It is essential to check your engine oil level often, otherwise you could cause damage to your engine if there is not enough or too much oil inside the engine. Here are some handy tips on checking your engine oil level.*
- Switch off the engine
If the engine is running, turn the engine off and wait at least five minutes before you begin. Ideally, it’s best to check your engine oil levels before you make your journey, when the engine is cold.
- Find the dipstick and pull it out
Open your cars bonnet (or wherever the engine is located) and search for the dipstick. Check your cars handbook if you can’t find it. It’s usually a coloured piece of plastic with a hook for you to pull out and easily recognisable. Once found, you can slowly pull it out of the tube.
- Wipe and clean the dipstick
Find a cloth and wipe the excess oil from the end of dipstick. You should be able to see at the end of the dipstick an ‘oil level mark’.
- Check oil level
Slowly push the dipstick back fully into its tube and then after a few seconds pull it back out again. This time you should see the correct oil level for the engine. It is usually recommended – depending on the manufacturers guidelines – that the oil level should normally be somewhere in-between the upper and lower oil level marks. If it is below the lower mark (the mark closest to the bottom end of the dipstick), it’s an indication that the oil level is low and should be topped-up. If the oil level is above the upper mark (the mark closest to the handle of the dipstick), you may have too much oil in your engine. You should seek further advice from a garage if this is the case as oil may need to be removed, which can be tricky to remove if you are not familiar with the process.
- Top up oil if required
If you require more oil in your engine because the level is low, place the dipstick back into the holder first. Make sure you buy some appropriate engine oil for your type of car (see manufacturers guidelines). When you are ready, locate the oil filler cap usually on top of the engine, sometimes with an oil can symbol on it. Check your car handbook if you can’t easily find it or are unsure. Carefully un-screw the cap and place it somewhere safe, making sure not to get anything but oil inside the engine oil hole you have just uncovered. If you have a funnel, place it over the hole and then slowly pour a little engine oil into the engine, taking care not to spill it. Allow the oil to settle into the engine and then check the level again after say 5 minutes using your dipstick. Once you have enough oil so that the level is now in-between the bottom and top notches on the dipstick you can safely replace the engine oil filler cap, dipstick and close the bonnet before starting the engine and making your journey.
*Please note these instructions vary from vehicle to vehicle, so always be sure to check your manufacturers manual for precise instructions to avoid warranty issues or damage to the engine. We cannot be held responsible for any damage caused and these tips are only given as general advice.