A Thousand Dollar Habit: Or, Should I Check My OIl?

How often should you check the oil in your car? 

Would you consider checking it every time you filled your vehicle with gas?

On one hand, checking the oil every time you fill up might seem excessive. On the other hand, doing so may very well save you thousands of dollars. 

Checking the oil costs nothing, and it takes just a few seconds. Given the potential savings, why not make it a routine?

Click here for a Haglin Automotive Tutorial on checking the oil.

Forget for a moment the obvious “blown engine.” Plenty of damage happens long before a catastrophic engine failure - and that fact may be the most compelling reason to check your oil regularly. 

Bonus! There is a less obvious, but nonetheless compelling reason to check your oil regularly. More about that in a minute. 

A brand new car may use a surprising amount of oil, and every engine will burn some. One quart of oil per thousand miles sounds excessive, but it may be “normal” for an individual engine.  

Engines will naturally use more oil as they accumulate miles - yet another reason to check the oil in your car regularly. 

An engine that has developed a leak may lose a surprising amount of oil without obvious drips, and you can’t trust a small leak will stay small.  

Running low on oil is a danger to your engine and, therefore, your bank account. 

The engine oil dipstick in your car - or dashboard readout in some luxury vehicles - will indicate when the engine needs oil. The “safe” range for most vehicles is one quart, so when the oil level hits the “add” mark, add a full quart of oil.  

The filler cap on most vehicles will specify the right type of oil. If not, it’s listed in the owner’s manual. The numbers indicate viscosity, and the letters indicate refinery standards and whether the oil is for a gasoline or diesel engine. 

We stock at least six different types of motor oils with different viscosities and grades, both semi-synthetic and full synthetic.  

Using the correct oil is critically important to the proper operation of your engine, but in an emergency any good quality oil is better than not enough oil. If you do add a different type of oil, get your car serviced as soon as possible. 

So what is the bonus reason to check your oil regularly? You’ll have the chance to see everything else under the hood. You might notice something different or out of place. Recent real-life examples include a dead squirrel and a badly corroded battery. If something doesn’t look right, take it to a trusted shop as soon as possible.  

Is checking your oil a thousand dollar habit?  If anything, it’s worth more than that.

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