How to Check the Oil on a Ford Ranger

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Change your oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles or 3 months. Mountainous or dusty terrain may demand more frequent changes. In between oil changes, you’ll want to check the oil every few refills of the gas tank, to catch any oil leaks before the engine burns up, for example.

Things You'll Need

  • Rag
  • Motor oil
  • Funnel
  • Park the car on level ground and let the oil drain five minutes into the oil pan after cutting the engine. This allows a more accurate measurement.

  • Locate the engine oil dipstick. For model years 2001 on, the transmission fluid dipstick has been nearby on the I4 engine, so don’t confuse the two. The engine oil dipstick tends to be a little closer to the front and more left (if you’re facing the engine) than the transmission fluid dipstick. Transmission fluid is of course redder as well. The V6 (both 3.0 and 4.0L) has an engine oil dipstick positioned on the right of the engine, far from the transmission fluid dipstick.

    In pre-2001 models, the dipstick is on the right side of the engine, some distance from the transmission fluid dipstick in the back left.

  • Pull out the dipstick, clean the oil off it, reinsert it all the way back in so it is fully seated. Take it back out again. Note both how clear the oil is as well as where it falls on the crosshatch marks. If the oil doesn’t reach the crosshatch marks, you’ll have to add more oil. If it goes above the crosshatch marks, you may want to drain some to avoid reduced fuel efficiency. If the oil comes up to a point on the crosshatch marks, Ford recommends that you not add any more oil. If the oil is so opaque with dirt that you can’t see the crosshatches through the oil, then an oil change sooner than the usual 3,000 miles may be in order.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ford recommends SAE 5W-20 viscosity for the 2.3- and 3.0-liter Ranger engines. Use SAE 5W-30 for the 4.0-liter. Look for the API “For Gasoline Engines” starburst certification symbol on the oil can label. Use a funnel if you plan to pour your own.

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