How to tell if the dealership change your oil

Every car has an oil filter, which is made up of a series of tiny oil-moving parts. The job of an oil filter is to catch falling oil and carry it away, as well as to deliver oil to the car’s various internal parts. If your oil filter doesn’t do its job well, you may end up getting bad oil pressure, which can cause your car to run poorly and overheat. Or in case your car’s previous oil filter was visibly contaminated, the dealer likely changed your oil.

Dealership service catalogs often list the oil changes that are included in their service fees, so make sure you’re getting a full oil change when you go. Here’s how to tell if your dealer changed your oil. Keep reading to find out more.

Checking the dipstick: what to look for

If your car is due for an oil change, the dealership may have just done it. How can you tell if they did it right? When you check the dipstick, look for these things:

  1. Pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean with a cloth or paper towel.
  2. Reinsert the dipstick, making sure to push it in.
  3. Pull it out again and check the oil level. The oil should be between two notches on the dipstick
  4. If you’re not sure where the notches are, look at your owner’s manual to see what they should be at for “full.”
  5. If needed, add more oil by pouring it into the opening at the top of the dipstick until it reaches the “full” line. Be careful not to overfill!
  6. Screw the cap back on and replace the dipstick.

Engine oil: color and consistency

The color and consistency of engine oil can be used to determine if the dealership has recently changed your oil. If the oil is darker than usual, likely, it hasn’t been changed recently. If the oil is light and clear, it has likely been changed recently.

Another way to tell is by checking the level of the oil. If there’s less than half a quart of oil in the car, it’s likely that it was just topped off and not changed.

Oil filter: location and condition

An important part of getting your car serviced is making sure the oil filter is in good condition. The oil filter removes contaminants from the oil as it circulates through the engine. If the filter is clogged, it can’t do its job properly and can cause engine damage.

The location of the oil filter varies depending on the make and model of your car. In most cars, it’s located in a vertical position at the front of the engine. It may be attached to or near the oil pan or dipstick. Some cars have an oil filter mounted on top of the engine, while others have them mounted on the side.

You can tell if the dealership has changed your oil by looking at the condition of the oil filter. If it’s dirty or clogged, they probably didn’t change it.


It is important to be aware of the signs that your dealership may have changed your oil. If you notice any of the signs mentioned in this article, it is best to bring them to the attention of the dealership. By doing so, you can help ensure that your car is properly taken care of.

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Roger Walker

Roger Walker

Roger is a long-time homeowner with an enthusiasm for DIY, gardening, and design. He has over eight years of experience as a lifestyle editor and has worked with some of the top brands in the industry. Roger's goal is to help people make their homes comfort, functional, and beautiful- all while saving money.

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