Car care

How to check car oil at home: Just 5 simple steps

The engine is the “heart”, playing the role of operating a car. To ensure the engine always operates in the best condition, lubricants are considered the most important factor. How do I know if my car’s oil level is safe to operate or whether it’s time to change it? 

How to check car oil at home: Just 5 simple steps
How to check car oil at home: Just 5 simple steps

Why do we need to check car oil?

Automotive oil is a liquid used to lubricate metal parts inside a car. This fluid helps reduce friction between moving parts, so they don’t wear out over time. The role of engine oil is not only to lubricate, but it also helps fight the two biggest enemies of the engine system: friction and heat. These two dangerous enemies cause wear and eventually destroy the engine. Regularly changing your car’s oil helps limit rust, wear and cracking. At the same time, this also helps clean and cool the engine and there are many other benefits from changing car oil.

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How to check car oil in 5 steps

Checking the oil regularly is essential to increase the life of the vehicle. Furthermore, the check is done quite easily and quickly, thanks to which you will know whether your car is time to change the oil or not. At the same time, this also helps you evaluate whether the quality of the oil in the car is still ensuring the car operates well or not. Here are the things to prepare and 5 steps to check engine oil:

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  • Vehicle placed on a flat surface : This is to be able to determine the information on the oil dipstick most accurately. At the same time, this ensures that oil does not splash onto one side of the pan, causing inaccurate test results.
  • Turn off the engine : You should check the oil at least 10 minutes after the vehicle is turned off or when the engine has cooled down. 
  • Refer to the vehicle owner’s manual: Some new car models have an electronic oil screen and do not have an oil dipstick, so you need to refer to the manual and follow the car manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Turn on the hood: The position of the oil dipstick is under the hood, so to perform the check, you need to turn on the hood to proceed with the steps.

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Step 1: Locate the engine oil dipstick.

For those who don’t know, an oil dipstick is a type of stick with graduated lines used to measure the depth of oil. The dipstick is also quite easy to identify, it has the shape of a small handle, usually yellow or orange, with a plastic ring labeled “Engine Oil” or an oil tank symbol.

Step 2: Pull out the oil dipstick and use a rag to clean the bottom

To read the information on the oil dipstick most accurately, use a paper towel or cloth to clean the tip of the dipstick you just pulled out.

Step 3: Reinstall the oil dipstick into the engine

Once you have grasped the information written on the dipstick, place the dipstick back into the pipe connected to the tank. Carefully lower the rod all the way until it is completely reinserted. If it gets stuck or tilted, take it out and try again. 

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Step 4: Pull out the oil dipstick again

When you pull it out a second time, look at the top of the oil dipstick to see where the oil film ends. At the end of the oil dipstick there will be the word ADD (LOW) at the end and “FULL” in the middle. 

  • If the dipstick does not display the oil level, it means the engine is running out of oil, you need to refill the oil immediately.
  • If the oil does not reach the marks or holes on the dipstick, it means the car is seriously lacking oil, you need to add more oil.
  • If the oil film is below or right at the ADD (LOW) line, you need to add more oil.
  • If the oil film is near the FULL line, there is no need to add more oil and it operates normally.
  • Oil film exceeds the FULL line: Could be due to excess oil or coolant leak, need to take it to the garage for inspection.

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Besides, you also need to observe the color of the oil because it represents the age and quality of the oil. If the oil is black or dark brown, you should also change the vehicle’s oil to ensure the vehicle’s system.

Step 5: Reinstall the oil dipstick

After understanding the information and when the oil has been properly added (if any), the last thing you need to do is reinstall the oil dipstick like step 3.


Ideal engine temperature to check oil

After knowing how to check car oil, we also need to pay attention to many things to ensure accurate results. Check the oil to ensure the vehicle’s engine always operates smoothly and does not cause damage to the machinery during use. There are conflicting opinions about whether you should check the oil when the engine is still hot or cold. 

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In short, determining the ideal temperature depends on the type of oil you use and the type of engine equipped. Normally, the inspection will take place when the car engine has cooled. This will ensure greater measurement accuracy and also help the tester avoid injury. 

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However, in some special cases, it is recommended to check the vehicle’s oil while the engine is still hot. Some properties of engine oil may change under the influence of temperature. Usually this information will appear in a detailed manual. So please refer to the vehicle oil check instructions for accurate information before doing so. 

Ensure safety when checking engine oil

In fact, there are many unintended accidents that occur when checking oil manually. The cause of these accidents often stems from lack of knowledge about ensuring safety when checking engine oil. Here are some important notes that you should know, so that the inspection process can take place in the safest way:

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  • When the vehicle has just been started, let the engine rest for about 10 minutes before checking, to avoid being burned by the engine’s temperature.
  • Absolutely do not perform oil testing in high-temperature environments or directly under hot sun, causing difficulties during additional testing.
  • Equip gloves and protective clothing (long-sleeved shirts) to avoid the effects of temperature on the skin causing injury.

How often should the oil be checked?

Industry experts recommend that vehicle owners should pay attention to regularly changing their vehicle’s oil to ensure the vehicle operates at its best. 

Checking vehicle fluid levels

  • For new cars, change the oil for the first time when the car has run about 1,000 – 3,000km. After the first oil change, the engine oil needs to be changed periodically every 5,000km, 10,000km, 12,000km… or 6 months (depending on the manufacturer’s instructions). However, if you use high-quality motor oil or follow specific instructions from the manufacturer, you can extend the time between changes.
  • For used vehicles, oil change intervals may vary based on maintenance history and vehicle condition. If you don’t have this information, you can change the oil immediately to ensure the engine oil is in the best condition. Normally, older cars should change their oil every 6 months to ensure the engine always operates at its best.
  • For vehicles that are rarely operated and often left unused, even if the vehicle runs a little, the oil stored in the engine for a long time will degrade over time. The manufacturer’s recommendation is usually to change engine oil twice a year even if the vehicle is not operated regularly.

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Use quality lubricants to better protect the engine

On the market today, lubricants are widely sold with a variety of designs and qualities. Understanding and choosing the right type of lubricant for your vehicle is extremely important. Priority should be given to branded lubricants with all the necessary ingredients to perform the cooling and lubrication functions well, helping the vehicle operate in harsh conditions. 

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If you are still wondering which type of oil to choose, which brand of oil is suitable for your car, come immediately to Honda Auto My Dinh. Here, a team of experienced technicians who are knowledgeable about a variety of car models will answer and give the most accurate advice so you can choose the right type of oil for your car model.


We have just guided you “how to check car oil” in the most effective and simple way. Knowing how to protect and restore your battery will give you the most optimal experience, avoiding trouble when using your vehicle. Don’t forget to follow us for more interesting and useful updates. In addition, if you want to learn about Honda cars or related accessories, please contact us immediately.

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