Engine oil

Most Capitola and Monterey area drivers know that engine oil is vital to a vehicle's normal operation. But comparatively few drivers know how to check their vehicle's oil, or for that matter, how often to perform this maintenance task. Not to worry, though; if you're looking for a detailed guide on how to check the oil in your car, we here at the Santa Cruz Subaru service center can help! Check out all our service tips to learn more, or contact us for additional information and answers to your service FAQs.


Here's How to Check the Oil Level in a Car

Some newer Subaru models come equipped with electronic oil monitors that don't require standard dipsticks in the engine bay. Accordingly, if you're trying to learn how to check the oil in your car, we recommend starting by referring to your vehicle's owner's manual and seeing if your vehicle offers electronic oil monitoring. 

If you've managed to find out that your vehicle does not, in fact, provide this convenient offering, then here's what you'll want to do to check the oil level using a dipstick.

  1. Park your vehicle on level ground and shut off the engine. Next, make sure your vehicle has been sitting for enough time for its engine to be completely cool. This is important, as you do not want to injure yourself or others with hot, pressurized oil.
  2. Pop the hood of your vehicle and then locate the oil dipstick. Usually, this is indicated by a pull handle or loop that's bright in color (often yellow or orange), but your owner's manual should provide detailed instructions on where to find it in your Subaru's particular engine.
  3. Pull the dipstick out of the engine and wipe any oil off of it.
  4. Put the dipstick back, pull it out once more, and then observe where the oil level is located.

Pro tip: Oil dipsticks are almost always equipped with level markers that let you know if your vehicle contains an adequate oil amount. If the oil level falls between these two markers (often dots or cross-hatches), then your vehicle should have enough oil. If, however, it's either over-or under-filled, you'll want to schedule a service appointment to get your oil changed ASAP.

A Note on Oil Type and Amount

Not sure what kind of oil your vehicle requires to function properly? You always want to make sure you purchase the oil grade that's recommended in your car's owner's manual and adding the proper amount when you change your oil. Of course, it's always easier to get your oil changed at a certified Subaru service center like ours, where expert technicians follow Subaru guidelines exactly to ensure that your vehicle is well taken care of. 

The Importance of Checking Your Car's Oil Level Often

Some Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz-area drivers overlook the importance of checking their vehicle's engine oil. They think, "if I bring my vehicle into a Subaru service center, why should I check my oil level at all?". The truth is, oil leaks can develop in a vehicle at any time. 

Since oil is such an important component of your vehicle, it's wise to check your oil level at least twice a year to ensure that your vehicle has the right amount of oil to function smoothly. Remember, if you notice smoke billowing out of your engine bay on the road in Aptos or Watsonville, or you notice a burning smell while driving in Santa Cruz, you should pull over to a safe spot and schedule service as soon as you can.

How to Reset Your Oil Change Light

Once your oil has been changed, if you know that the oil level is correct and you just want to reset your oil change light for convenience's sake, the process should be relatively straightforward. 

Note: You don't want to reset the oil change light until the oil has actually been changed, though, because doing so could cause you to mistakenly delay getting an oil change too long, which could potentially damage your engine.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Reset Your Oil Change Light

  1. Turn off all vehicle systems inside your car, but keep the engine on.
  2. Find the oil "reset" button or stick it on the dashboard of your vehicle. This is most often found near your speedometer and fuel gauge.
  3. Hold the button down. When you see the light flash, it means that it should've reset. 
  4. Turn the ignition off, wait a couple of seconds, and then turn your car back on.

For most new Subaru vehicles, if you've followed the above steps properly, you should've been able to reset your oil light successfully! Congratulations.

Keep Your Car in Prime Condition with Santa Cruz Subaru

The dedicated and knowledgeable Subaru-certified service & maintenance technicians here at Santa Cruz Subaru are the best people to consult whenever you have a question that pertains to maintaining or repairing your vehicle near Capitola. Have additional concerns about changing your oil or servicing your vehicle? Contact us now, or visit our service center for yourself when safe and convenient for additional service tips and tricks.