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How to check your car engine oil

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    Checking the engine oil should be part of a regular routine.

Most of us never bother to check the oil in our engines...

...to make sure there is enough to keep it running smoothly and efficiently until the next service.

We prefer to leave that to the mechanic when we take the car in for its next service, but with service intervals extending out to 10,000 km and more in some cases that next service could be a year or more away.

Checking the engine oil should be part of a regular routine we carry out every month or so to make sure all is well with our car. It's simple to do, it doesn't take long, and anyone can do it.
To start with, make sure the car is parked on level ground.

Then, open the bonnet, and with the owner's manual in hand identify the oil dipstick and the oil filler cap. Having done that, start the engine and allow it to warm up to its normal operating temperature.

Once it's warmed-up, turn the engine off for a few minutes to allow the oil to drain back into the sump. Having done that, remove the oil dipstick, wipe it clean, and reinsert it fully.

Pull it out again and check the level, which should be between the F (Full) and L (Low) marks. If it is all is well and you can confidently drive on until it's time to check it again.

If the level is at or near the L (Low) mark you need to add some oil to bring it up to the F (Full) mark. To do that remove the oil filler cap and slowly pour oil in using a funnel to avoid spillage until the level reaches the F (Full) mark.

Don't simply pour the oil in, regularly stop and check the level, so that you don't overfill the engine. At each check let the car sit for a short time before checking with the dipstick to let the oil you've just added work its way into the sump.

It's important to use the oil recommended by the carmaker, and to find that refer to the owners manual.

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