This "how to put oil in a car" guide will show you step-by-step the best way to fill your car with oil. There aren't too many things you can do to mess this up and it is something that pretty much everyone can do. This is also an essential skill for every car owner to know since it is virtually guaranteed that at some point you will have to top off your car with oil.
Whether you are filling your car after an oil change or just topping it off at the gas station this "how to put oil in a car" guide will help you do the job with confidence.
The first step to putting oil in your car is making sure you know how much oil your car needs and what type of oil the manufacturer recommends. If you are just topping off your oil then you just need to add it a little at a time (usually around 1/4 of a quart) and check it after adding each time until it is full. If you have just done an oil change then you need to know how much oil the engine takes.
There are several good ways to find this information. The easiest place to look is in your owners manual. It will show the amount of oil needed and the weight of oil that is recommended. If you don't have an owners manual then you can try looking under the hood of your car. Many times there will be a sticker in the engine compartment that will tell you how much oil the engine requires. If you can't find the engine compartment sticker then try looking online. You can probably find the amount you need in a forum or on a website. If none of these work you can use an online repair manual to find this info.
The type of oil or "weight" of oil refers to the viscosity or resistance to flow (basically the same thing as thickness). Most vehicle manufacturers are putting much thinner oil in their cars than they used to because engines are built with much tighter tolerances than they used to be. Generally a thin oil would be something like a 0w-20 and a thick oil would be a 20w-30. Many times the oil fill cap will tell you what wieght of oil you will need. The picture below shows where the numbers are located on an oil bottle and what they look like.
After you have the right amount and the right weight of oil you need to find the oil fill cap. This is generally located on the top of the engine (sometimes on the top/side). You can find the location in your owners manual if you can't seem to find it. Many times the cap will say "oil fill cap" or something similar.
You also need to be sure that you know where the oil dipstick is located. You will need this to be able to tell when you have enough oil in the engine. most of the time they are bright yellow or orange and they are hard to miss. You should be able to find the location in the owners manual as well. Many times there is more than one dipstick. Be sure you know the difference between the oil dipstick and the transmission dipstick as well as the power steering dipstick.
After you know where the oil cap is and the dipstick is then you are finally ready to put oil in your car. You simply need to remove the oil cap, put a funnel into the opening and slowly pour oil into the engine.
There are several things you need to know when filling the engine with oil.
Be sure that you don't overfill the engine. If you are just topping off the engine then don't put too much in at a time. Be sure to stop and check the oil often so you don't overfill it.
Pour the oil into the funnel slowly. If you pour too fast the oil can leak out of the oil fill hole and get all over the engine. This usually causes it to leak down onto the exhaust manifold (which is very hot) and burn off while you are stopped at a red light. This would smell extremely bad and possibly cause a fire!
Be sure to hold the funnel while you are pouring. Many times the funnel will not just stay where it is put and you could end up with oil all over the engine.
One of the best ways to pour the oil into the engine (especially if you don't have a funnel) is with the oil bottle on it's side. This will let the oil flow in more smoothly.
Finally, try to make sure the oil is warm before you pour it in. I usually keep the oil inside the house before I put it in the engine. This will help the oil flow out of the bottle and into the engine much easier.
Now it's time to learn how to check oil
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