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Guide to checking your engine oil

Here AA Patrol, Keith Keegan, offers an easy guide to checking and refilling your vehicle’s engine oil.

Firstly, make sure that your car is on level ground. It’s also best to check your vehicle’s oil levels when the car is cold. Next open your car bonnet to locate the oil dip stick, which can be found in most cars, with the exception of a few modern makes and models of cars.  

In most cars, the dip stick handle is brightly coloured for example, yellow or green, however if you’re unsure check your vehicle manufacturer’s manual. Now remove your vehicle’s oil dip stick fully using a clean cloth to wipe off the oil.  You’ll note there are maximum and minimum markers on the dip stick. If the oil is anywhere between these two markers it’s ok to drive the car, however if below the minimum marker you shouldn’t drive the car until the oil has been topped back up.

Having wiped the dipstick clean of oil, next replace it in the tube pushing it all the way down. Then remove it again and inspect the oil level. Drivers should repeat this simple check fortnightly to check for leaks.  

Topping up your vehicle’s oil

If you discover your vehicle’s oil needs topping up, look for a rubber cap with an oil can symbol on it. Again if you can’t find it, refer to your vehicle manufacture’s manual. Having located it, twist the cap to open it. Before pouring in the oil it’s vital to check that you’re using the correct oil type for your car. Your vehicle manufacturer’s manual will provide you with this information.

Using a funnel if required, gently pour in the oil. Overfilling can be just as bad for your car as under filling so pour slowly. You should leave enough time for the oil to hit the sump before rechecking your vehicle’s oil levels. When you’re happy you’ve achieved the correct level don’t forget to replace your car’s oil cap.

Often when AA Patrols are called to assist a broken down vehicle we find that drivers have actually forgotten to replace their vehicle’s fuel cap. They’ve done all the right things however simply forgotten to replace the cap. So we remind motorists to double check this before shutting their car bonnet. If you forget you’ll have plenty of cleaning up to do and may even breakdown as a result of damage to the vehicle’s engine.

When the oil symbol lights up your car’s dashboard

Many drivers believe this is an indication that their vehicle’s oil levels are low. However what it really means is that there is a problem with your vehicle’s engine. It’s important to get this checked out to avoid a possible breakdown or more serious damage occurring.

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