Check my Engine Oil Level?
Your engine oil is one of the most essential contributors towards the long-term health of your vehicle. It serves to lubricate the various engine components, keeping them running smoothly. Too little oil may result in excessive friction and abrasion, permanently damaging engine components, which often leads to costly repairs. Too much oil can also be damaging and pricy, allowing excessive oil pressure to build up and harm your motor.
For that reason, checking your engine oil level is one of the most important things you can do for your vehicle. It’s easy enough to do yourself! And like most car owners discover, it can feel extremely satisfying to do so, creating a strong bond between you and your automotive investment. When everything seems to be running properly, a good rule of thumb is to check your oil level after every second re-fueling.
How to Check Your Oil:
1. Prepare your vehicle for an accurate reading: The engine should be warmed up, parked on an even surface, and left to sit for about ten minutes before taking a measurement.
2. Prop open your hood and search for the oil dipstick. It should stand out from your engine, a brightly coloured handle, often with an oil drop icon on it.
3. Pull out the dipstick and wipe it off with a rag or disposable shop towel. Then reinsert it fully (this is important). Wait a few seconds before removing it once more.
4. There will be two markings (lines or holes) down towards the end of your dipstick. The oil level should be between these two markings. Be careful when pulling out the dipstick not to turn it upside-down in a manner that could cause the oil to run and skew the results.
So now that you’ve checked your oil level, what’s next?
If the oil level falls between the two markings, then everything is fine. Proceed as normal until it’s time to check once more.
If the oil level falls below the lower marking, you need to add more oil. Add a quart at a time until the right level is achieved. Wait a few minutes between adding more oil and taking another measurement. It’s best to use the same type of oil are your engine is currently using, when possible. But if you are running low, it’s still best to top it off with whatever you have on hand before driving to get your next oil change, rather than continuing to run low and potentially doing further harm to your engine components. The River City Nissan Service Centre keeps track of what oil you’ve been using in the past, in case you don’t remember.
If the oil level is above the upper line, do not add more oil. It’s possible that your motor oil was accidentally overfilled, but it is more likely a sign of some other engine issue, like a blown head gasket. Bring your vehicle in for an inspection.
Finally, regular oil level checks are important for monitoring changes in your vehicle’s performance over time. Oil is normally consumed slowly (typically 1L per 1,600 km), so any dramatic changes within a month or another shorter period could be a symptom of a greater problem. In this event, you might wish to request a service appointment.