How to check engine oil levels

Checking the level of engine oil in your car takes just a few seconds, but is one of the most important basic maintenance procedures. If the oil level gets too low it can cause significant damage to the engine, as the components are not lubricated and are subject to significantly greater wear.

You should aim to check the engine oil level every two weeks, and before every long journey. To do so, follow these simple steps:

  • Park your car on level ground in order to get an accurate reading and only check the oil when the engine is cold. Prop the bonnet open and refer to the manufacturer handbook to help you locate the dipstick.
  • Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean with a cloth so that you can see the minimum and maximum markings.
  • To take the engine oil reading, place the clean dipstick back in and withdraw it smoothly to see where the oil level reaches. If it is within the safe range marked on the dipstick, the oil level is satisfactory.
  • If the engine oil does not reach the minimum marking on the dipstick you need to top it up. Consult the manufacturer handbook to find out which specification and grade of engine oil your car needs. A member of staff at your local Wessex Garages dealership will also be able to help you determine the right engine oil for your car.
  • To replace the oil, remove the oil filler cap as marked in your manufacturer handbook and add a small amount of oil at a time. It is important not to over-fill your engine with oil. Wait a few minutes after adding the oil before taking another reading with the dipstick, and do this until there is a good level of engine oil.

If you have any further questions about checking and replacing the engine oil in your car, please get in touch with the team at Wessex Garages.