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I am sure many of us have seen the gif with the person adding oil to their car by pouring it all over the engine. I, like most people, found it amusing. Unfortunately its not that simple.

Many of us assume that once we get the oil changed it is good until the next time it is due. Our car’s engine oil needs to be checked at least once a month or in some cases more often. If we can get ourselves in that habit it can help save us thousands of dollars in repair bills. This process can help prolong the life of our car’s engine as well as help us spot possible breakdowns that could be coming.

Low Oil Pressure

If you see the Low oil pressure light come on and not turn back off you will want to check you oil as soon as it is safe to. This light could be an indication of low oil level which can cause low oil pressure. It could also stay on due to low oil pressure caused from a failing oil pump.

This begs the question that a large number of people ask: How do I check my oil? Where do I put it in my engine? What in the world is this 710 cap under my hood? (710 is the word OIL upside down.) I know, it’s bad parts humor but that where I got my start.

Oil Cap/710 Cap

All joking aside, I think sometimes we forget how important oil is to our engine. It is the life blood of the engine. Without it all sorts of issues arise. Primarily low engine oil can damage the internal engine components due to lack of lubrication. Not only is it bad for your engine to run low on oil for a prolonged period of time, but the same amount of damage can be caused by driving with very burnt and dirty oil.

How to read oil dipstick

To the left you can see an example of the bottom end of your engine oil dipstick.

Common Oil Dipstick

To check the oil in your engine preform the following steps: Turn off your engine and open the hood. Look around your engine for a yellow handle. Most of the time that will be the top handle of the dipstick. Once located, pull out the dipstick, wipe it down with a rag and reinsert it. You don’t want to take the first reading you get. Pull it back out and check the oil level. You will want to see where the oil line stops. Identify where that spot is and repeat the process to confirm your oil level. If unsure how much oil to add start with a smaller amount and go from there. Make sure to not over fill the engine with oil, it can invite oil leaks where there were none to begin with.

We also want to look at the color of our engine oil when were are checking it. It will give us information on how well the oil is preforming and when it will need to be changed next. In addition to checking the mileage written on the windshield sticker placed by most shops when an oil change is preformed, the color of the oil that comes out on the dip stick will tell us when we are due for an oil change. The picture above will give you some idea of the health of your engine oil. If you are unsure the condition of your engine oil stop by and we will be glad to help you.

Keeping your vehicles engine oil clean and to the proper level can help prolong the life of your engine.

What a Difference proper oil changes will make

As you can see above what a difference it can make on your engines valve train when you follow the oil change recommendations given by your vehicle’s manufacture. This simple act of having your oil changed will not only improve the health of your engine it can also help identify any repairs that are upcoming which could soften the finical blow some of these repairs can have. Knowledge is power and knowing what repairs are coming can help you make informed decisions on what to do next.

“Corrosion Man” A batteries enemy

Before you shut your hood, take and glance at the following items to see if any additional fluids could be needed or if your battery needs to be serviced. You will want the check the level of your brake fluid, power steering fluid, clutch fluid (if applicable), transmission fluid (if applicable), windshield washer reservoir, coolant over flow bottle (if not pressurized) and coolant level in the radiator (engine must be cool). If you are unsure what is located where you can consult your owners manual, it should walk you through the locations of these components. If the manual makes it clear as mud, as they sometimes do, stop by and see us we’d be glad to help. If you find yourself needing to top off any other fluids confirm you are putting the proper fluid in. Not all cars use the same type of fluids. You can contaminate the vehicles system by putting the wrong fluid in and that can lead to costly repairs.

Do yourself and your vehicle’s engine a favor and stop by and see your local Douglas Automotive repair facility and have your engine oil changed or checked. We would be more than happy to teach you this simple check and help you prolong the life of your vehicles engine.

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