Car Oil - MotorEasy car maintenance guide

Car oil needs to be checked to protect your engine

Car Oil - Easy Car Maintenance Tips

Car oil is supposed to be checked at least every 500 miles or once a week. It is the lifeblood of your car. Oil lubricates your engine and stops it shuddering to an expensive halt (though you can protect against this expense with our car warranty). That’s why if you care about your car (or your wallet!) you must make a point of checking your oil level regularly.

dipstick oil check Park your car on a level surface before beginning

Oil Level

Step one - park your car on as level a place as you can find. Drives and roads can have inclines and many drivers just don’t allow for this.


Hopefully you know what the dipstick looks like (we've added one below for you anyway). On older cars, the top ring will be sited in the middle of the engine. Modern cars have a bright yellow cap. Take it out, wipe the oil off with a paper towel and feed it in again. Take it out a second time to read it. This is necessary; as it's likely some oil will creep along the gauge when the engine is shut off so the first measurement will be faulty. On most vehicles, there are two marks on the gauge. The oil level must be between the upper and lower marking.

car oil - dipstick The yellow ring indicated the top of the dipstick
dipstick car oil level indicator The oil level should sit between the 2 dots
(shamefully we'd not wiped it clean here!)

How much car oil do I need

You will find in your owner’s manual how much oil you must add for topping up. Generally, this will be between 0.5 and 1 litre. Don’t be in a hurry, just add a little at time and return after five to ten minutes to check the level again. You must consult the manual or the manufacturer for the definitive procedure because although the engine should be switched off for the majority of cars there are some exceptions. When you add oil, it is a good idea to have a clean rag ready so that you can wipe around the cap so that dirt doesn’t get inside the engine and then keep it nearby to mop up and spills.


Don’t add too much motor oil

It sounds obvious, but you should never overfill an engine. That’s because seals may start to leak, foaming of the oil occurs which can push oil into areas where it is not supposed to be.


Which car oil type do I need?

The owner’s manual or the car’s manufacturer will be able to tell you the correct oil and grade for your vehicle.

Top up your oil Make sure you check the type of oil for your vehicle

Diagnose simple engine oil problems

PROBLEM: Noticeable increase in oil consumption when checking level and patches of oil when parked.

CAUSE: Engine oil leaks.

SOLUTION: Depends on where leak is; when new gaskets or seals are required then this is a garage job. Book a diagnosis or repair




PROBLEM: Increased oil consumption and noticeable blue smoke from the exhaust.

CAUSE: Worn engine is burning oil.

SOLUTION: Garage may need to fit new valve guide seals, or more seriously new pistons and rings, maybe a new engine. Book a diagnosis or repair

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