How to Check Your Car’s Engine Oil

A one-minute investment can keep your car healthy and running smoothly

Think of motor oil as the life’s blood of your car’s engine. Checking it on a regular basis is a key part of keeping your engine running well and getting the most miles out of it. The oil lubricates the engine’s internal moving parts, keeping them from wearing too quickly. It also helps keep the engine clean, by preventing dirt buildup, and helps keep it from overheating.

Checking the oil level is a quick, easy job that we recommend you do at every other gas fill-up. All you’ll need is a rag or paper towel, and your car’s owner’s manual if you have questions.

Engine Oil, Check!

First, check the owner’s manual and follow the automaker’s recommendations. Some newer cars have electronic oil monitors and don’t have traditional dipsticks for manual inspection.

If checking the oil yourself, make sure the car is parked on level ground and, with most cars, the engine is cold, so you don’t burn yourself on a hot engine part. (With some cars, the automaker recommends that the oil be checked after the engine has been warmed up.) With the engine off, open the car’s hood and find the dipstick. Pull the dipstick out from the engine and wipe any oil off from its end. Then insert the dipstick back into its tube and push it all the way back in.

Pull it back out, and this time look at both sides of the dipstick to see where the oil is on the end. Every dipstick has some way of indicating the proper oil level, whether it be two pinholes, the letters L and H (low and high), the words MIN and MAX, or simply an area of crosshatching. If the top of the oil “streak” is between the two marks or within the crosshatched area, the level is fine.

But if the oil is below the minimum mark, you need to add oil as described below.

Also, check the oil’s color. It should appear brown or black. But if it has a light, milky appearance, this could mean coolant is leaking into the engine. Look closely for any metal particles, too, as this could mean there is internal engine damage. If you see either of these conditions, get the car to a mechanic for further diagnosis. If you suspect a coolant leak, have the car towed.

If everything’s okay, wipe off the dipstick again and insert it back into its tube, making sure it’s fully seated. Close the hood and you’re done.

How to Add Oil

Use the grade of oil recommended in the owner’s manual. It will usually have a designation such as 0W-20 or 5W-30. You can buy it by the quart at any service station or auto-parts store, as well as in many supermarkets and discount retailers.

To add oil, remove the oil filler cap, usually located on top of the engine. Since over-filling with oil is bad for the engine, you should add oil a little at a time. Start by adding about half a quart. Using a funnel helps avoid spills. Wait a minute or so and check the dipstick again. If the level is still below or near the minimum mark, add the rest of the quart. Unless your engine is leaking or burning oil (or if you haven’t checked it in awhile) you will rarely need to add more than a quart. However, if a second quart is needed, add that in slowly as well, checking as you go.

Screw the oil filler cap back on securely, and you’re done



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Simple tasks that can make your car last longer.

1) Check the Engine Oil
Do it regularly—monthly for a vehicle in good condition; more often if you notice an oil leak or find you need to add oil routinely. The car should be parked on level ground so you can get an accurate dipstick reading. Don’t overfill. And if you do have a leak, find and fix it soon.

2) Check Tire Air Pressure
Once a month and before any extended road trips, use an accurate tire-pressure gauge to check the inflation pressure in each tire, including the spare. Do this when the tires are cold (before the vehicle has been driven or after no more than a couple of miles of driving). Use the inflation pressure recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer, not the maximum pressure embossed on the tire’s sidewall. The recommended pressure is usually found on a placard on a front doorjamb, in the glove compartment, or in the owner’s manual. Also be sure to inspect tires for abnormal or uneven wear, cuts, and any sidewall bulges you can see

3) Wash the Car
Try to wash the car every week, if you can. Wash the body and, if necessary, hose out the fender wells and undercarriage to remove dirt and road salt. It’s time to wax the finish when water beads become larger than a


4) Other Checks at Each Oil Change
For normal driving, many automakers recommend changing the engine oil and filter every 7,500 miles or six months, whichever comes first. This is sufficient for the majority of motorists. For “severe” driving—with frequent, very cold starts and short trips, dusty conditions, or trailer towing—the change interval should be shortened to every 3,000 miles or three months. (Check your owner’s manual for the specific intervals recommended for your vehicle.) Special engines such as diesels and turbocharged engines may need more-frequent oil changes.

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How to Remove Small Dents

Taking care of little dents and dings on a car is a simple matter. This type of damage may not require much work. Here are some situations that you may want to tackle:


• If the paint has simply flaked or has been scratched off the surface: Touch up the paint. Before you prime and paint the car, take care of any dents that you find. By taking care of all these things at once, you can then put a final coat of paint on all of them at the same time and have a car that looks wonderful.

• If a steel surface has been pushed in and hasn’t been badly wrinkled: You can try to pop it back into place with a rubber plunger. Just wet the edge of the rubber, place the plunger over the dent, establish suction by pressing down on the handle, and then pull it toward you. It may take a couple of tries before the metal pops back to normal.

• If you have small dents in a steel part: You can attempt to hammer them out by placing a flat piece of metal on the outer side of the vehicle and banging the dent from the underside with a flat-ended hammer. Be very careful to bang only the underside of the dent and not the surrounding area, or you’ll end up with a couple of new bumps to deal with.

• If you have very small dings or places where the paint has chipped: You can fill them in with glazing putty, which is very easy to handle. Use a putty knife to apply it, following the directions on the package, and then prime and paint the area.

There are cheap Workshops that just fix dents and dings. Always get an estimate before you commit to doing any bodywork yourself. Having the work done professionally may cost you so much less in time and effort than struggling through a learning process that it will be cheaper in the long run!


How to Car Dent Repair Made Easy

Everybody love their car so much that even a small scratch or dent on a new car make you feel sad.  You’re probably wondering what you’re going to do to fix it and if you could possible do your own car dent repair fix.

car denting

If you don’t have the money to spend for a car body shop to redo the cars entire damaged panel, you can fix a minor car dent on your own. It takes a lot of patience and attention to detail, but it leaves the dents out of your wallet.

All you have to have is the right tools, and you can save yourself a lot of money and time worrying about how to fix it.

To fix a car dent, you must have the right materials and tools, which includes a ball-pein hammer and one with a claw, as well as a block of wood, HSS drill bits, an electric drill, self-taping screws, self-locking grips, a wire brush or sanding disc, body filler kit, sanding paper, clean rags, cellulose body stopper, and a hair-dryer.

When it comes to doing it yourself on dents, first thing to do is try to push out the dent with your hands. If this doesn’t make the dent budge, use the wooden block and a ball-pein hammer to knock the dent out from the inside. You want it to be just below the other parts of the panel. If pushing out the dent is not an option, you can mark the center of it and drill a small hole with an HSS bit, followed by screwing in a long self-taping screw until about half an inch is sticking out. Then use your hammer’s claw or self-locking grips to grab the end of the screw.

Another tool to do this would be a car dent repair pooper tool that you screw into the dent the rest of the tool to the screw and move the weighted handle back with some force pulling out the dent slowly with repeated turns.

Read more:
Car Paint | Car Denting & Painting | Car Repairs