How to Check Your Oil

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Everyone knows that checking oil is an important task in annual car maintenance, but not every driver know exactly how to do it. But, learning how to check your oil has tons of benefits. Not only can you keep your car in top shape, but you have total control over the process when you take oil changes into your own hands. Plus, you can save quite a bit when you go the DIY route! Let's dive into exactly how to check oil and when to get your first oil change.

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The Importance of Checking Oil

Why is checking oil such a big deal anyway? Your engine requires a steady stream of motor oil to keep all of its components running smoothly. Oil lubricates the moving parts, reduces friction, dissipates heat, and provides numerous other benefits. But your motor oil doesn't last forever. When it gets older, it gets thicker and darker. It's important to learn how to check your oil to ensure that your oil is still in good condition.

When to Check Oil

Checking oil isn't a hard task, and luckily, you can do it yourself in minutes. We recommend getting a full oil change every three months or 3,000 miles as a general rule of thumb, but check your owner's manual for model-specific recommendations. Different factors also can affect the longevity of your oil, like your driving style and whether you use conventional vs. synthetic oil. In between oil changes, you should get into the habit of checking your oil.

How to Check Oil

The best time to check your oil is after a quick drive, so the motor oil is still warm. Then, switch off your engine and hop out of the car.

  • Grab a rag and your car owner's manual, and then pop the hood.
  • Find the dipstick on the left side of the engine. It is usually yellow or orange in color.
  • Pull out the dipstick and clean the long piece of metal with your rag. Put it back in place.
  • Remove the dipstick again and inspect it this time. Is the oil thick and dark? Does it reach the "full" line? Does it feel gritty?
  • Top your oil off if needed, or schedule your service if your oil feels sludge-like and dirty.

Find Out More with Elgin Toyota

Whether visiting from Streamwood or Schaumburg, Elgin Toyota is happy to give your car the TLC it deserves. Still have questions about how to check oil? Contact us today!

Categories: Service, How-To
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