Check car oil

23rd May 2012

75% of British drivers don’t know how to check their car oil

An amazing three out of four UK motorists don’t know how to check their car’s oil, research by Mobil 1 has revealed. The study also found that almost half of drivers are unsure why oil is even used in their vehicle’s engines!

Engine oil plays an important role in keeping your vehicle running smoothly by lubricating the moving parts parts of the engine. It’s also important for cleaning, preventing corrosion, improving sealing, and cooling the engine by carrying heat away from the moving parts. Using the correct oil can prolong the life of your car’s engine, as well as potentially improving fuel economy. Oil levels should be checked regularly, especially before long journeys.

If you’re one of the three-quarters of Brits who don’t know how to check their car’s oil, we’ve put together a quick guide to show you how;

  • Park the car on a level surface.
  • To get the most accurate reading you should check your oil when the engine is cold.
  • Open the bonnet (check your Driver’s Manual if you are unsure how to do this).
  • Locate the oil dipstick – this is usually brightly coloured with a looped ‘ring’ handle however the exact location can vary by car – if you are unsure check the Driver’s Manual.
  • Hook a finger through the loop and pull the dipstick all the way out.
  • Use a paper towel or rag to wipe the dipstick clear – this will make sure you get a clear reading.
  • Note that the dipstick has markings on it towards the bottom. These indicate the minimum and maximum oil levels.
  • Insert the dipstick back into its opening, making sure it is pushed all the way back in.
  • Pull the dipstick out again, and check the location of the highest point the oil has marked on the dipstick. The level should be between the upper and lower markings.
  • If the oil level is below the lower marking on the dipstick you will need to top up the engine oil levels as soon as possible. Your manual will tell you what grade of oil you need for your car.
  • To add oil open the oil cap, which should be located near the middle of the engine (it should have a picture of an oil can on it and may even say OIL). If you are unsure where the oil cap is check your Driver’s Manual.
  • With the oil cap removed carefully pour the oil into the engine. It is important not to overfill the engine with oil, so only add a little at a time, allow 30-60 seconds for it to run through and check the level. When you have added enough oil replace the oil cap and close the bonnet.