Your car needs engine oil, among other things. Motor oil is necessary for the car’s engine to run smoothly. But the question in your mind right now is: How much oil does my car need?
The amount of oil a car needs depends on its engine. A typical car engine needs about five to six quarts of oil. Small four-cylinder engines, however, need only around four quarts of oil. Bigger cars with bigger engines require eight to nine quarts of oil.
Read on to learn more about how much oil your car needs and the importance of adding the right amount of oil.
How Much Oil Does My Car Need?
You don’t have to put the exact amount of oil in your car engine. But the oil should be enough for your car’s needs. Knowing the oil capacity of your car’s engine is not as easy as determining the type of oil your vehicle can take.
For the latter, you only need to check the oil filler cap of your car. But to know the oil capacity of your car’s engine, you need to spend more time and effort. Here in this article, you’ll learn the different ways to do it.
You use the following methods to determine your car’s oil capacity:
1. Read the Manual
If you still have your car’s manual, you can refer to it to determine the type of oil your car needs and how much oil it needs. If your vehicle is relatively new, it’s probably easy for you to locate its manual.
But if you have an old car, its manual may not be available anymore. Not everyone keeps their vehicle manuals. If you can’t find the manual, there is no reason for you to fret. There are other ways to find out the oil capacity of your car’s engine.
2. Visit the Car Manufacturer’s Website
If you have thrown out or misplaced your car manual, you can visit the car manufacturer’s website. Most car companies post details about their cars on their websites. Of course, you need to know the basic details about your vehicle to find more information about it.
3. Check Out Other Car Oil Resources Online
You can also check out other car oil resources online. There are many places on the web where you can find information about different car models. You can use these car sites to find information about your car’s oil capacity.
If you’re driving a popular car model, it shouldn’t be challenging to find information about it.
To use these sites, you need to know the model of your car. It also pays to know the car’s trim, model year, and engine code. After providing the required information, all you need to do is click the search button to find the answer you’re looking for.
4. Call a Mechanic
One of the things you can do if you can’t find your car’s manual is to call a professional car mechanic. You don’t even have to visit your local automotive shop physically.
You can give them a call and tell them about your problem. But before you make the call, you need to know the year, make, and model of your car, as well as its engine size.
The person at the other end of the line will likely ask you this information. You should also know your vehicle identification number or VIN. It will be easy for them to find the information you need.
5. Use an Online Tool
You can use an online tool to check your engine’s oil capacity.
An excellent example of such a tool is the Advance Auto Parts website through its Add a Vehicle tool. Using this tool is very easy. It only takes two steps.
Below are the steps that you need to take to use this tool:
- Go to the Advance Auto Parts website and click the Add a Vehicle Tool. You’ll see a drop-down menu that you can use to enter information about your car.
- Search your vehicle by year, make, model, or VIN. If you decide to use the former, you should also know the type of engine your car has if multiple options appear.
You need to search for motor oil and check the details in the search results. You should be able to see the fitment details, including oil type, viscosity, and of course, the capacity of most vehicles.
You need to know that the amount of oil you’ll see refers to the amount needed with a filter change. Your car’s engine will need less oil if you do not replace the filter.
Is It Better to Have Too Much or Too Little Oil in Your Car?
You must know how much engine oil a car needs because you need to put the right amount of oil in your car. Having too little or too much oil can have dire consequences. You’ll find the effects of not having the right amount of oil below.
Again, the amount of oil your car needs depends on your car. Most cars require about five to six quarts of oil. Smaller four-cylinder cars need only around four quarts of oil. Bigger cars with bigger engines require eight to nine quarts of oil.
Dangers of Driving with Low Oil Level
The effects of having a very low oil level are not good. The purpose of oil is to lubricate the different parts of the engine. Engine oil can also reduce friction between these parts.
Oil has another essential function: to keep the engine cool. This means that if the oil level is too low, then your engine could overheat. The right amount of oil is needed for the optimum performance of your engine.
But how low is too low? You’re still good if your engine’s oil level is just a quart below the recommended level. However, note that the engine’s most crucial time is during startup.
The oil must make its way to the components located in the upper portion of the engine within two seconds after starting your car. These include the cam, bearings, valves, lifters, and timing chain. If the car has a low oil level, it won’t make it up to these parts on time.
Again, how much oil does my car need? If your car has a big engine, it needs around five to six quarts of oil, while small four-cylinder engines need four quarts of oil.
What Happens If You Put Too Much Oil in the Engine?
Having a very high oil level is also not a good idea. If you have too much oil, the oil pump and crankshaft will aerate it and turn it into foam.
When a car cruises at highway speed, the crankshaft and other engine parts turn around 20 times per second.
This is enough for the oil to become agitated and turn bubbly. Frothy oil will not effectively lubricate the bearings and the cylinder walls. It could eventually damage your engine.
If you still are unsure about how much oil your car needs, you need to make sure that the mark on the dipstick is between “add 1 quart” and “full” levels.
What Determines How Much Oil an Engine Needs?
1. Engine Size
How much oil a car needs depends on engine size. There is a connection between the size of the car engine and the amount of motor oil needed. The bigger the engine, the more oil it requires.
This is because big engines also have big parts that require adequate lubrication. This is basic knowledge and should serve as a guide if you’re going for an oil change.
Engine Size and the Oil Requirement
Here’s a general guide on how much oil a car can take based on engine size:
- 4-cylinder engine – 5 quarts of oil
- 6-cylinder engine – 6 quarts of oil
- 8-cylinder engine – 8 quarts of oil
There are V8 motors, however, that are compact. This is because of modern manufacturing technologies being employed. So the amount of oil your car needs would also depend on the car’s manufacturer.
For compact V8 engines, you may only need 5 quarts of engine oil. But again, you must know the exact amount of oil required by your car. So you can either check your car’s manual or the manufacturer’s website.
2. Oil Filter Change
A newly changed oil filter affects the amount of oil your car needs.
For example, if you have a V6 engine, you typically need around three ⅞ quarts of motor oil. But if you change the oil filter, you’ll need about four ¼ quarts.
The difference is due to the 3/8 quarts of oil in the oil filter. Note that you must change the oil filter. If you don’t, you risk contaminating the new oil you’ll put in your engine.
Why Is It Important to Get an Oil Change
Adding motor oil to car engines is essential. As mentioned earlier, it can keep your engine from overheating. Some modern engines come with additional cooling features. But the role of engine oil is still crucial. This is why it’s essential to know the amount of oil your car can take.
Engine oil plays another essential function apart from lubricating the different parts of the engine and keeping them cool. Motor oil also has cleaning properties.
Over time, dirt can accumulate on the critical elements of the engine. Motor oil can help remove dirt and other contaminants from your engine. Keeping the engine clean is essential because dirt can affect its performance.
Why Is It Important to Check Your Car’s Oil Regularly
Besides knowing how much oil your car can take, it’s also your responsibility to regularly check your car’s oil level, at least once every two weeks.
You should also check your car’s oil level before going on a long drive. Unfortunately, only a few motorists regularly check their car’s oil level.
It’s important if you want to avoid having problems with your vehicle. You need to ensure that your car always has the correct oil.
Again, you can check your car’s manual to learn about the oil you should use. It’s not only essential to use the right amount of oil, but the correct type of oil as well. You should also avoid using oil that is old or has poor quality.
Tips for a Successful Oil Change
Experts recommend that you change your oil filter every time you change the oil. Changing the filter is an easy task that you can do on your own.
Another important task you must do is check the oil level after adding the oil. To do this, you must run the engine for at least 30 seconds. Before turning on the engine, don’t forget to secure the oil filler cap.
Turn off the car engine after about 30 seconds, and then check the oil level with a dipstick.
Ensure that the dipstick is clean, and then insert it fully. Pull out the dipstick and confirm that the oil level is at the “full” mark. If you see that the level is low, then add more oil. One mark on the dipstick corresponds to one quart.
Conclusion: How Much Oil Does My Car Need?
A typical car engine needs approximately five to six quarts of oil. Small four-cylinder engines will need only around four quarts of oil. Cars and trucks with bigger engines require eight or nine quarts of oil. So the amount of oil your car needs depends on your car’s engine.
Using the right amount of oil on your car is important to keep the engine in tip-top shape. You must check the oil level in your car regularly to see if it has the right amount of oil.