How to Check and Top Up Your Engine Oil Level


Not every day you need to refill the oil in your car but checking it frequently does count as an essential to-do task. Why? Because insufficient oil in the vehicle can have some pretty disastrous circumstances.

Any deficiency of lubricating oils, or even unclean oil, can result in excessive engine exhaust since it causes the engine to overwork without having enough capacity. The overheating of the engine can also result in engine break-down if there is no oil left. The engine fails, begins to scrape, and ultimately seizes, causing the car to fail, sometimes even combust.

Contrary to this, a car with routine engine oil maintenance won’t be left unchecked, meaning it would always run on enough oil and eventually would function great.

Wondering how to check and top up your car’s engine oil? We have prepared this guide to answer your every question: ways to check the oil, when and how to inspect, and to refill with the right oil in the right quantity!

How to check a car’s engine oil?

Contrary to the popular myth, to check and top up engine oil is not any complex science. All you need is to have the right apparatus and follow the guidelines.

Consult user’s manual

Believe it or not, your vehicle’s user’s manual is your go-to guide to everything! Don’t just keep it in the glove compartment but exclude some time to read it well. Or at least know the basics of your car.

As for engine oil, there are two ways you can check the level:

  1. Through an electronic monitor.
  2. Manually oil checking with the dipstick.

What is an electronic monitor?

An electronic monitor is also termed a performance monitor – a gadget located inside the passenger cabin. It works just like a screen showing stats and data regarding engine and vehicle, and you can use it to assist the engine oil maintenance. If your car has an electronic monitor, then there is no need to go the manual way.

However, if you do not find any such device in your car, chances are it doesn’t have it. And for that, you’d need to check the car’s engine’s oil using a dipstick.

Check engine oil manually

An engine oil inspection would require:

  • Kitchen towels / any gentle clothe
  • Rubber gloves (better if Nitrile gloves)

Let’s move to the steps now.

1.    Safely park your car

You should check engine oil before you start driving or anytime when the engine is not heated. Another important thing to keep in mind is to have your vehicle standing on a flat surface. It is necessary since a smooth surface will keep the level of oil in the engine. If your car is parked even on a slightly sloped surface, it is suggested to park it somewhere on flat ground.

If you inspect the car’s engine after a driving session, wait for at least 15-20 minutes. You wouldn’t want to mess with the hot engine oil, would you? Henceforth, to be on a safer side, turn off the engine and let it cool down for some time first.

2.    Find and clean dipstick

A dipstick is a metal stick that comes in handy when you are examining the engine’s oil. It has a circular handle, sometimes also T-shaped, and is brightly colored. The handle is made of plastic to not let the heat transfer through the metal and burn your hands. Besides, you can easily locate it by reading the user’s manual.

The dipstick is marked with lines to help you understand the minimum and maximum oil levels. First, wear gloves to keep your hands clean and safe. Then, you are supposed to remove the dipstick and use the kitchen towel or any other cloth to clean it.

3.    Check engine oil level

Once the oil is properly removed from the dipstick, re-insert it again till you hear a click. After few seconds, remove it again. This time focus on the lines marked on the dipstick. If the oil level is between the minimum or maximum level, then you are safe to drive. However, you should immediately top up engine oil if it’s below the minimum level. If there is no oil on the dipstick, it means the oil level is dangerously low. Never, ever try to drive your car at such a time.

How to top up the car’s engine oil?

It would need:

  • Engine oil
  • Funnel/oil filler cap

1.    Locate the oil filler cap

A small, screw-on plastic cap, and you have to find it first to refill the oil in the engine. Like the dipstick, it is also located somewhere in your engine bay. Or you can go back to the user’s manual simply.

2.    Top up engine oil

First, make sure you have the right type of oil, and once again, the user’s manual will help you. Next, remove the oil filler cap. Using a funnel at the top of the outlet, pour the oil slowly.

To estimate how much of the oil you’ll need, understand that the spacing between two dipstick markings normally indicates roughly 1 liter of oil. Stated, if the oil level were at the lowest, one liter would be needed to fill it up. If it’s barely halfway down, then add half a liter.

 And that’s how you check and top up your engine oil!

Bottom line

Like the food we eat, cars need oil. And to ensure the safety and sound condition, you must take care of its engine oil. An engine oil maintenance routine works best in this regard to never run out of oil!

The few things you’d need to check, and top up engine oil are dipstick and funnel – the former is already located in your car. While wearing gloves and using kitchen towels is recommended to stay safe and clean.

Finally, always park your car on a flat surface and cool down the engine before checking it!


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