1. What you need to check and add oil to your car
Before you begin, make sure you’ve got everything on hand to check and put oil in your car. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Engine oil: It’s important to make sure you have the correct type of oil for your car. Mixing different types of oil can negatively impact your engine’s performance and even cause damage.
- Funnel: Using a funnel is the fool-proof way to get oil into your car without spilling it.
- Towel: Oil can be dirty—be sure to have clean, disposable towels nearby to check the oil and help clean up any messes. Rubber gloves: Oil can stain your hands, but rubber gloves can help keep them clean.
2. How to check the oil in your car Park your car on a flat surface before you start working.
Parking on a hill or slope can affect oil level readings. Your car’s dipstick is located under the hood in the engine bay. It should be a loop or T-shaped handle marked “engine oil,” and is typically yellow or marked with yellow text, making it easier to find. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean with a dry towel, replace it until it clicks into place, and pull it out again. Check the level of the oil on the dipstick. If it reads at or below the “low” or “add” line—or if there’s no oil on the dipstick at all—you’ll need to add oil. If it comes out above this line in the “full” section, the oil level is fine and you don’t need to add oil.
3. How to add engine oil to your car To top off the oil, locate the oil filler cap on the engine.
It should be a round, black cap, typically marked “engine oil” or with a drawing of an oil can. Remove the cap and place a clean funnel at the top of the spout to prepare to add the oil. Double-check that you’re using the correct oil for your car, then add about half of a quart. If your oil level was in the “add” section of the dipstick when you checked, you’ll likely need to add at least one quart of oil, but it’s better to add it in smaller increments to avoid overfilling.
4. Re-check the oil level Use the clean dipstick to check the oil level again, making sure it’s at the proper level. If it still needs more, add another half quart and check it again until the dipstick shows there’s enough oil in your engine. If there’s still no oil on the dipstick after adding a quart or two, don’t start your car. Give your local mechanic a call to take a look. Once your oil is at the proper level, remove the funnel and replace the oil cap and dipstick before closing the hood. Don’t forget to routinely schedule or perform a full oil and oil filter change as well.