How to Check the Oil Level in Your Car

Checking oil level on dipstick


Motor oil is key to the performance and power of your vehicle, and low oil levels can cause a surprising amount of damage. So, learning how to check the oil level in your car is a simple maintenance skill that can pay off in a big way. Find out how to check the oil in any car like a pro, and be sure to visit Lithia Hyundai of Reno if you’re in the Sparks area for quality car care!

Learn How to Check the Oil Level in Your Car

Before you can learn how to check the oil level in your car, it’s a good idea to leaf through your owner’s manual. You might find that you have an electronic oil monitor that doesn’t use a dipstick, or your car might have a more traditional configuration. While electronic oil monitors will check your oil level automatically, a car with a dipstick should be checked manually. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Park your car on level ground and switch off the engine. The engine should be cold when you check your oil.
  2. Pop the hood and locate the dipstick. Your owner’s manual will tell you where to look if you haven’t checked before.
  3. Pull the dipstick from the engine and wipe the oil off of it with a clean rag.
  4. Place the dipstick back in its tube and pull it back out.
  5. Look at where the oil level falls on the dipstick. If it falls between a cross-hatched area or within the proper oil level lines, your job is done. 
  6. If your oil level is low, you’ll need to add more. Open the oil cap, add the proper amount of oil with a funnel, and replace the cap.

Why Check Your Car’s Oil Level?

Your motor oil lubricates all the moving parts in your engine, and it also pulls heat away from the engine to keep everything running smoothly. While we recommend an oil change at least twice per year, monthly oil checks can give you peace of mind. If a sudden leak or issue arises, you’ll notice it quickly and prevent major damage down the road. Otherwise, you might find yourself Fernley with smoke billowing out of the hood and racing to schedule your service!

How to Reset Oil Change Light

Now you know how to check the oil in a car, but what about changing the oil light? This warning light turns on when you are due for an oil change. When you get your oil changed, the light should turn off automatically. But if you’re performing your DIY service and the light won’t budge, follow these directions:

  1. Turn all systems of your car off, but leave the engine running.
  2. Find the “reset” button or stick on the dashboard (typically found near the speedometer and fuel gauge).
  3. Hold the button down until the oil change light begins to flash (sign of resetting may differ per vehicle).
  4. Turn the ignition off, wait a few seconds, and then turn your car back on.

Visit Lithia Hyundai of Reno for Quality Car Care

Whether you have more questions about oil checks or you’re ready for that routine maintenance visit, contact us at Lithia Hyundai of Reno. We’re located in Reno, near neighboring Carson City, and we’re ready to help you with any and all car needs. Schedule your service online at your convenience or get in touch with us today!

More from Lithia Hyundai of Reno

  • Car Care Tips For Desert Driving

    Car Care Tips For Desert Driving The desert is a harsh place to be. It’s hot, it’s dry, and it’s full of sand. You’d think that these conditions would make for a pretty easy environment for your car to handle, especially when off-road driving — but you’d be wrong. If you’ve spent any time in…

  • How to Buy a Car with Poor Credit

    How to Buy a Car with Poor Credit It’s a great feeling when you finally find the perfect car. It’s even better when you can afford it! Buying a vehicle is one of the most significant purchases you’ll make in your life and one of the biggest opportunities to prove that you’re capable of handling…

  • 2023 Hyundai Palisade Interior Features

      If you have a growing family in the Sparks area, you will need a comfortable and spacious SUV packed with all the necessary features. The 2023 Hyundai Palisade is the right model to do the job for you! Find three rows of seating, various seating options, and a suite of technology features inside this…

Lithia Hyundai of Reno 39.4990238, -119.7881854.