How to Check Car Oil

Motor oil is used to keep an engine’s internal parts lubricated and cool. Otherwise, they could grind against each other and cause the engine to overheat and break down.

If you don’t get regular oil changes, then dirt and sludge can build up, preventing the oil from doing its job. Though, how do you know when an oil change is needed?

One way is to check it yourself. Our team at Faulkner Toyota Harrisburg will tell you exactly how to check car oil. If you prefer to have a professional do it for you, just contact our Toyota dealership near Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, and Carlisle.

Steps to Check Engine Oil

When it comes time to check the motor oil, you want to make sure the oil is warm, but the engine is a bit cool. So, after you take a short trip to the store or around your neighborhood, park the car and turn the engine off. Then, wait about 10 minutes for the engine to cool and the oil to settle.
Afterwards, grab a clean rag and complete the following steps:

  1. Find the dipstick under the hood. Its location varies based on whether you have a front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive automobile. If you can’t find it, then refer to your owner’s manual for the exact spot.
  2. Pull the dipstick out and wipe it clean with the rag.
  3. Insert the dipstick back in and then pull it out again.
  4. Take a look at the film of oil at the end of the dipstick, noting how high up it comes. If it’s reading below the minimum line, then more will need to be added.
  5. Take some oil off the dipstick and rub it between your fingers, to check color and consistency. If it’s dark and gritty, then you need a complete oil change.

When to Get an Oil Change

It used to be that you needed an oil change every 3,000 miles. However, modern vehicles can go 5,000 to 7,500 miles in between oil changes. Some cars—especially ones that use synthetic oil—can get an oil change every 10,000 miles.

However, there are some instances when an oil change is needed every 3,000 miles. This is usually for older
models, or ones that endure severe driving conditions.

Severe driving conditions include:

  • Short trips of less than 5 miles in normal temperatures or 10 miles in freezing temperatures
  • Long-distance trips traveling 50 MPH or less
  • Towing or hauling heavy items
  • Driving on dusty, muddy, salty, or gravelly roads

It’s actually more common to fall under the “severe condition” category of driving. You may be able to go longer than 3,000 miles before needing an oil change.

Either way, they need to be done regularly to help keep your engine healthy and running well for a long time.

Schedule an Oil Change Today

While it’s easy to check oil near Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, or Carlisle, you may want to leave it to the professionals. That’s because if the oil needs to be replaced, then they can do it quickly and efficiently.

So, don’t wait. Schedule service at Faulkner Toyota Harrisburg today!