How to Add Oil to Your Car

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Adding oil is a simple, painless process. To understand how it works, you need to know that oil operates in a closed loop system and is stored in the oil pan. The oil pan holds up to 4 to 6 quarts depending on the car. When the engine starts, the oil pump sucks oil from the oil pan through the pickup tube, and then goes through the oil filter where any dirt and debris are removed.

It then circulates throughout the entire engine via spurt holes, finally heading back to the oil pan to start the cycle again.

You should always check your oil before adding new oil. If the dipstick is indicating a low oil reading, you will need to add some oil to the car.

Here is how to add oil to your car:

How to add oil to a car

  1. Acquire the proper oil - Make sure you use the grade of oil that is recommended in the owner’s manual. Castrol provides a variety of options that may be suitable to your engine's needs.

  2. Determine the weight - Oil is available in different “weights” and the oil container will indicate the weight or viscosity of the oil. Oil is usually sold in quarts. In most cases, one quart should do the job.

  3. Determine the rating - A “W” in the rating means that the oil has been tested at colder (winter) temperatures. Oils that do not have a “W” are tested only at 210° F, which is considered a standard engine operating temperature.

    Note: The majority of oils today are multi-grades, which basically means the oil falls into two viscosity grades, for example, 10w-40.

  4. Pour in the oil - If the dipstick measured below the “Add” line you should pour in at least half of the quart of oil. You can use a funnel or pour it directly into the hole. Avoid spilling oil on the engine, as it will smell as it burns off, and be sure to wipe up any spills with a towel.

    Tip: Overfilling your engine with oil can damage the engine, so the best method is to add a bit of oil and then recheck oil levels before adding more.

  5. Re-check the oil levels with the dipstick - If the oil level is still below the “Add” indicator, add the rest of the quart and recheck the oil levels. When the oil level is close to the “Full” level, you are done.

    hand screwing cap back on

  6. Screw the oil filler cap back on - Test to make sure the oil cap has been properly screwed back on and is secure, and then close the hood.

Your vehicle is now full of oil and ready to go.

Recheck your oil levels in roughly 20 days.

If, for any reason, you are uncomfortable working on your vehicle, one of YourMechanic’s certified mobile mechanics would be happy to come to your home or place of business to check your vehicle fluid levels and add to or change the oil in your car.


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16,631
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Joseph

31 years of experience
540 reviews
Joseph
31 years of experience
Toyota 4Runner - Oil Change - Dallas, Texas
Very professional job. Showed up on time and completed the work as requested in a timely manner. Very happy with the job done by Joseph.
Cadillac CTS - Oil Change - Dallas, Texas
Joseph was very professional. He made sure to communicate with me about everything. He worked quickly and answered all my questions. Will use him again!

Ryan

6 years of experience
8 reviews
Ryan
6 years of experience
Audi S4 - Oil Change - Lansdowne, Pennsylvania
Showed up on time and completed the oil change in a timely manner without any problems, went very smooth, would recommend.
Volvo V90 Cross Country - Oil Change - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I did an oil change with him. Ryan showed up even little earlier and was very thorough and detail-oriented. He did every step very carefully and even wiped off the area. I appreciate his professionalism.

Jerimiah

17 years of experience
324 reviews
Jerimiah
17 years of experience
Toyota Corolla - Oil Change - Las Vegas, Nevada
Jerimiah is always friendly and professional. He is quick, efficient and always goes above and beyond!
BMW 328is - Oil Change - Las Vegas, Nevada
Jerimiah, as in the past I felt confident that you would give me your professional advise should you find it necessary to point out a potential need for other services. As I pointed out to you I feel that with the competence of a mechanic there should also be a trust to make the owner save for her/him and others while driving...Thank you

Peter

23 years of experience
227 reviews
Peter
23 years of experience
Porsche Cayenne - Oil Change - Tarzana, California
Peter was great. Performed oil change fairly quickly, very professional and provided a few good tips about my vehicles.

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