How to Check the Oil in Your Car

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Monitoring the level of oil in your car is a basic part of auto maintenance. Check your oil with the advice of an automotive expert in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Auto Advice
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Video Transcript

Hi. My name is Jody DeVere, CEO of, automotive advice for women. I'm here today at one of my certified female-friendly locations, Puente Hills Hyundai, to show you how to check the engine oil of your car. Right here is our engine compartment, and of course you're going to want to look for the engine oil dipstick. Now, it's very important that you change your oil based on the manufacturer's recommended service oil, but in between oil changes it's a good idea to check your oil because oil is the lifeblood of your car. So, let's go ahead and check our oil. Now remember, you've been kind of driving around in your car, so the engine is sloshing around oil, so you want to stop your car, put it in park, and let all the oil run down into the oil pan so you get a good measurement. Let's go ahead and remove the dipstick, just like so, and we're going to wipe off the oil, just like so. You don't want to measure it until after you have done it the second time. So here we go... we're going to stick it right back in there, pull it out, and look here... here are the markings that show the oil level of the vehicle. This particular vehicle shows full oil. You're also going to want to look at the color of the oil. This oil is a nice golden brown, but if it's black it would mean it's time to change your oil. So now, what you want to do if you're a little low on oil--let's say you're a quart low--you're going to want to find and locate the engine oil fill. Here's our engine oil fill on this vehicle. And you're going to add oil. Now, most oils come in quart bottles. Make sure before you add oil to your vehicle that you check your owner's manual for the manufacturer recommended oil and for your driving habits for your vehicle. And most oil bottles come with a little spout that you can pour a whole quart by just popping it right in there. Now, if you need to put just a little bit of oil--let's say you're half a quart low--you can use a funnel like this, and just pour a little bit at a time and recheck the dipstick to make sure you don't overfill your oil. So, there we have it! Now you know how to check your oil, you know how to check to see whether you need an oil change by checking the color of your oil, and you know how to add a little oil if you're low. That makes you smart and car savvy.


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