Spotting Problems When Checking Your Car’s Oil

When you own a car, you need to keep up with routine maintenance in order to ensure your vehicle runs well, and one of the major aspects of car care is oil changes. The general rule of thumb is to have the oil drained and replaced every 5,000 to 7,000 miles.¬†However, visiting an auto body shop like New Jersey Auto Auction‘s Total Car Care Center every few thousand miles is not always enough to keep the car in check. You should pop the hood and peek at the oil every week or so to make sure things are running smoothly.

First, make sure the engine is off and has had time to cool down to avoid burning yourself on the hot metal. Then, pop the hood and locate the oil dipstick. The handle is usually yellow and found toward the front of the car. Pull the dipstick out and wipe it clean with a rag or paper towel. Then, reinsert it all the way down and pull it out once more. This will give you an accurate reading of the level.

If it looks low, you should add more fluid to the oil reservoir. Be sure to check again in a few days, as a significant drop typically means there is a leak that should be addressed as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the engine.

You will also want to look at the quality of the fluid. Oil that is opaque or very dark in color should be changed soon, even if it is ahead of the scheduled maintenance. If you notice dirt, debris or flecks of metal, you may be dealing with a leak or a part that is wearing out.

For oil changes and bigger problems, the experts at the Total Car Care Center can help get your car back on the road in a timely fashion. The auto shop, affiliated with NJ Public Auto Auction, is open to the general public, making it a viable resource for drivers in the New York/New Jersey area.