How Do I Check and Change My Oil?

June 11th, 2015 by

How Do I Check and Change My Oil?

One of the best ways to help maintain your vehicle’s value, increase its lifespan and keep it running smoothly is to keep it properly maintained and fix problems as soon as you notice them. The longer you put off regular service appointments and repairs, the more you’ll end up spending down the road. Checking your oil is something you can do at home to keep your car running smoothly and efficiently, and it’s much easier than you may think.

At Berlin City Toyota in Portland, Maine, we have a service department staffed with the best and brightest automotive technicians in the area. One of the most common services we perform is an oil change, but you can check your vehicle’s oil at home before bringing it in for an oil change that you may not need. However, if you’re not comfortable checking your own oil, just bring your car to our Portland location if you live in or around Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, Falmouth, Gorham, Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland Center, or Cumberland Foreside.

Simple Steps to Check Engine Oil

Before bringing your vehicle in for service in Portland, service in South Portland, service in Westbrook, service in Westbrook, service in Falmouth, service in Gorham, service in Gorham, service in Scarborough, service in Cape Elizabeth, service in Cumberland Center, or service in Cumberland Foreside, you can perform an oil check at home.

You should check your engine’s oil at least once a month to make sure your car has plenty of oil and that it’s clean. Oil reduces the friction in your engine, keeps it running smoothly and improves fuel efficiency. When checking your oil, if it is dirty or smells of gasoline, it’s definitely time for an oil change.

Be sure your engine is cold before checking your oil. Pop the hood and make sure the rod is in place so the hood of the car does not fall on you during the oil check. Have a clean rag ready to check your engine’s oil. Locate your oil dipstick (use the owner’s manual if you cannot find it) and unscrew the cover and pull the dipstick out fully; wipe the dipstick clean with a rag and push the dipstick back in as far as it will go.

Then, remove the dipstick and note the film of oil at the end of the dipstick—you will see the words “add” and “full” at the end of the dipstick. You need to see where the film lies, and you also need to note how the oil on the dipstick looks. Oil turns black very quickly and black oil does not indicate a need for an oil change; however, if you rub some of the oil between your thumb and index finger and it leaves a smudge, your oil needs to be changed. If your oil looks clean but only reaches the “add” line, you need oil. If your oil looks clean and reaches the full line, you do not need oil.

If you are going to add oil to your car yourself and are not sure what type of oil to use, please consult your owner’s manual or ask an employee at your local auto parts store. If you add the wrong kind of oil to your vehicle, you can damage the engine. The best way to ensure your car gets the right type of oil is to have it serviced by the team at Berlin City Toyota, serving Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, Falmouth, Gorham, Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland Center, Cumberland Foreside and surrounding areas.