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Adding Oil to Your Engine

Use the dipstick first!

By

If you checked your oil and found the level to be low, you should add a quart. Oil is sold in quarts, so if you grab a plastic bottle at your local giganti-gas, you've got a quart. There are different types of oil, called "weights," so check your car's owner's manual to see what they recommend. If you can't find the manual or you're in a pinch, you can always add a quart of 10W-30 or 10W-40 safely (they're labeled right on the front). If you're extra worried about cleanliness, buy a funnel, too, but it's not a must. With your hood safely propped open, look for a big screw cap right in the middle of the engine. It'll have a picture of what looks like a watering can on it, and some even say OIL. Again, you can consult the owner's manual on this. Unscrew the cap, and put it someplace safe, where you won't forget it! Believe me, leaving the cap off can be messy and even dangerous. My engine caught fire one time when I forgot to put the cap back on. I ran up and down the highway off-ramp like a chicken until somebody gave me a 2-liter bottle of Sprite. I'd hate to see you in the same place. If you can, put the cap over the hole in the hood latch so that you can't close the hood without putting the cap back on. So, with the cap off, carefully and slowly pour your quart into the engine. Don't worry if you spill a little, you won't do any damage but it might smoke and stink a little when you start the car. I like to wipe up any spills to keep the evergreen forest smell fresh inside my car. Put the cap back on the oil fill hole and you're done. You've just reduced the wear inside your engine by a lot!

Remember:
  • Only add one quart at a time.
  • Put the cap back on!

It's a good idea to check your oil again after doing some driving, just to be sure you're at the right level.

That's one more step toward automotive empowerment. Do it!
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