While having a trustworthy automotive garage near your home can help you feel confident about having even simple jobs done to your vehicle, it's important for every driver to take a degree of ownership in ensuring that the vehicle runs properly. If this doesn't currently sound like you, you can change things around by familiarizing yourself with checking your oil. It's a simple process and can be valuable in terms of showing you when it's time to have your oil changed. If you're a complete novice when it comes to this topic, here are the things that you'll need to know.
Check Your Oil Before Turning On The Car
Although there's considerable debate about the best time to check your oil, many experts attest that doing so when the engine is cool is the best approach. This means that all the oil will have accumulated into the oil pan, which should give you an accurate reading of your oil level. Pop the hood before you go out in the morning and look for the colorful plastic ring near the front of your motor -- this ring is connected to the dipstick.
Pull The Dipstick And Wipe It Off
Checking your oil is easy, but you shouldn't simply pull the dipstick ring and check how things look. First, pull the dipstick and give it a thorough wipe with a piece of paper towel, and then return to dipstick to its hole. Wiping it off means that it will be clean when it enters the oil and will give you an accurate reading.
Check The Oil Level
Pull the dipstick and hold it up where you can easily see it. You should see amber-colored oil along the tip of the stick -- check where the oil stops in relation to the engraved lines. If the oil is equal to the top line, your oil level is fine. If it's slightly lower, it's not a major concern because oil expands as it warms up. However, if the oil is excessively low, it's time to schedule an oil change.
Other Things To Think About
When the oil on the dipstick is dark brown or even black, it's a sign that the oil is old and that you need an oil change. Even if you're not due for your oil change just yet, it's beneficial to have the oil changed. Old oil doesn't provide the high degree of lubrication that newer oil does.