How To Check And Top Up Your Engine Oil

Maintenance is the key to keeping your car in a good condition. Thatincludes washing it inside out regularly to keep it clean, to taking it tothe centre for its scheduled service maintenance.

There are, however, a few things that you can do by yourself to monitoryour car’s condition, and one important point is to make sure your car’sengine oil level is as it should be.

To do this, you will first need a few things like gloves and washing upliquid as dirty oil doesn’t come off easily. Get some cheap latex glovesand a strong hand cleaner or de-greaser ready for cleaning up later. Youwill also need a clean paper towel to wipe clean the dipstick, somerecommended engine oil to top up if your oil level is low and a funnel to
make sure it doesn’t spill onto the engine.

Follow these few steps on how to check and top up your oil:

  1. Park you car on a flat ground – If it is on a slope, the readingswill not be reliable. Move it to a suitable location and wait for about10 minutes to let the engine oil sink back to its reservoir.
  2. Opening the bonnet – There should be a lever that you can pull on ateither at the driver’s or front passenger’s footwell (it varies amongdifferent manufacturers). There’s also another latch to disengage underthe leading edge of the bonnet before you can fully open the enginebay.
  3. Locate the dipstick -It will be easy to spot it as manufacturersusually have it brightly coloured on either a round or t-shaped handle atthe end of a slim pipe that runs down towards the bottom of the
    engine.
  4. Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean – Pull the dipstick out of itspipe and wipe it clean. Don’t bother to look at the level now as you willnot get an accurate reading. Make sure the dipstick is clean beforere-inserting back into its slim pipe.
  5. Remove the dipstick again and check the oil level – Pull the dipstickout again to look at the oil level. There will either be notches cut atthe sides, bends in the dipstick, or marks engraved on it, to show theminimum and maximum level. The oil level should be somewhere between thetwo. If it is, re-insert the dipstick and close the bonnet.

If your oil level is anywhere below the halfway mark, at the minimum,below the minimum or, worse, has no oil at all, we would recommend thatyou top up immediately. To top up, follow these few simple steps:

  1. Locate the oil filler cap – The oil filler cap should be on top ofthe engine block itself with the word “OIL” or a pictogram of an oil canon the cap. Make sure you get the right cap as pouring oil into anotherfiller spout could have disastrous consequences.
  2. Pour in the oil – Use a funnel and make sure you pour in small doses.Check the level on the dipstick each time by following the procedurenot pour oil in right up to the level of the filler cap as this will befar more than your engine needs and could cause catastrophic damage whenyou start your engine.

As a guideline, the gap between maximum and minimum usually representabout a litre. While you probably might want to fill it up to the maximum,the optimum level should be halfway in between.

Checking your engine oil level can also give you a rough idea of yourthere might an oil leak. Take it to a garage to ask for advice.

The condition of the oil seen on your dipstick while checking could alsogive hints about your car’s health. The colour of the engine oil shouldrange from an inky black right up to a light golden colour. If there anyother colours of fluid in the oil or if you can see little creamy-coloureddeposits, there may be a bigger problem with your engine. Again, seekadvise from a garage as soon as you can.

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