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How to Check Oil in a Toyota Tacoma Pickup

by Jody L. Campbell

Checking the oil in your Toyota Tacoma is important for a couple of different reasons. The most obvious is to make sure the engine has the proper amount of lubricant to keep if running well. Another is to make sure there are no internal engine problems, like a blown head gasket, which would produce a milky-coffee colored oil residue. Regular oil changes are always recommended and checking the oil in between oil changes is a good way to ensure the Tacoma is not leaking or burning oil and there are no other visible problems with the performance of the engine.

Park the Tacoma on a level surface. If the engine has been running, allow a few minutes for the oil to drain back down into the oil pan.

Open the hood and rest it onto the hood prop.

Locate the oil dipstick. Tacomas have either a 4-cylinder engine or a 6-cylinder engine. The 4-cylinder dipstick is toward the front of the motor between the radiator and the engine oil fill cap, closer to the passenger side of the motor. The 6-cylinder dipstick is on the driver's side of the motor between the radiator and the engine oil fill cap. Both engines have a bright yellow-colored loop-handled dipstick.

Pull the dipstick tube and wipe it clean with a shop rag. Before reinstalling the dipstick, look at the bottom of the dipstick to determine the stamped full and low marks on the dipstick.

Reinsert the dipstick into the tube all the way and remove it again. This is the actual oil level reading. If it is full or between full and low, it should be OK. If it is near the low side or below the low indicator mark on the dipstick or if no oil is registering on the dipstick, you should add some oil. Take note of the color of the engine oil at this time if you're not sure when the last time you had the oil changed. A dark brown or black color would indicate needing an oil change.

Add oil by removing the engine oil fill cap and placing a funnel into the fill spout. Pour a little bit of engine oil at a time and allow a couple minutes to let the oil drain into the oil pan before rechecking. If you have to add engine oil, check the level more frequently. If you have to keep adding oil, bring the truck to a certified mechanic to find out why.

Remember to remove the funnel, replace the engine oil fill cap, replace the dipstick and remove the shop rag before closing the hood.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.

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