When did you last check your car’s oil?
It might be the fuel that keeps your car running on the road but all the fuel in the world will be no good if you car’s engine oil is not adequate.
The majority of drivers don’t check their engine oil anywhere near enough – so here’s our tips.
What does oil do?
The oil in your vehicle lubricates the engine’s internal moving parts, ensuring they don’t wear away too quickly. Oil also helps to keep the engine clean, by preventing the build up of dirt and finally oil helps keep it from overheating. So…pretty important!
How often should you check your oil?
Advice varies on this – some sources say check each time you fill up with fuel, others fortnightly, others monthly. We say that monthly is a good starting point.
Checking the oil level is a quick and easy job that will take just minutes.
How do I check my car’s oil?
All cars are different of course so the first thing to do is refer to your owner manual to check exactly how to check your oil levels and it’s worth noting that some new cars have electronic oil monitors and don't have traditional dipsticks for manual inspection.
However, if your car doesn’t have an electronic monitor, follow these steps.
- Park your car on level ground
- Ensure your engine is cool – so either check levels before you switch the engine on our at least 10 minutes after you have switched the engine off.
- Open the car’s bonnet and find the dipstick (your manual will show where this is located on your car.)
- Pull the dipstick out from the engine and wipe any oil off from its end on a rag / tissue.
- Insert the dipstick back into its tube and push it all the way back in.
- Pull it back out, and this time look at both sides of the dipstick to see where the oil is on the end.
- Every dipstick has some way of indicating the proper oil level, whether it be two pinholes, the letters L and H (low and high), the words MIN and MAX, or simply an area of crosshatching. If the top of the oil “streak” is between the two marks or within the crosshatched area, the level is fine. But if the oil is below the minimum mark, you need to add oil as described below.
If everything’s okay, wipe off the dipstick again and insert it back into its tube, making sure it’s fully seure. Close the hood and you’re done.
If you need to top up your oil, first of all don’t buy ‘any old oil’! Always use the grade of oil recommended in the owner’s manual.
To add oil:
Remove the oil filler cap, usually located on top of the engine.
Over-filling with oil is bad for the engine so just add a little at a time and using a funnel will help to avoid spillages.
Wait a minute or so and check the dipstick again. If the level is still below or near the minimum mark, add more and so on.
Screw the oil filler cap back on securely, and you’re done.
Just a couple of minutes can make all the difference to the health of your car and remember even if you’re driving a leased vehicle it is your responsibility to ensure the day-to-day health and maintenance of it.
If you have any questions about car leasing please refer to our FAQs here.