Take an Active Role in Your Car’s Maintenance: Checking the Oil


Onboard computers. A trusted mechanic performing all of your scheduled maintenance. It’s easy these days to leave your car’s care entirely in the hands (or hard drive) of others. Keep in mind, however, that there’s a third component to maintaining a healthy, long-lasting vehicle: You! While there are many small things you can do to maintain your vehicle in between scheduled visits, today we focus on perhaps the most important of these – the 3-minute oil check.

Proper oil care is without question the most important maintenance task in your vehicle’s upkeep. Many cars at some point in their lives will leak or burn oil, and these events don’t always coincide with those regularly scheduled visits! Most car manufacturers recommend a weekly check of your oil level, although many mechanics recommend checking several times per week.

Remember, up to a third of all vehicles on the road at any given time are being driven with below normal oil levels. Continued operation of a vehicle at low levels can cause premature engine wear.

While the risk of improper oil levels is real, checking the oil is a quick and easy process:

  • First, be sure that the car has been driven before checking the oil.
  • Next, park the vehicle on a flat surface. If the car is on a slope, the oil may not be distributed evenly and this can result in an inaccurate reading.
  • Next – and here is where the 3 minutes comes into play – once you have turned off the engine, wait a few minutes for the oil to settle.
  • Locate the oil dipstick (it is quite long and should have a brightly colored – often orange – cap). Remove the dipstick and wipe the oil off the tip with paper towels, newspaper, or a clean spot on a rag.
  • Next, reinsert the dipstick all the way into the tube. Now remove the dipstick and determine the level. The dipstick will have two etchings or holes to signify the low and high limits of normal. Your oil mark should fall between these two limits.

What to do if your oil is low:

If your oil mark falls below the lower limit, you’re going to want to add oil, but remember that this must be done gradually.

  • Add just a small amount of oil (do not add a full quart). After waiting for a minute or two, recheck the level according to the steps above.
  • If necessary, repeat by adding small amounts of oil and rechecking the level, until the level falls within the normal range. **Adding too much oil can also cause damage, similar to a lower than normal level.

If you have any concerns about adding oil correctly, you can always have your mechanic help with this.

Contact Golden Triangle Auto Care





1112 North Speer Boulevard
Denver, CO 80204

Store Hours:

M-F: Open 7:30 am Close 5:00 pm
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

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