OIL LEVEL CHECK
Every time the vehicle is refueled, the engine oil should be checked, making sure the engine has fully warmed and the vehicle is parked on a level surface. Because it takes some time for the oil to drain back to the oil pan, wait a few minutes before checking the oil. When doing this at a fuel stop, first fill the fuel tank, then open the hood and check the oil, but don't get so carried away as to forget to pay for the fuel!
- Make sure the car is parked on level ground.
- When checking the oil level, it is best for the engine to be at normal operating temperature, however the engine should be stopped for about 5 minutes before checking. Checking the oil immediately after stopping the engine will lead to a false reading. Waiting a few minutes after turning off the engine allows the oil in the upper engine and cylinder head to drain back into the crankcase.
- Open the hood and locate the dipstick, which will be in a guide tube located in the front of the engine compartment. Pull the dipstick from its tube, wipe it clean (using a clean, lint-free rag), look at the level marks, and then reinsert it.
- Pull the dipstick out again and, holding it horizontally, read the oil level. The oil should be between the upper and lower dots on the dipstick. If the oil is below the lower dot, add oil of the proper viscosity through the screwed-in capped opening in the top of the valve cover. See the oil and fuel recommendations for the proper viscosity and rating of oil to use.
- Insert the dipstick and check the oil level again after adding any oil. Approximately one quart of oil will raise the level from the lower dot mark to the upper dot mark. Be sure not to overfill the crankcase. Excess oil will generally be consumed at an accelerated rate and may cause problems. Overfilling the engine oil is much like overfilling a blender. Once running the liquid expands and needs somewhere to go and could force its way past a gasket or oil seal creating a leak or cause sluggish engine operation.
- Close the hood.
OIL & FILTER CHANGE
The manufacturer's recommended oil change interval is 7500 miles (12,000 km) or at least once a year under normal operating conditions and every 3,750 miles (6,000 km) or twice a year for vehicles driven in severe operating conditions. Because frequent oil changes help to prolong the life of an engine, it's a good idea to adopt an oil change interval of at least twice a year or every 3000-3500 miles (4800-5600 km) under normal conditions; and more frequently under severe conditions.
The following is a list of what the manufacturer considers severe use. If the vehicle meets any one of these conditions, the severe maintenance schedule should be followed.