How to check the oil - pop the bonnet to access the engine of your car

How Do I Check the Oil in My Car?

Why Check the Oil Level in your Car’s Engine

It is crucial to regularly check the oil in your car’s engine because oil is the lifeblood of your engine. It lubricates hundreds of moving parts within the engine. Without oil you would have metal rubbing against metal. This causes excessive heat in the engine and could mean your engine seizes up.

Simply put, checking the oil regularly is a simple task and could save you thousands of pounds.

Checking the oil is especially important in cars with turbo engines. Turbos run at extreme speeds and generate lots of heat in normal running conditions. Correct oil levels are essential to keep these engines running at peak performance and save excessive turbo wear. A regular oil change is also especially important on a turbo engine. Dirty oil can block turbo oil pipes causing the turbo to prematurely fail. If you feel like your vehicle needs a complete oil change, not just a top up, give us a call.

How to Check the Oil in Your Car

Before you check your oil, make sure your vehicle is on level ground and the engine has been off for about 60 seconds. Because oil is a liquid, you might get a false reading if your car is on a steep hill. The engine moves the oil around when it’s running. The oil needs time to settle and drain to the bottom so you can accurately read what the oil level is.

So, once you’ve ticked these boxes, here’s what you do:

1. Pop The Car’s Bonnet

You should see a lever either on the front driver or passenger side by the door of your car. Pull the lever to pop the bonnet so you can open it up fully.

How to check the oil - pop the bonnet using the lever inside your car
Find the lever either on the front driver or passenger side by the door of your car.

Some Ford cars are a bit special! You might need to use the ignition key in the radiator.

How to check the oil - pop the bonnet on a Ford with the ignition key
Some Ford vehicles have a special key hole in the radiator to open the bonnet. Use the ignition key.

3. Locate Your Car’s Dipstick

Check around the engine. The dipstick should have a yellow top so it’s good and visible. If you can’t see it, dig out the manual.

How to check the oil - find the dipstick in your engine
The dipstick for this vehicle has a yellow hoop so you can hook it out easily,

4. Remove The Dipstick

Pull on the yellow hook to remove the dipstick. It’s quite long and is oily, so make sure to have a cloth or tissue to hand.

How to check the oil - remove the dipstick
A dipstick is quite long!

5. Clean The End With A Cloth Or Tissue

You’ll need a fresh read on the oil so give it a good clean it first and familiarise yourself with the markers that indicate the levels.

How to check the oil - check the marker levels on your dipstick
Once the dipstick is clean, look for the two markers at the very end. The might say “maximum” and “minimum” or you might just see a distinct section like this one.

6. Replace And Remove Again To Check The Oil Level

Replace the dipstick fully then remove again to check the level of oil. This should be within the two max and min markers.

How to check the oil - check the oil level on the dipstick
This car’s oil level is at the maximum.

7. Top Up If Your Car Is Low On Oil

If the dipstick indicates you’re oil level is low, top it up with the correct oil for your vehicle. To top up the oil find the oil filler cap on your engine. It should be somewhere near the back and should have a yellow cap or icon.

Add small amounts of oil and recheck the level on the dipstick using the steps above. Stop filling when you are at or close to the maximum level.

If it’s too high, you’ll need to come and see us so we can take some out!

How to check the oil - locate the oil top up cap
The oil filler cap might either be completely yellow, or have a yellow icon like this one.

Need A Hand Checking Your Car’s Oil Level?

If you’re unsure how to check your oil, we can check the level for you free of charge and also recommend the best oil for your vehicle. Get in touch using our contact form or give us a call on either of these numbers:  0116 3190 118 or mobile  07850 881 911.

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