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How to Check Car’s Engine Oil

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 12/07/2023

A car’s engine is its heart and outlines its power and performance. If the engine oil level in a car is not at the appropriate level, its engine will be affected, and the car will not give the desired performance.

Moreover, a car engine is one of its most expensive components and needs to be well-maintained.

Most modern-day cars require you to do a car engine oil check and replacement at every 10,000 km of running. However, as the traffic has increased on the roads, reducing your driving speed, the car engine runs longer and consumes more engine oil within lesser distances.

Therefore, you may need to check the engine oil for the car and replace it sooner than expected.

Here is a detailed guide on when is the best time to check car engine oil and how to check car engine oil and replace it if necessary.

Why is Engine Oil Important for My Car?

The car engine oil is an essential lubricant that reduces friction between the various engine parts.

  • It keeps the engine cool and plays a vital role in the combustion cycle.

  • It also ensures that the piston rings of the engine are sealed.

  • It neutralises the effect of the acid produced during the combustion cycle.

  • It reduces corrosion and rust and increases the life of the engine’s mechanical parts.

Maintaining the proper engine oil level in a car is essential.

  • If the engine oil is low, there is no lubrication between the parts, and the engine will produce unwanted sounds.

  • Moreover, it can break the engine rods due to friction and corrosion.

  • If the engine oil is in excess, it can spill over and cause leakage. The spilling engine oil can bend the engine rods and damage the spark plugs.

Types of Engine Oil for a Car

If you plan to do an engine oil check in the car and replace it if required, you must know the type of engine oil suitable for your car.

Generally, there are 3 types of car engine oils. These are synthetic engine oil, semi-synthetic engine oil, and mineral engine oil.

All the 3 types of engine oils serve the same purpose, but they differ based on the car’s make and the weather conditions under which the car is maximum used.

The viscosity and fluidity of the engine oil are also crucial. The fluidity and viscosity of engine oil can be hot or cold and tell the oil’s grade.

Go through your car’s user manual to know the type of engine oil you should use for it.

How to Check Engine Oil Level in Car?

Here is the step-by-step guide to checking your car’s engine oil level:

- Step 1: Making the Right Preparations

The car’s engine is a sensitive and expensive component. Therefore, before checking or replacing engine oil, you must be fully prepared for it. Here are the steps to prepare your car for an engine oil check:

- Reading the Owner’s Manual

  • Before starting the oil check process, scan the owner’s manual to understand your car’s oil checking manual. There may be some specifications and variations from the general process that you must know of.

  • The manual will inform you about the type of oil you should use in your car and the best time to check the engine oil. For example, while for some cars, it is best to do a car engine oil check when the car is cold, i.e., before starting the car, for other cars, the manufacturer may recommend checking the engine oil when the car warms up a little.

  • Note that it is not advisable to check the car engine oil when the car is running, as it may not give you an accurate reading.

- Checking the Surface Where the Car is Parked

  • Before checking the car’s engine oil or replacing it, park your vehicle on a stable surface where it will not move. If the vehicle is parked on a bumpy road or near a pothole, it may move when you take a reading, and the results will be inaccurate.

- Locate the Latch

  • The older car models have a latch to keep the hood in place and prevent it from falling. Once you have parked the car safely, you need to pull up its hood.

  • Locate the latch adjacent to the driver’s seat and use it to open the car’s hood.

  • Once the hood is open, use the prop rod to fix the hood in its position.

  • Most modern-day cars do not require you to latch the hood since they come with an automatically balanced hood.

- Find the Dipstick

  • After opening the car hood, find the dipstick to check the engine oil level. The dipstick is a rectangular or circular cap, usually yellow, orange, or red in colour.

  • In most cars, the dipstick is inserted into a dipstick guide, which has a pencil-like shape. Usually, this dipstick guide has a symbol of oil and is present near the passenger seat.

  • Keep a few paper towels or an old rag handy for the car engine oil check.

- Step 2: Do Car Engine Oil Check

Now that you have made the basic preparation to check the engine oil, it is time to carry out the process:

- Take Out the Dipstick From the Engine Oil

  • Most dipsticks are 1 to 3 feet in size. Pull out the dipstick entirely from the engine oil, from end to end.

  • Use a paper towel to hold the dipstick port while pulling it out. It will help wipe off the excess oil from the sides of the dipstick.

  • Avoid applying too much force when pulling out the dipstick. You can easily do it with a little pressure.

- How to Check Car Engine Oil Quality, Colour, and Consistency?

  • Once you have pulled out the dipstick, put a few oil drops on the paper towel to study its colour, texture, and consistency.

  • The engine oil’s colour can indicate its age and inform about any issues in the engine efficiency. Ideally, the engine oil should be yellow-greenish in colour. However, if it appears brown or black, there may be an issue.

- Repeat the Process

  • Dry the dipstick entirely and repeat the process mentioned above to be absolutely sure of the oil’s colour and texture. It ensures no mistakes in the process and the results are accurate.

- How to Check Car Engine Oil Level?

  • There are 2 dots at the end of the dipstick. These dots indicate the oil pan’s minimum and maximum fill lines.

  • See if the dot for the minimum level is near the dipstick’s tip or not. Also, check if the maximum dot is approximately an inch above the minimum dot or not.

  • When the engine oil level in the car is optimum, the fill is halfway between the minimum and maximum points.

How to Add Engine Oil in a Car?

Now that you know how to check the engine oil level in a car, you should also know how to add engine oil to bring it to the optimum level. Here are the steps to add engine oil to the engine oil chamber.

  • Scan the Car’s Owner’s Manual

Read the owner’s manual carefully to find out the type and grade of engine oil to be used for the car. It is essential to use the oil type and grade recommended by the manufacturer to maintain the engine’s quality and performance. If you have any doubts regarding the type and grade of engine oil for your car, contact the car manufacturer and get clarification. Do not use a mismatch for the existing engine oil type.

  • Locate the Oil Fill Cap

  • Find the oil fill cap, which usually has a marking like ‘oil fill’ or ‘5W30.’

  • Using a paper towel, clean the area and put a funnel in the mouth.

  • The funnel is necessary to ensure that the oil does not get spilled over when you pour. Spilled engine oil can be dangerous for various engine components.

  • Add the Engine Oil

Carefully and patiently pour the engine oil into the mouth. Do not be in a hurry, and allow it enough time to absorb the oil to avoid spillage.

  • Check the Engine Oil Level

  • Once you have added engine oil to the oil chamber, you must check the oil level to ensure you have added enough oil to bring it to the optimum level.

  • To check the oil level, take out the dipstick and check the oil level, as discussed earlier.

  • If the oil level is not optimum, add some more oil and check again.

  • Close the cap carefully and remove all the paper towels, bottles, etc., before closing the hood.

Tips to Remember When You Check Engine Oil Level in Car

  • If the engine oil level of your car has dropped to the extent that it does not reach the minimum oil mark on the dipstick, you need to add a minimum of a quart of engine oil.

  • Also, look for a rise in the engine oil level, which may be the result of condensed water or condensed fuel.

  • If you notice brown bubbles or dried residue on the dipstick above the oil line, it indicates a coolant leakage, and you should take your car for servicing.

  • You may notice dirt particles or sludgy deposits in the oil when you pull out the dipstick. It indicates that you must change the engine oil immediately.

How Can Insurance for Four-wheelers Enhance My Car's Safety?

There are several aspects to taking care of your precious car’s maintenance. Along with keeping a check of its engine oil and servicing, you need to maintain your vehicle’s documents as well.

An essential document you require for your four-wheeler is a car insurance policy. This insurance policy for four-wheelers provides coverage for the various components of your car and also insures the car owner against damages.

With our Tata AIG Engine Secure add-on cover, you can get extended coverage for your car’s engine, which is the most essential and expensive car component.

Therefore, it is advisable to buy car insurance with reasonable coverage and add-ons to secure your car. You can use a car insurance calculator to calculate the premium payable for a desired insured amount to ensure it fits your budget.


A car’s engine is its backbone, and the engine oil ensures the engine functions properly. You can conveniently check the engine oil level and quality of your car using the dipstick and a few paper towels. You can also add engine oil to the oil chamber if the engine oil level is low.

However, if you notice a coolant leakage or any other irregularity, it is advisable to take your car to the service centre to have it checked by an expert.

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