Oil is one of the most critical fluids in your car. It lubricates the engine to reduce wear and tear, provides cooling for the combustion process that keeps your car running, and helps prevent the corrosion of metals.

Regularly checking your car’s oil will help you know when to change it before a problem arises; this will avoid expensive mechanical repair bills in the long run and keep your car on the road!

This brief guide will teach you how to check your oil using an oil dipstick and show you just how easy this process is!

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1. Always check your oil when your engine is cold

Want the golden rule for checking your car’s oil level? Never, ever check the oil when your engine is hot! Hot oil is dangerous and could cause burns. A good tip is to always check your oil first thing in the morning before driving your car – this way; it will always be cold.

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2. Lift your car bonnet and locate the dipstick

When you’re sure your car is cold, lift your bonnet and locate the dipstick. If you’re unsure where the dipstick is located, refer to your owner manual – it will point out exactly where the dipstick is located and will usually have a diagram or picture explicitly pointing it out.

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3. Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean

Once you’ve located the dipstick, you’ll need to pull it out. Wipe the end of the dipstick clean with a clean, lint-free rag or cloth.

Once you’ve wiped it clean, you’ll notice the level indicators at the end of the dipstick – these are usually marked with lines and indicate both the minimum and maximum level the oil should reach. Keep in mind that depending on your car, sometimes there are holes instead of line marks. Remember, if you’re unsure, refer to your owner manual.

Then, place the dipstick back in and wait a few seconds before removing it again.

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4. Re-insert the dipstick to get a reading

Re-insert the dipstick again and wait a few seconds before removing it. Once removed again, check the markings or holes as per your owner’s guide.

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5. Check the indicator levels and act accordingly

If the oil doesn’t reach inside the markings or holes on the dipstick, you need to add more oil. The amount of oil you need to add will vary depending on how old your car is, the type of engine it runs, the total kilometres on the car and the driving conditions. 

In the unlikely scenario that the dipstick is not showing an oil level at all, then you should be concerned; it is likely you will need to add oil immediately. If you have to add a lot of oil, then there’s likely an underlying issue with your car – get in touch with us immediately on (02) 9545 3051. We’ll be able to diagnose any pressing issues and avoid any further damage!

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6. Re-insert the dipstick again

Once you’re done, re-insert the dipstick again and be sure to make sure it’s firmly in place; depending on the make and model of your car, some may need a twist to lock into place completely.


That’s it!

If you’re going out on a road trip or long drive soon, consider checking your car’s oil before taking off; it’s always a good idea to ensure there are no issues.

Always remember that oil gets darker over time as dirt collects in it. This is a sign you need to get your oil changed sooner rather than later! If you’re unsure or need any help, speak to the experts at Sutherland Automotive! Our 24/7 online booking process lets you pick a time and date for your next visit!