Have you ever checked the oil level in your engine and noticed that it is low? In that case, consider adding an extra quart of oil to the engine. Here’s how to top off your engine oil if you’re having trouble figuring it out.

How to top off engine oil?

You should figure out how much oil is already in your engine and how much more is required. Use a clean dipstick to check the oil level and calculate how many quarts are needed to fill the tank.

How do you know how much oil to top off?

With a cloth, clean the dipstick. Insert the dipstick down to check the oil level. 

The oil level should be between the MIN and MAX markings.

The gauge readings are almost marked on all packaging of oil bottles, making it easier to add the oil precisely. Between MIN and MAX, the dipstick’s gauge reads 1 liter. One quart of oil will raise the oil level to MAX if it is close to MIN or MIN on the dipstick. You should look for other possible factors if the oil gets dirty quickly.

Steps to top off engine oil

  1. Give the car a few minutes to rest, say 5 to 10 minutes, before adding engine oil. Pull the oil filler cap off.
  2. Use a long-necked funnel to add some oil; this will prevent spills.
  3. Allow the oil in the pan to sit for 15 to 20 minutes. With a clean dipstick, check the oil level.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3.
  5. Top off the engine oil until the MAX markings appear on the dipstick.

Things to keep in mind before adding extra oil

1. Topping up engine oil of the same type

The viscosity of the engine oil used for top-off is the same. Improper lubrication of the engine can result from mixing engine oils with different viscosities. Combining synthetic oil with regular conventional oil will also reduce its effectiveness. The advantages of synthetic oil will be diminished by conventional oil.

2. Topping up engine oil with different brand

It is advised that you top off with oil from the same manufacturer. This is because engine oil from various brands contains various additives. These additives may interact improperly and lead to engine issues. If the specifications match your car manual and have OEM(Original Equipment Manufacturer) approval, you can top off the engine oil of other brands.

3. Topping up engine oil when hot 

Give the car about 5 to 10 minutes to rest after long drives. This is because returning hot oil to the sump takes time. This will assist you in getting an accurate measurement and reduce the possibility of skin burns from hot oil. We’ve explained adding engine oil when hot in detail on our website. Check that if you want to know more.

4. Topping up engine oil when cold

If you live somewhere with cold weather, it’s important to check the oil when the engine is neither too hot nor too cold. Turn on the engine and let it warm up for 10 minutes. This occurs because the oil becomes too thick and takes too long to fill the oil pan properly. The engine oil gets thin when heated; hence the readings will be more accurate.

5. Put oil in the car on or off

While adding oil to the engine, make sure the engine is turned off. When the engine is turned on, the vibrations can cause oil to spill over the engine. Contact with hot engine parts can also cause skin burns.

FAQs on How to Top Off Engine Oil

There is no harm in driving the car after the oil is changed. However, a  few minutes of idle time will allow the oil to settle in the engine. If you have drained the old oil and replaced it with new oil, allow it to circulate for 5-10 minutes.

The oil pressure warning light turning on indicates the engine's oil level is low. Less oil results in less lubrication, which leads to overheating and clunking noise. Reduced engine performance is another thing you can see.


Finally, topping off the extra oil is completely safe if done correctly. Before topping the oil, it is essential to consider the viscosity and type of the oil. Before adding the additional oil, the oil must have some time to sit in the sump. By doing this, you’ll be able to accurately measure the engine oil that needs to be topped off and prevent overfilling the tank.

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