Two human hands perform a check of the amount of engine oil using a dipstick.

What’s the proper way to check your oil to get an accurate reading?

The oil, as most know, is the lifeblood of the engine. Without proper oil, a vehicle simply will not last long. With this in mind, it’s important to check your ride’s oil level periodically.

Unfortunately, a variety of conflicting information is available on what is truly the proper way to check one’s oil. Today, we’re going to present to you our own view on the matter. The following is how we believe you should check your oil in order to receive an accurate reading.


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How to Check Your Engine Oil

  • Step Zero: Have your car parked on a level surface. Wait long enough to cool your engine. It’s generally recommended that one’s engine be cold when performing an oil check. However, many modern vehicles are calibrated so that the dipstick will read correctly even with a warm engine, so this may not be necessary.
  • Step One: Locate the dipstick under the hood. It should be on top of your oil tank. Typically, it’s topped with a bright yellow ring.
  • Step Two: Pull the dipstick out and wipe it off with a towel or rag. This first look will give you a hint at what your oil level may be, but don’t take it too seriously. The oil is likely splashed all over due to the engine having been running.
  • Step Three: Reinsert the dipstick in the tank. Push it all the way in.
  • Step Four: Pull the stick out again and check the oil on the end. Look for the markings that indicate oil fill levels. These are usually designated by a dot or a line. Ideally, your oil level should be at or near the top marking.
  • Step Five: In addition to checking the oil level, make sure the oil is nice and clean. If the oil is grimy, black, thick, gritty, milky, or some other similar adjective, it’s probably time to get it changed. Healthy oil is light-colored and transparent.
    • Also, check that the dipstick is nice and clean. If the dipstick is discolored or dark, it means that the car hasn’t had regular oil changes.
  • Step Six: For best practice, wipe the stick off and check it a second time. Again, ensure the oil is right at the full mark.

Time for an oil change? Schedule it today at our Pohanka Mercedes-Benz Service Center!


How often should you check your oil?

We recommend checking your oil once per month. For a specific oil change interval recommendation, consult your owner’s manual. If you don’t have the physical manual, it can likely be located online via a Google search.

Oil changes are just one of the many services available at Pohanka Mercedes-Benz.

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