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Don’t Let the Dipstick Go Dry
Let’s get down to the very basics. Your engine has many moving metal parts. Friction occurs when moving parts come into contact with each other. Friction creates heat. Combustion also produces heat, and combustion inside your car’s cylinders creates power to drive your car. The faster you drive, the faster the metal parts move because the cylinders go through the combustion cycle more often. A lot of heat from friction and combustion means metal parts get really, really hot. Motor oil is used in your engine to cool metal parts and reduce friction. So your car needs oil. Without oil, your engine will seize up and become a useless block of metal. If that happens, your engine is toast and needs to be replaced.
It summarizes the cause-and-effect function of a car engine (slightly over-simplified). Moral of the story: Your car needs oil. Think of your oil dipstick as the “oil meter” for your car’s engine. It is marked with a “complete” line and it is “add” line. To check your engine oil, pull the dipstick and wipe it off and put it back in. Then pull it out again and see where the oil level reads. If it’s between “add” and “full” lines, you’re probably good. However, if the dipstick remains dry the second time you pull out, you have a problem.
What to do if the dipstick is dry
Assuming your engine hasn’t seized yet, You should add some oil before starting the car again. You want to see it on the dipstick. If you don’t see an engine oil warning light on your dashboard, you’ll be lucky and have two to two and a half quarts left in the engine. Be sure to add the correct type of oil for your vehicle, which you can find in your car’s owner’s manual or engine oil guide. A complete oil change is required at this point. Either have a mechanic do it or do it yourself. Synthetic oil is better for your engine than conventional oil because it provides more protection, lasts longer and retains its characteristics at higher temperatures. If your dipstick is dry, your car has an emergency. To deal with emergencies, synthetic oils are the way to go.
Get your car to the car hospital
Once you add the right oil to your engine, Assuming your car will start, take it to a mechanic to survey the damage. Ask them to change the oil (if you haven’t done it yourself) and let them know the situation. They will need to look at the oil draining from your engine to check for metal particles and signs of sludge. If you’re lucky, you may have corrected the problem before major damage was done. If you’re unlucky, the repair bill will add up to the cost of a new engine and potentially much more for repairs.
Learn the lesson before you experience it
Changing your car’s oil and checking the level once a month (or such) is prudent preventive maintenance. It may be inconvenient, but it’s cheap insurance against a large, unnecessary repair bill. So, use your “oil meter” (dipstick) and keep your engine running smoothly using the best synthetic oil suitable for your vehicle.
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