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How to check and top up your engine oil

How to check and top up your engine oil


In this addition of our how-to series, we will guide you through the process of checking the level of, and topping up your cars engine oil.

Engine oil is essential to ensuring that your vehicle runs smoothly. It is responsible for lubricating the various parts of the engine, protecting it from to of the biggest saboteurs your engine will face: heat and friction. Without oil your engine would quickly overheat and seize up, this can result in some rather expensive repairs. To help avoid, we recommend that you check the oil level at least once per month and top it up as needed. Follow the steps below to cleanly and quickly check and top up your engine oil.

Things you will need:

  • Rubber gloves;
  • Kitchen towels or an old, clean rag;
  • Engine oil;
  • A funnel.



  1. Parking. Before popping the hood and checking the oil level, it is important that you park on a level surface. If you are parked on an incline, or otherwise uneven ground, you will not be able to get an accurate reading of the oil level;
  2. Pop the hood. Now that you are parked on level ground, locate the small lever or button to open the hood of your vehicle, it is usually found around the drivers seat. After this, find the catch to open the hood, run your hand along the gap between the hood and body of the car until you find a small catch. Press the catch inward to completely open the hood;
  3. Find the dipstick. Your cars dipstick will be fairly easy to spot as it is a brightly colored hoop or T shape, usually yellow, and near the front of the engine. Grasp the dipstick and remove it, remove the oil on it using the kitchen towels or rag. Now re-insert the dipstick until you hear a small click;
  4. Remove the dipstick once again, there will be markings on it to indicate the level of oil (usually min and max). Check where the oil level falls between these two marks, you will need to top it up if the oil is near or below the bottom line. When you have found the level replace the dipstick;
  5. In order to top the oil up, you will need to find the oil filler cap. The cap will either have the word ‘oil’ or a picture of an oil can marked on it, and is also located near the front of the engine. Check the owners manual for your vehicle if you can’t find it. Unscrew the cap and insert the funnel, pour the oil in for about 2-3 seconds and repeat steps 3 and 4. Do this until the level of oil is at, or close to, the top line marked on the dipstick. Replace the cap and that’s it!


You have now successfully topped up your engine oil with minimum fuss or heartache!

So there we have it, your guide on how to check and top up your engine oil. Did we miss anything? Or do you have any tips and advice for our readers? If so, let us know we will be happy to hear from you.

For more information, or if you have any questions about choosing the best oil for your vehicle or scheduling an oil change give us a call on (650) 325-1280, visit us at Menlo Atherton Auto Repair, 1279 El Camino Real, CA, 94025, or book an appointment with us online. The friendly and knowledgeable staff here at Menlo Atherton Auto Repair will be more than happy to help!

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