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Car maintenance can be a hassle, but checking your oil certainly isn’t. Maintaining proper car oil is one of the most basic tasks a driver can perform by themselves. Here’s a quick rundown of how to check your car oil according to Consumer Reports. You won’t regret it.

Check your owner’s manual

Cars are so diverse these days that your vehicle may not be like others. Some fancier cars have smart technology like an electronic oil checker, so you won’t have to follow the rest of these steps. Others will have something that sets it apart from other cars when it comes to oil.

For example, while most oil checks should be done after the engine has cooled down, some automakers actually ask that you check your oil after you’ve warmed up the engine. That’s why the first thing you must do is check your owner’s manual. Find out if your car has any quirks when it comes to oil checks. You won’t know until you find out.

Prep work

Before checking your oil, make sure everything is set up properly and that you have all the tools you need. First, ensure that your car is on level ground. If it’s not, then it can affect the oil. Next, make sure the engine is turned off. Finally, make sure you have all the tools you need, which isn’t much.

Find your car’s dipstick, and if you can’t find it, refer back to your owner’s manual. Every car should come with one. Iif you’ve lost it, then you have to buy a new one. They are cheap, so it’s not a big deal. The second tool you need is just a rag or a paper towel.

Checking your oil

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Use the rag to wipe your dipstick until it’s clean. Then, stick it back into the tube you found it in and push it all the way in. Pull the dipstick out and then take a look at it. There are many types, but each has markings that will indicate the oil level. No matter what kind of dipstick you have, if your oil is below the lowest mark, then it’s time to add more. If it’s not below the lowest mark, then you should be fine.

Take this chance to look at the condition of your car oil. Normal oil is brown or black. If it looks lighter and milkier, then this could mean you have a coolant leak. If the oil has metal particles in it, then your engine may be damaged. In either case, bring your car to a mechanic. Consumer Reports also mentions that if you think you have a coolant leak, then make sure to have your car towed instead of driving it to the mechanic. 

How often should you check your oil?

Many opinions exist regarding how often you should check your oil. Some say every week, others say every month. However, checking it is simple, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do it regularly and often. Finding a problem like a coolant leak early can save you a lot of trouble and money.