Motor oil lubricates your engine which prevents your engine from overheating due to friction. If you run your engine out of oil, you run an extremely high risk of frying your engine. If you fry your engine you will have to get it rebuilt which is very costly.
Things you should have handy:
- Paper Towels
- 1 Quart Motor Oil (whatever kind your owner's manual says)
- Plastic Funnel
The first thing you are going to want to do is warm your car up; start your engine and let your car run for five minutes. Oil expands when it heats up, so you will get an inaccurate reading if your engine is cold.
You will want to make sure that your car is parked on a very level surface and turn off your engine.
Pop your hood from inside your car then get out and open the hood. Secure your hood if necessary.
Locate the dipstick. The dipstick is a long piece of metal that sticks out of your engine. Typically there is a loop on the end of the dipstick for pulling it out of your engine.
Gently pull on the loop of the dipstick to remove it completely from the engine.
Use either paper towels or a rag to ripe off the oil on the end of the dipstick.
Carefully put the dipstick back into the engine, making sure that you push it all the way in.
Next, pull the dipstick back out again and hold it horizontally. You should see a full line and a low line, if your oil levels are below the full level, you should add a bit of oil to bring it back to full.
To add some oil, locate the oil filler cap which is typically three inches in diameter and is generally found on the top of your engine.
Place your plastic funnel inside the hole beneath the oil filler cap and add roughly 1/4 of your quart of oil. Replace the oil filler cap and recheck your oil. If you oil is still low, repeat the process listed above until the oil is very close to the full line.
Be very careful to not overfill your oil as you can damage your seals if your engine is overfilled. It is way easier to add more oil than to attempt to remove oil from your engine so add oil cautiously.
If you are finding your engine is consistently low on oil, even after refilling you most likely have an oil leak or are burning oil. You will want to go see a mechanic if this is the case in order to fix this problem.
If you find that your oil is very dark, you probably need to change your oil as clean oil should be relatively clear.