It is advisable that the engine oil level of your car should be check at least once a week. If you have traveled a long distance (300 miles and more), the engine oil should be checked on completion of the trip.
It is actually a very easy thing to do, but many people are reluctant to do it – the reason is unknown, it can be due to ignorance or even just laziness. But, if you have time to start your car, then you have the time to check the level of the engine oil.
What you will need
- Just ten minutes of your time – but these ten minutes will save you lots of money on engine repairs
- A clean cloth
- A funnel
- A can of engine oil of the correct type and grade for your engine – the car manufacturer’s handbook will assist in this regard
How to check the oil level
Park the car on level ground and allow the engine to cool off for at least 5 minutes. Find the oil level dipstick – if uncertain check your car manufacturer’s manual. Pull the dipstick completely out of its tube. Wipe the oil off the dipstick using the clean cloth.
Push the dipstick slowly all the way back into its tube, then pull out again and check the oil level against the oil level markings on the bottom end of the dipstick. The oil level should be at least in the middle between the upper and lower marks. If the level is nearer to the lower mark, the oil needs to be topped up.
To top up, find the oil filler cap on top of the engine – make sure the cap reads ‘oil’ as there may also be filler caps for other systems – if uncertain, check your car manufacturer’s manual. Remove the oil filler cap and pour just a little fresh oil with the funnel to avoid spills.
Wait for a few seconds for the fresh oil to drain down to the bottom of the engine, and then recheck the oil level on the dipstick by repeating steps 1 and 2. If the level is not yet at least in the middle between the two levels, repeat the topping up step in 3 until the level reaches it. Do not overfill the engine with oil as this can cause leaks and even possible engine damage.
When you are finished and satisfied that the oil level is correct, refit the oil cap tightly, wipe away any spills and make sure that the dipstick is pushed all the way into its tube.
If you need to top up the engine oil, it is important to make sure that you use the correct recommended oil. Using the wrong type is likely to cause problems, and in the worst case engine damage.