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Engine oil helps ​to extend engine life and maintain performance. So, proper oil maintenance ​is a must​​.

A car in front of a repair shop
Proper oil maintenance is a must.

If the engine oil level is off or the oil is contaminated, it can lead to engine failures, performance degradation or worse engine fires. Unusual engine shakes and decreased fuel efficiency are signs you should check your engine oil immediately.​

Preparations for checking car engine oil
To start, prepare gloves, wipes, a funnel, a wrench and socket set, a drain pan and a carjack and jack stands.

To start, prepare gloves, wipes, a funnel for topping up engine oil when it’s low, a wrench and socket set for draining excess oil, a drain pan for oil disposal and finally, a carjack and jack stands.

First, start the car to warm up the engine and park the car on a flat surface. Open the hood and secure it in place.​ Turn off the engine and wait 10 minutes before starting the inspection.


Step 1. Find the dipstick & Clean the dipstick

Showing an engine oil dipstick and wiping the dipstick
Engine oil dipstick: the location may vary depending on car models & Wipe the dipstick with gloves on.

Locate the dipstick under the hood.​ Note that the location may vary depending on car models.​ Then, with gloves on, wipe the dipstick, ensuring debris or contaminants aren’t introduced in the engine. ​


Step 2. Check the engine oil level

Once cleaned, reinsert the dipstick back in its place then take it out again. Take your time with this step, as oil may splatter. ​

An indicator showing engine oil level
Check the car engine oil level with indicators.

If engine oil is present between the two indicators, the oil level is normal.​ If it’s below the “L” or low indicator, more engine oil is needed.​ If it’s above the “F” or full indicator, it’s time to drain the engine oil.​

Having too much or not enough engine oil can lead to engine cooling and lubrication issues.​

Showing engine oil refill and drainage situation
Engine oil refill and drainage is needed to keep your car engine optimal.

If more engine oil is needed, open the oil tank cap then use a funnel to top up.​

If oil drainage is needed, use a carjack or a lift to raise the car, loosen the bolt under the oil tank​ and drain the excessive oil.


Step 3. Check for engine oil contamination

Showing the difference between engine oil that needs changing and normal engine oil
Engine oil going from brown to black is a sign you need to change your engine oil.

The color of the engine oil can help you determine when it’s time for an oil change. Typically, engine oil going from brown to black is a sign you need to change your engine oil.

For diesel vehicles, however, color alone doesn’t determine when engine oil needs changing.


Step 4. Wrapping up

Now that you’ve checked your engine oil, wipe the dipstick clean and place it back in its place.​ Don’t forget to close the hood, and you’re done!​

It’s good practice to check your oil regularly to keep your car engine protected from wear and performing at its best​.

Situations requiring engine oil check
Check your oil regularly every two weeks, before long drives or whenever you see a drop in fuel efficiency.

Every two weeks! before long drives! or whenever you see a drop in fuel efficiency! Check your engine oil, Kixx: [YouTube Link]