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Checking the Dipstick

Posted on March 15, 2017.

When it comes to checking the oil levels of your vehicle, most people probably don’t know the proper procedure, how to read the dipstick, or where to find it.  With a few quick and easy pointers, you’ll be able to check your own dipstick with ease.

To begin, you want to park your vehicle on a level surface and shut the engine off.  Then, wait a few minutes for the oil to return to the oil pan.  Open the hood and look for the dipstick. It is usually a metal loop or grip that’s sticking out of a metal stalk. Grab a towel or rag, pull the stick out and wipe the oil-covered end, then put the dipstick back in the metal stalk. Wait a few seconds and pull the dipstick back out.

There are markings on the end of the dipstick that indicate the level of oil your vehicle should reach.  If the oil doesn’t reach inside the markings, then you’ll need to add at least a quart of oil.  If you need to add oil, the amount you would expect to add will vary depending on your car maker, engine, total millage, and driving conditions. It is important to consult with a professional prior to adding any oil to your vehicle.

In some cases, the oil level might have risen since the list time you checked.  There are many reasons for this such as a coolant leak or condensed water.  Whatever the problem may be, it should be checked out immediately and corrected to prevent damage.

Lastly, look for signs of aged oil. Over time, oil ages at a rate that is influenced by driving conditions, fuel quality, engine age, motor oil quality and climate.  If not properly maintained, your oil will deteriorate and fail to protect your engine. When checking your dipstick, the oil should look smooth, glossy, and somewhat transparent. If it is sludgy or has grainy particles of dirt, it’s time for an oil change. Same goes for if it looks too thick or too dark.

If you are in need of an oil change or to improve your oil levels, visit Quality Lube Plus as soon as you can!