Whether you know much about automobiles or not, it is very straightforward to check your engine oil using the dipstick found under the hood. If you have trouble locating the dipstick, please refer to your owner's manual for detailed instructions.
If you are on top of getting your oil changes when they are due, you should rarely encounter problems with the oil levels or quality. Nevertheless, it's still worth taking a few minutes every month or so to check your engine oil. It can tell you a lot about the engine's health, and it's just a remarkable thing to do for the well-being of your car.
Here are several things to look for when checking your engine oil:
The first thing to make a note of is the oil level. The dipstick will have indicators to show you the ideal level range. If there is slightly too much in the reservoir, it's usually not a significant cause for concern. If it is too low, then you must have it topped off ASAP. It could also mean there is a leak somewhere in the system. Whatever the situation may be, a low oil level is worth getting looked at by a professional mechanic.
Fresh oil will usually be a light brown/golden color. Sometimes synthetics can look almost clear on the dipstick. If the oil looks too dark or discolored in any way, then it's probably time for an oil change. Milky oil, on the other hand, is a common sign of radiator coolant leaking into the engine's compression chambers, which is undoubtedly an issue you will want to get fixed.
Beyond the color, you should also look at the consistency. It should be nice, translucent and viscous. If it is thick, sticky, or has any noticeable contaminants in it, then you must swap out the oil and oil filter soon to prevent engine damage. Dirty oil can lead to severe internal damage if ignored.
Motor oil typically has a fairly neutral smell that may vary depending on the oil grades. If it smells burnt or heavily like gasoline, then it could indicate a problem, or it's due for an oil change.
Overall, it's very simple to check your oil. If you ever notice anything that looks or smells out of the ordinary, it's wise to schedule an inspection with a trusted auto shop. The truth is many people take oil changes for granted. If the motor oil isn't fresh and doing what it is supposed to do, you can be facing severe engine problems and costly repairs.
For all your oil change and engine inspection/repair needs, call Import Auto Specialists in San Diego, CA, at (858) 221-4742.