How to check if driveway is level?

Parking lot at work looks sloped but when I put a 36 inch level on it, the level bubble is center at certain sections (large enough space for car) at other spots the bubble is off. When I search on how to tell if a driveway is level, everything shows to use strings and whatnot, nothing about using a plain ol level. I will be working on a car and want to know how much the spot is sloped.

You are really over thinking this . Are you planning to have the vehicle on four jack stands ? And just what is this repair?


Don’t worry about it. Put the car on the spot closest to being level. Put chocks under the wheels so they don’t roll away, set the parking brake, use jackstands. Don’t over-think this. It does’t have to be perfectly level… unless of course you are corner weighting the car.

If you are doing that, get a couple of yardsticks and about 25 feet of clear tubing and food dye. Attach each end of the clear hose to a yardstick. Fill the tube with colored water by you and a friend holding the yardsticks upright. Have your friend place his stick at one corner and read the level of the fluid. Place yours at each of the other 4 spots, read the fluid level at all 3 spots… if they are the same as the 4th, you are good. If not, use shims of plywood.

Or use a 12 foot level.


Thanks for the quick answers. Just the front for oil and trans change. So if the stick level is showing level then it is good to go?

I am concerned how you plan to raise the front of vehicle . It sounds like you have never done this and ramps would be the thing to use . If you are planning to use the jack from the vehicle that is not safe without jack stands as a back up support.

Yeah if you don’t have the electronic survey equipment, a water level is accurate, but no drive is level. They are graded to shed water. 1/4" per foot is pretty standard or they can be crowned to shed it to the sides. Even most garage floors a sloped slightly to the outside to provide drainage. Agree though normally not a big deal.

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Tennis ball, basketball, golf ball. Drop one and see where it goes.


For checking oil and transmission levels, that is close enough.

You’ll probably never find a spot that is perfectly level.

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The exact oil level is not that critical. As long as the oil pump’s pickup is under oil, the oil pump will pump oil to all the engine/transmission parts that need oil. If the sky fell because the oil level was a half inch too high or low, our highways would be littered with broken cars.

yep. water level. pour a bucket of water on ground. does it stay in one spot?

Use a length of clear tubing.

To answer the OP’s direct question, how about pour a bucket of water and see which way it flows? (If you want the simplest method)

Or, get a clear tuning (as someone else mentioned) and go around to see if water level is high or low compared to…say, the center.

Else, get the straightest and longest aluminum rectangular tubing (ideally, covering the entire driveway and keep your level on it.

Ohh…all these were suggested before…

There’s flat, then there’s level. It’s not clear which of those (or both) you want. For finding the best approximation to a flat and level surface, including a cypher-measurement of how “un-level” it is, lasers, strings, carpenter’s squares, rulers, and a bubble level seems like those would be the easiest method.

Unless the OP meant to post “check oil level” instead of change, the whole post is moot. The car will either be on ramps or jack stands to do the oil and transmission fluid changes.

If checking the oil, and really OCD about it, check with vehicle in one direction, then reverse the position, wait appropriate amount of time and check again.