How Does an Oil Tank Measuring Stick Work?

oil-tank-measuring-stick-work Credit: XiXinXing/[No Collection]/Getty Images

A vehicle's dipstick is located in a pipe that runs deep into the engine to allow a person to accurately measure the level of oil. By cleaning it off and reinserting it into the pipe, it is then possible to pull it out to see whether the engine has enough oil.

The dipstick is located under the vehicle's hood, and it usually has a yellow or orange handle that is often marked with the word oil. After locating the dipstick, remove it from its hole, and wipe it clean with a rag. Next, put it all the way back into the hole, pull it back out and read the level of oil on the markings at the end to see if there is enough oil in the engine.

The dipstick should have two markings: one that indicates the normal level of oil, and one that indicates when oil needs to be added. When checking the level of the oil, it is also possible to check its condition. Clean engine oil is mostly clear and somewhat thin, so if the oil appears black or thick, it should probably be changed.

If the dipstick indicates that the engine is low on oil, 1 quart should be added. When checking the oil, always make sure to park on a level surface, and check when the engine is cold whenever possible.