Did you know…over filling fluid in a car is just as bad - if not worse - than being low?

My car has an oil leak and burns oil quickly. Since we're replacing the car soon, we're not doing much for it, other than checking the level and adding oil as need be. I was checking the oil weekly, adding a quart every once in a while, and making sure to get changes.

Well, at one point I was checking the oil, and my girls came outside. My husband was away, and they were fascinated by seeing Mom with the hood open and a dipstick in my hand. So, I decided to make it a teachable moment.  I made a big show of checking the oil and reading the dipstick, then noted that my oil was VERY low, and added TWO QUARTS.

Well, if you're good at predicting comedic twists, you'll know that this does not end well. The next morning my check engine light was on, my car was bucking, and I was pretty convinced that this was the end. I dropped the kids at camp and got to a mechanic. As I waited, I googled away and assumed that it was my fuel injector and I'd end up weighing the cost of a repair on a very old car.

Turns out my car was overfull of oil by….two quarts. During my magnificent demonstration, I was so focused on the teachable moment that I pulled the dipstick out, wiped it, and read it without putting it back in. So, I read a completely dry dipstick.

The point of this long story is to make sure that others know that "a little bit too much" can be bad. Had I not gotten the car to a mechanic, who, luckily, thought to check the oil before doing anything else and was able to drain it and do an oil change, I could have caused serious and potentially irreparable damage to my engine.

So, when checking fluids, in EVERY CASE, overfilling is a bad idea and can cause major problems. Before assuming low fluids and adding anything, double check, make sure, and add cautiously!

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