How to Check your Engine Oil Level

welcome folks today I was going to be showing you how to check your engines oil what you see before you here is a dipstick this one’s out of a Dodge v8 360 cubic inch and I’ve made up a little template or display if you will out of some recycled cardboard this is what is what a depicts or represents as is the oil pan it usually sits at the bottom of your engine just about every engine that I know of anyways has an oil pan at the bottom and Earth’s gravity will make all that liquid oil hot or cold go to the bottom of the oil pan after it all drains down from the engine before I forget I’ll tell you now if you’re going to check your engine oil you always have to wait especially after you’ve driven it for a while because with most engines the oil pump circulates the oil through the whole engine so if you check it too quick a lot of that oil will be in suspension up on top of the valve train and various oil passage and stuff so you have to wait till the oil actually drains back into the pan so give it if you can see if you’re doing some highway driving for instance and you’re going to fill up you’re going for a couple hundred couple thousand mile holiday and you stop in for gas I don’t be in any hurry to check your oil because like I say that oil is suspended in the top end of your engine it’ll give you a false indication of how much oil is really in there so get your gas and do whatever you have to do first get your snacks use the washroom facilities and come back and check your oil give it a chance to drain back into the oil pan so that you can actually see the level on your dipstick as to how much oil is actually in the engine it sits in that oil pan ok I’ve started the video off this way because I had to square everything up and show you the relationship of everything here and I’m going to show you the top end of the dipstick where the the pull loop is for your finger to pull it out of the engine ok so what I’ve got here you can notice I’ve got oil level here these these section lines at 45 degrees represent what sitting in the pan there’s the bottom of the oil pan where I’ve drew drawn this felt pen line and normally dipstick doesn’t go all the way down in there it stops and I’ll show you the other into the dipstick where it stops in a metal tube that you slide a dipstick in in order to feed it down into the oil pan okay so you’ll see on here I’ll be turning this to 90 degrees but just while we got it sitting here you’ll see ad and full marks with arrows pointing to two lines on here now the way I’ve got it set up right now is what I have to do with simulate things okay what I like to do well I mention it to is I check my oil first thing in the morning before I go anywhere that gives the oil a chance overnight to drain back into the oil pan that way I know what’s really in the engine and you also have to remember too that your oil filter holes anywhere Oh average a quart of oil you will be in your oil filter or a leader if you’re you’re using the metric system generally speaking a smaller car might be a bit less maybe half of that amount so on everything taken into consideration ideally the way I do it is in the morning first thing before I Drive the vehicle and make sure it’s at the full mark you can operate the vehicle anywhere between these ad and full marks but I prefer to keep it at the full mark once that all that oil is drained back into the oil pan now I’ll be using a an actual oil and showing you this in a few minutes here but I just want to get this out of the way if you find like seve you’ve gone for that long trip you knew you left home and the thing checked out you had it full of oil then you go on this long highway trip and you have an older car say well they generally tend to you burn up a little bit more oil you could have leaky valve guide seals valve stems and it’s leaking down to the engine actually burning it or you could have different scenarios blow by sea or piston rings or worn and and you can get a lot of that going through the PCV system so your your engine if it uses more oil you have to look at it up that much more often I would say you know at least once a week if you’re just driving it around the city every few miles but if at every gas stop every time you get gas is a good time to check it even if you don’t check it at the gas station you do it your own driveway at home generally yeah probably every gas tanker if you’re not driving that much once a week would be good I guess the more the merrier you might see and probably better for the engine to make sure you’re stay on top of things say if for instance you developed a leak in your oil pan or someone didn’t put the oil filter on properly and you’re leaking oil and you’re driving along unless you’ve got an oil warning light on your dashboard to tell you you’re losing oil will you do major engine damage and you might even have to put another engine in there if it gets serious enough so

always make sure your oil is maintained at the proper level like I say you can you can use the vehicle as long as it’s between the ad and full mark but like I say I like to keep it at the full mark once that oil is all drained down into the oil pan overnight okay so that’s what you’re basically looking at now I can do it here as well as with the the real oil I’ll just move this there’s a stop actually on the top of the dipstick and you can only push it down so far so I’m going to simulate that so say you’re dangerously low say you were down here after you let that oil drain overnight in the morning say you came and you checked your oil and you found the oil well below the ad mark well you might have some warning signs with your engine if you have hydraulic lifters to actuate the valve mechanism then they might start to click or clatter that’ll be an indication that the oil is a little bit on the low side or conversely I’ll explain the full side overfilled side rather as well but this is it a dangerous level you want to always keep it after that oils been drained back into the pan for you know at least fifteen minutes between those ad and full marks they’ll keep repeating that until both you and I really get that embedded in our our mind so we can care for our cars okay so if you see if there is danger you gotta go to shut that thing off and you know take your key with you engine is going to be hot if you’re checking it hot watch out for hot parts you don’t want to burn yourself okay engine oil also a lot of the containers I’ve read says don’t get used oil on your skin meaning your fingers or your hands when you’re checking it also don’t forget that all is going to be hot when you’re using the rag or a napkin or whatever to clean it off – to reinsert the stick to get there eating so watch out it’s cancer-causing so they say on the warning labels on most oil containers that you buy these days so wash your hands right away if you get any oil on you at all I’m not sure if the brand-new oil is as hazardous as the old stuff but at any rate get that off your hands the second that you get it on there maybe take some wet wipes or something with you before you attempt to check your oil so also make sure your vehicle is on level ground if you’re on a steep hill it’s it’s no use because just just like you know you’ve got water in a bucket you tilt that bucket well you know depending on where your dipstick is in your oil pan if it’s dead center in the middle then they’d probably be okay but most dipsticks aren’t there usually to one side or one end of that pan somewhere so you want to get a true reading make sure your car is on the level if you don’t have a level drive at home go find a parking lot somewhere away from everybody else and you can check it there or at least get a reference point now if you have a slightly inclined driveway you can get your your reference point you know exactly where it is and then come home wait a while and check it in your drive when you notice it a bit of a different reading there but at least you’ll know in your driveway if it’s not sloped too steep you can calibrate it that way but otherwise the level ground is the best place to check your oil today at any rate okay so now if you have that you got to make sure you get your oil back in there wait the least 10 15 minutes before you check it let that oil get a chance to drain back into the pan conversely actually it can cause foaming you’re back to this lower to lower level like I say you might hear some hydraulic lifter going click click or clatter clatter that’s lack of oil around the pickup screen or yeah the pickup screen where it picks up the oil pump might be drawing in air with that oil if it gets too low generally it doesn’t but it can go the other way too if you have too much oil in your crankcase say you’re way up here you checked it too soon and you put say let’s let me reach in here suck yes we’re gonna pull this down a bit more there so say you’re overfilled okay same problem happens here you get your your crankshaft counterweights usually or your the big anterior connecting rods dipping down into the oil because this is too too high in the oil pan you have too much oil in it so that’s the reason they don’t want you to overfill it you think that more is better because you won’t run short of oil but if you get a the crankshaft counterweights and or the beginning of the connecting rods dipping into that oil it would cause foam get a lot of bubbles in your oil and your oil pump will pick that up through the pickup screen and you’ll have areata doyle or in other words oil with bubbles being pumped through your engines whaling system and that’ll usually cause your very first sign that you’ll hear is if you have hydraulic lifters as you’ll hear a click click or a cloud or cloud or out of the valvetrain mechanisms okay so enough of this for now with the mock up if you will what I’ll do now is I’ll move over to the actual real oil just

before you do that though I’m going to show you the other into this dipstick here there’s like I say there’s the actual I’ll set it down so it stays still it’s a just a little loop most of them some of them could say probably mostly they have a loop on there to put your finger in there so you can you can withdraw it from the engine okay and also I’ll simulate it here I got a piece of solder straw there usually go down into it some of them might even go into the engine block if you have an import but most of the older domestic v8s had a metal tube and this this soda straw is going to simulate that and right here you can see there’s a stop there’s a bit of a shoulder there right where my thumbnail is okay so you can only slide it in that metal pipe and it goes down into the engine like so and it stops there okay so when you take your reading you basically want to pull it outta there okay I’m gonna do this dry so I don’t have to get oil all over the place but I’ll still be doing that I guess okay so you’d want to do I’m probably going to be on a bit of an angle your to be in this this orientation here when you pull it out of the engine it’s going to be vertical or slightly to one side but for the video I’m going to go sideways a little bit on you you actually have to read the oil when it’s horizontal too otherwise the oil will if you have it vertical when you try to read the oil level on there it’ll it’ll probably be with this gravity it’ll probably draw it down and give you a false reading so what you want to do after you withdraw from the engine is you want to turn it so it’s horizontal so the oil will lay flat on the dipstick when while you read it if you have it this way or this way the oil will run and it will give you a false reading okay so like the very first time you extract it you’re on level ground you’ve pulled it out of the unit engine block if that’s the case or the metal tube I just described you pull it out of there okay and the first thing you want to do is you want to wipe it okay especially if you’ve been using the vehicle road trip or what have you or need to check it after you’ve filled up your gas tank paper towel or a rag or whatever you got handy Kleenex just make sure you got enough of it so you don’t get any of this on your hands and if you do like I say like I mentioned go wash your hands right away once you’re finished doing this so what you want to do is just fold it over and slide the dipstick through it like so and that’ll pick up any of the oil on to the rag or the paper towel that you have okay then what you have to do then you know what’s clean at this point there’s no false reading going to be there you just get it and you put it back in the engine right you’re back in the engine till it hits its top okay and then it’s basically count to three three seconds to give the chance for the oil to stick to the dipstick don’t don’t rush it just count one two three and you’re ready and you would draw it again from the engine and then you turn the dipstick horizontal okay and I actually got another piece of cardboard I can slip under here to help highlight it a bit there we go straighten things out a little bit so what you’re going to have now is some you’re going to you’re going to see oil it’ll be clinging to the dipstick rather and it’ll give you a reading as to where it is remember give the oyel a chance to drain back into the oil pan don’t be in any hurry to do it give it 10 or 15 minutes if you can overnight better and if you have an older high mileage engine or whatever and it’s burning oil you’re going to find that it’s kind of vary quite a bit the more miles you put on it the faster it’s going to be burning that oil so you got to always make sure to pay attention to your your engine give it the care it needs and you’ll see on there somewhere where the oil level is okay now that’s just in general terms and showing you with the mock up and my way to describe it this is the way I normally do it just the way I check my oil is the way I do it but this mock-up is provided for you for the video so you can understand it a little bit easier make it more simple in that respect okay now I’m going to take this out of the out of the frame for a second and we’re going to get some some real oil happening here I’ve got a little jar full of it’s not it’s not standard oil from four engines this is actually differential oil for your rear axle it’s a TW ninety eighty goose as low as an 80 in winter and it acts like a 90 way to have your oil the reason I’m using this heavy oil for this demonstration for oil engine oil reading is because it’ll stick to the dipstick better it won’t run off on me as fast but in general terms a new engine oil will be kind of an amber color that might not be quite as dark as this gear oil but now I’ll show you what we got going on here okay hopefully the video will show it up so I’m just going to dip

this um probably from the side normally you would come in like I say to the oil pan from the vertical like you see on your video but I’m going to do it from the side just because it’s easier don’t have to lean into the with the video camera seeing so I’ll give you a couple scenarios here I’ll give you the perfect one this is when I check my engine oil first thing in the morning before the cars been driven I came home last night after being out doing some shopping so car gets parked in the driveway I come out first thing in the morning get up a little earlier so that where I’m heading it’s not going to interfere of my schedule so we’re going to put this down remember it’s going to hit the stop when you push it down into the tube or the engine block as the case may be but I’ll give you the first scenario and uh hopefully I can get this right count your three seconds and then withdraw it and then after that you want to turn horizontal just like you see in your video okay so I’ll show you what I’ve got here I’ve got up going to steady my hand up a bit with some hockey pucks okay so that’s why you’ll see a little bit of maybe you won’t see it in the camera but right now it’s just a very small if you can see the shine on it that is from the video camera you might you might not but I’ll point this bamboo skewer right where the oil is reading where I can see it here it’s just this just a very slight amount below the full mark now that’s that’s plenty good enough that’s been sitting overnight and it’ll be easier to see if you have a dirty oil on there but remember the dirtier the oil the more contaminants in it and the more unhealthy it is for you make sure you wash your hands with soap water and make sure that you don’t leave that sitting around it’s not not good okay so that’s in a good scenario where I don’t have to do anything I can just go ahead and you know like I say the first time you know in the morning generally it will stay right where it should be but just for added insurance withdraw the dipstick actually back up one step here I’ve got some and we’re going to go go wet okay so redo that so we just withdrew the the dipstick from the engine okay so we don’t not sure if that’s the real reading salt we’ll do is we’ll clean off the oil that’s in there then we’ll reinsert it into the engine and count our three seconds right and then we can we can take that reading now going again that was that first part was when it was under ideal conditions okay now we’ll go down the other we’ll reinsert that stick and I’ll give you another scenario here alright so now we got we’re sitting right at the add mark line okay we’re right here where the bamboo skewer is right there okay so generally with North American car in the past and even some of the some of the v6 the General Motors v6 pretty much the same the difference between an ad and full mark could be as much as a quart or an American cord is generally give or take a Canadian leader amount different vehicles will require different amounts smaller engines might be a lesser amount to top it up but check with your owner’s manual I’ll look around on the net and find out what what the actual difference is just make sure you put your dipstick horizontal because if like I say if you have it up and down or vertical that oil run onion you won’t get a true reading so we’re sitting right here at the add mark okay so I know I don’t want to run my engine unless it’s an emergency situation but I want to I want to get somewhere safe and I want to top that thing up another thing I’ll mention too is whenever I take a vehicle anywhere especially for a longer drive somewhere is I like to keep the same kind of oil in my vehicle year-round okay now you might not be able to depending on your climate you might have to change the weight of the oil to accommodate how cold or how hot it is in your ear region where you’re driving your car but always keep the same brand of oil I would recommend the same brand of oil no matter what it is a quality brand name and keep keep a liter or corridor a couple of them in your trunk and secured so they don’t you know rattle around and there and caused an oil flood in your trunk or or wherever you’re keeping it always keep the same oil as well I wouldn’t recommend mixing different brands body how different additives they could interact with one another much like pharmaceuticals you’ve got to really watch when you’re taking prescriptions too but same thing applies to motor oil I would highly recommend that you pick an oil a good brand name oil and stick with it okay and you might have to change the weight of the oil depending on what your climate is like I say but for me I can tell you what I run I run a brand name oil I’ve used three different brands of oils over the years but I like to use where I live

very seldom goes over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit on a hot summer day and in winter it it does dip below freezing just by a few degrees so it’s it works good for me I use 10 W 40 10 W stands for the winter weight it’ll start start easy enough because if we never get that cold see if we’re going 40 below and you’re you’re going to have to go to a five weight something 535 W 30 or something but I like the old-school stuff myself I like to use the thickest oil that I can and still be able to start it in the winter when it’s cold because the oil thickens up okay when the engine is not running okay so now we’re at the add mark I know you have to put in here about a liter or a US Court of oil to top that up but just that a little bit at a time and reinsert this the dips that can take in another reading until you get it to where it’s at the full mark again but don’t go over full once that’ll just be a drain back into your oil pan never go over the full mark like I had mentioned the oil will start to foam and your your oil pick up for your oil pump will start start drawing in air bubbles and that’s not a healthy thing for your engine so you want to keep it right in this range here but never over full and I’d never want to go below the add mark that’s for sure especially when you’re traveling down the highway you know I know those engine revs are coming up pretty high okay so this by the way I use conventional oil there’s other guys that swear by the synthetics or the semi synthetics that are out there they’re three or four times the price of this conventional oil like I get like five liters or it’s basically about the same size as five US courts for about twenty-five dollars and that’s a brand name and I get in a five liter jug easy to to get and that’s all I’ve ever run I’ve never gone to the synthetic at all if I was racing and I wanted to shave a few seconds or hundredths of a second off my quarter mile times or whatever yet I’d probably go synthetic all right but I’ve always stuck to the conventional oils but like I say a brand name that’s the way to go okay no matter what it is don’t don’t buy those you know recycled el cheapo oils your unless you really don’t care much about your engine and you think you’re saving a lot of money that way but if you’ve got an engine you care about use use a good brand name of oil in it okay so there’s that scenario with adding that and then we can probably go I could even give you the halfway we’ll read it that we wipe it off your we dip it okay remember this is gear oil it’s sticking sticking really good the normal especially when your engine oil it’s thinner to begin with when it’s at room temperature but when your engine warms it up it tends to thin out quite a bit that’s why I like to use a heavier oil because I know when that engine heats it up and that’ll ‘z that operating temperature fully warmed up it’s going to thin out the synthetics they they have the synthetic oils rather they have a generally if you start with a lighter weight a lot of them and they can retain their foiling ability they don’t oxidize or break down like the conventional oils apparently but here’s this scenario here now we’ve got it so it’s exactly halfway between the oil oil the add and the full mark okay so what are we going to do here you could run the engine like that but still remember my pack a leader to or a US chord if you want to call it that in my trunk and if I see that after I know the oil has been drained back into the oil pan overnight I know exactly that’s going to be about half a liter half a US Court so I’ll add a little bit at a time till I bring it back to full like I say the most important part is to make sure the oil gets a chance to drain back in your oil pan because if you do it in a hurry like I say you’re going to have too much oil in your oil pan you’re going to have variation like I say it’s the crankshaft counterweights and began to the con rods and they’ll be dipping in your oil and they’ll be forming it up for you don’t want that so there’s the my parting message here always keep your oil between the Adhan fold preferably at the full mark full is good you know you’ve got extra oil extra capacity in your oil pan especially at high speeds you don’t want to ever go too low on your oil like I say either way it’s bad too little or too much is not good okay so try to keep it at the full mark no more and that way you know you’ve got caring for your engine you got the lubrication for that oil pump to to force through your engine and keep everything nicely lubricated so you go folks there’s my take on how to check your oil

and to watch out for things for your engine there that engine is the one that takes you and your family all over the place for your shopping your holidays and everything treat it with some kindness okay so there you go take care have a nice day and bye for now