One of the most important elements to assure a smooth running engine is oil. Periodic oil checks are necessary to make sure that your engine has the amount of oil it needs, and that the oil is clean enough to do its job effectively. A monthly oil check is a simple-to-do maintenance step that will keep your engine running right, and help you avoid costly engine problems down the road.
Oil’s role in the functioning of your engine is to prevent engine part wear due to excessive friction. High operating temperatures lead to the thermal breakdown of oil, making it less effective as a lubricant. Acid neutralizing additives in oil also eventually decrease in effectiveness, and the oil becomes saturated with dust, water, and combustion residues. This can lead to engine corrosion, so regular oil changes are essential to vehicle safety and performance.
Checking your oil is easy if you follow these simple steps:
- Make sure your car is parked on a level spot and that the engine is cool
- Pop the hood and locate the dipstick, usually located next to the engine
- Remove the dipstick and wipe it with a clean, dust-free rag
- Insert the clean dipstick back into the pipe
- Remove the dipstick a second time and examine the oil on it
- If the oil does not reach the second or “full” indication line, you need to add oil
- Check the oil’s condition – if it is dirty, you need an oil change
- When you are done, put the dipstick back in its storage spot in the pipe
If you need to add oil, be sure it is a good quality oil that is right for your car. Your auto shop will help you find the best oil selection for your engine.
In addition to regular oil checks, it is vital to your engine that you stay on top of regular oil changes per the recommendations found in your owner’s manual.