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How to Check Your Oil

It only takes a minute or two to check your oil -- and that minute can save you a lot of aggravation, not to mention thousands of dollars in repairs!


  • Step 1: Park the car Park the car on a level surface, like a flat driveway.
  • Step 2: Turn off engine Turn the engine off.
  • Step 3: Locate dipstick Open the hood and locate the dipstick. Its handle is usually yellow and shaped like a crossbar.
  • TIP: If you can't find the dipstick, check your owner's manual.
  • Step 4: Wipe off stick Pull the dipstick out and, using a rag or paper towel, wipe off the stick.
  • Step 5: Locate marks Locate the two marks: "Add" and "Full."
  • Step 6: Slide in dipstick Slide the dipstick back into its slot, pushing it all the way down, before pulling it out again.
  • Step 7: Check oil line See where the line of oil reaches on the stick. If it falls at or below the "Add" line, then you need to add oil.
  • Step 8: Remove fill cap Remove the oil fill cap--it's usually marked with an icon that looks like Aladdin's magic lamp -- and place the funnel into the opening.
  • Step 9: Pour in oil Pour a quarter of the bottle into the funnel. Add the oil slowly so it doesn't go above the "Full" mark.
  • TIP: Use only the kind of oil recommended by your manual.
  • Step 10: Keep rechecking Keep rechecking the oil until it's between "Add" and "Full."
  • TIP: If your oil is consistently on the low side, you may have a leak. Have your car checked by a professional.
  • Step 11: Replace cap Remove the funnel and replace the oil cap.
  • Step 12: Replace dipstick Replace the dipstick, making sure it's all the way in. Close the hood -- and take her for a spin!
  • FACT: Although you should always check your oil frequently, changing it every 3,000 miles is no longer necessary--Ford says their 2007 models can go as long as 7,500 miles!

You Will Need

  • A clean rag or a few paper towels
  • A can of oil
  • A funnel

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