How to Put Oil in a Car

by Tammatha R. Conerly
Photos by Tammatha R. Conerly

If you don’t have the right amount of oil in your vehicle, you can ruin your engine, which can cost you thousands. Putting oil in is easy and can save you a lot of money, especially if you have an older vehicle that has developed leaks.

Step 1

Engine oil cap and dipstick

Remove the dipstick to determine if you need to add oil. The dipstick is located near the engine, and will be marked "engine oil." Pull the dipstick out, wipe it with a paper towel or clean cloth, replace it and pull it back out again. See where the oil is on the dipstick. The dipstick will be marked "low/add" and "full," indicating the need to add oil. If the oil is below the full line, you need to add oil. If there is no oil on the dipstick, seek help from a licensed mechanic.

Step 2

Funnel ready to add oil

Remove the oil cap located on the engine and place a clean funnel in it.

Step 3

Adding oil

Poor oil in. If oil was on the "add" mark, you need approximately 2 qts. of oil. If it is in between the "add" and "full" marks, add 1/2 qt. at a time and recheck the level to prevent overfilling.

Oil light

Crank the engine until the oil light goes off (or the oil pressure rises on the oil gauge, if your vehicle is equipped with one), then turn the engine off. Recheck the oil by pulling the dipstick, wiping it and then reading it to ensure it is at the proper level.


  • Check your owner’s manual for suggestions on the weight of oil needed for your vehicle.
  • The weight of the oil needed will depend on how many miles are on the vehicle, the age of the vehicle, the part of the country you live in, the altitude and the time of year.


  • Do not overfill.
  • Do not skip the regular oil changes recommended in your owner’s manual.

Items you will need

  • Oil in appropriate weight
  • Funnel
  • Vehicle
  • Paper towel

More Articles