For Hot Rod Home School, we enlisted fans of the Summit Racing Facebook page to create a home school curriculum for the next generation of gearheads. This would consist of the very first jobs a garage newbie should learn while we have extra time to spend in the garage.

engine oil on dipstick with rag to check oil level

The most common how-to suggestion for beginners, was learning how to check fluids with an emphasis on motor oil. (Cleaning and maintaining tools was 1A on the list.) We’re fortunate enough to be friends and partners with Eric the Car Guy, who runs a popular YouTube channel with great maintenance and repair content (and other excellent stuff, too). He’s put together some good videos on the processes.

Now…we wouldn’t dream of telling you how to do these jobs because we’re sure most of you could do them with your eyes closed. However, you might find some good tips within the videos. And, if your child is the type that would more likely watch a YouTube video than listen to his parents (not that we’d know–a-hem), you can simply share this post!

We’ll start with checking the fluids.

Here are a few tips before getting started:

  • Park on level ground.
  • Don’t overfill – too much of a fluid may be as harmful as too little.
  • Only use fluids that meet automakers’ specifications. See your owner’s manual.
  • Clean around dipsticks and reservoir caps before removing them to keep out contaminants.
  • If a fluid needs frequent top-ups, this could be a sign of maintenance issue elsewhere.

How To Check Automotive Fluids

How to Change Motor Oil

We’re fans of this particular video about changing motor oil, because it covers the topic in a real-world fashion. That is, it assumes you don’t have a vehicle lift in your garage and goes about the process with an old school jack and jack stands.

That being said, check out this video on using jacks and jack stands as a primer. You’ll also want to review this post and video on choosing the right motor oil.

Fluids and Tools Needed

Drain Pans
Oil Filter Wrenches
Jack Stands
Engine Oil
Transmission Fluid
Power Steering Fluid
Brake Fluid

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Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.