How Do You Check Your Vehicle's Engine Oil?

Check the oil in your car by parking on a level surface, opening the hood, removing the dipstick, and wiping it clean. Determine the oil level by reinserting the dipstick and checking the streak on the stick. Check the oil whenever the engine is cold.

  1. Park on a level surface

    Choose a level space when checking the oil, since an incline causes the oil to shift to the front or back of an oil pan.

  2. Open the hood

    Locate the hood release switch inside the vehicle, and pull the release. Locate the second release outside the vehicle, and pull it to open the hood. If the vehicle is equipped with a hood support rod, set it in place to support the hood.

  3. Remove and reinsert the dipstick

    Locate the oil dipstick. Pull the handle to remove the dipstick from the tube. Use a lint-free towel to wipe the dipstick clean, and then reinsert the stick into the tube. Remove the dipstick a second time to check the oil level.

  4. Add oil if necessary

    If the oil level is below the "L" or "Min" mark on the dipstick, add a quart of oil through the oil fill port on the engine.