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Oil & Fluids

How Much Oil Does My Car Need?

how much oil does my car need
Last Updated on Aug 16, 2023 By Lillian Kazmierczak

Your vehicle, whether a hatchback or a truck, has a predetermined oil consumption. You must first assess your vehicle’s engine oil capability if you want to change oil yourself.

You do not want to refill it because the oil could pour into components that you wouldn’t like to go.

Do not underfill it too since this could cause the engine to become unlubricated and vulnerable to overheating.

How Much Oil Does My Car Need?

1. Engine Size

Based on engine capacity, most engines need anywhere from five to eight quarts of motor oil. The smaller the motor, the less oil is needed to fill the capacity of your engine.

For a 4-cylinder you will need approximately five quarts of oil, whereas a 6-cylinder engine requires approximately six quarts of oil.

For an 8-cylinder engine, you’ll need from five to eight quarts, although the exact number varies on the engine’s volume.

Occasionally, the quantity can be influenced by specific actions, such as replacing an oil filter, particularly after an oil change.

2. Selecting the Right Type of Motor Oil

Keep a couple of things in your mind when selecting motor oil for your car.

The first thing is the oil’s viscosity, which is defined by a number usually accompanied by the letter W and then with another number.

The first number means the oil’s stream at 0 °F, the W means Winter, and the last two figures after the W indicate the oil’s viscosity calculated at 212 °F. The lower the figure before the letter W, the simpler it is to start your engine in winter conditions.

Also, car owners must decide whether to use conventional or synthetic motor oil in their cars.

Conventional oils perform best when car owners change their engine oil regularly.

Synthetic oils are useful since they include special additives that aid in the removal of contaminants, enabling the oil to flow more easily at lower temperatures and to stand up well at higher temperatures.

Another choice for car owners is to use a high-mileage oil for cars with more than 75,000 miles on the odometer.

Various conditioners are often used in high-mileage oils to greatly improve internal engine connections and enhance their flexibility.

Where to Find Information About How Much Oil Your Engine Takes

The quantity of oil in your motor does not have to be precise to the very last drop but is important for many reasons. While determining the appropriate type of motor oil may be as simple as searching at the oil filler seal, calculating how much motor oil your car needs may require a little more effort.

1. Your User Manual

If you’d like to read more about your car, the user manual will fulfill your curiosity. Car manufacturers include these pamphlets as guidelines for servicing their vehicles.

Since it’s divided into chapters, look for the page Car Specification / Lubricating Process and find out how much oil your vehicle needs.

If you’re having problems comprehending the table of contents go to the index page and search for terms like “engine lubrication process” as well as “motor oil”.

2. Manufacturer Website

It’s not unusual for vehicle owners to have misplaced their owner’s manuals. If you fall under this group, you can look into using the vehicle manufacturer’s website.

You’ll find all types of resources here that will address any questions you might have, primarily after entering the vehicle’s information.

When on the webpage, search for a section devoted to car owners, which is typically at the bottom of the webpage.

3. Online Resource

Even if you’ve misplaced the user manual or the company’s website doesn’t have it, you can look up the details you need on several other websites. You can input your vehicle’s specifications on dedicated web pages.

If you browse by year, manufacturer, and model, remember that you’ll have to specify what is the engine of your car, as there could be several choices.

4. Service Centre

Mechanics operate on a variety of engines, so there could be familiar with your vehicle’s oil needs. They can consult databases containing numerous vehicle parameters to ensure accuracy.

Visit a vehicle service center and get this information from the technicians if you want another outlet to address your concerns about how much motor oil does your vehicle need.

Symptoms That Your Car Engine Needs an Oil Change

Symptoms That Your Car Engine Needs an Oil Change

Many drivers depend primarily on mileage to decide whether they need to change their oil, but there are other aspects to consider. The fluid degrades over time and becomes unable to perform its functions.

When this occurs, your vehicle will most likely show one or more of the alarm signs mentioned below.

1. Dark & Dirty Oil

The color of clean motor oil is amber, and it is partially translucent. It gets filled with contaminants accumulated from the engine when it is used, and it darkens.

When this starts to happen, it may not be apparent, so you need to be careful and check the engine oil every month.

Start by removing the dipstick and then scrub it clean before putting it back in the oil reservoir.

It’s time to replace your oil if you can’t see the dipstick covered by oil.

2. Ticking or Tapping Noises From Engine

Oil serves as a buffer for engine components, stopping metal-to-metal scraping and maintaining the engine running smoothly.

The engine sound will raise if the oil is not performing properly. You can also hear banging or rumbling noises, which means the engine is slowly breaking itself apart due to a shortage of lubrication.

3. Burnt Smell of Oil

When you notice oil inside your vehicle, it’s usually a symptom of an oil spill.

If you also notice gasoline or exhaust emissions, the engine might be overheating.

Many small oil leaks can be left alone as long as your technician keeps an eye on them at every oil replacement and maintenance appointment.

Nevertheless, if you feel burning oil in your vehicle’s interior, the leak is serious and needs to be patched right away.

4. Exhaust Smoke

Your vehicle’s exhaust should be mostly transparent in most situations but it can have a faint scent.

During winter conditions, you can even see visible fog coming from your exhaust pipe. It’s mainly water vapor, and when the engine warms up to working temperature, it will disperse.

If you still see blueish smoke emanating from the exhaust pipe, it is an indicator that something is not right.

5. Car stalling

Numerous fail-safes are installed into many new cars to help preserve the engine under adverse circumstances.

One of these functions is an automated shutoff whenever the oil volume exceeds a certain threshold or the engine oil drops quite low. The engine stalls and dies as a result of this.

Engine stalling, on the other hand, is extremely harmful to the engine, since it can cause serious damage to the head, pistons, and other engine parts.


Replacing the car’s oil is a vital aspect of keeping it running efficiently. The standard car consumes about 4 to 8 quarts of engine oil.

You can find the exact amount going through your user manual or the manufacturer’s site.

Inspect the oil level at least once a month to make sure it’s at the right amount.

Make sure the car is left on a level surface to get a correct reading.

Finding out whether the oil level is too high or too low before something bad happens will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.


1. Why is oil coming out of my oil filler cap?

Ans. If the oil filler seal is damaged, loose, or removed, pressures from the engine may place tension on it, allowing oil to leak out. The valve covering gasket is perhaps the most common source of oil leakage in cars. It’s a leak-proof seal that connects the valve mask to the engine.

2. Why does my engine oil get dirty so fast?

Ans. Your car’s oil filter will accumulate dirt, waste, and sludge over time. All of that sludge will contaminate your engine oil. Long periods between changing the oil, as well as normal engine maintenance, can result in dirty oil.

3. Can a low amount of oil harm the engine?

Ans. Low oil concentrations put a car’s engine at risk of damage and cause it to perform poorly, compromising its safety, performance, and fuel consumption. Oil concentrations in your engine may drop for several causes including leakage.

4. What if I put more oil?

Ans. If there is too much engine oil in the tank, the volume increases too high. That causes the crankshaft, a rapidly lobed rod, to move into touch with the oil and oxygenate it. As a result, a foamy fluid develops that is unable to adequately lubricate your engine.

About the author

Lillian Kazmierczak

As far as I can remember, I would say I have been a car nut for my whole life. My father was a car dealer who used to change and repair his cars himself. This gave me the opportunity to get around all sorts of cars and get my hands dirty repairing vehicles from an early age.

A great fan of Japanese quality and German preciosity, my deep passion lies in older models that I believe have a flair that takes me back to my childhood! I also love their extraordinary durability and reliability when compared to today’s modern models.

When not out taking a ride, I enjoy socializing with fellow motorheads online and consuming any car facts and figures I can get my mind on!

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