Blog: How to check your engine oil

Blog: How to check your engine oil

Engine oil is arguably one of the most important fluids in your car. This is responsible for lubricating all the moving parts in the engine.

If your engine oil runs low, it can speed up wear on the engine (which isn’t great if you want to keep the car for a long time.) And if it gets to the point where it is nearly empty, the engine can stop functioning and seize up completely. This causes damage which can’t be fixed.

To stop this happening, you need to check your engine oil regularly. Some modern cars have electronic oil sensors to let you know when you are getting low, but you shouldn’t rely on this and really must ensure that you check the oil manually, regularly.

You can find the manufacturers recommendations in your vehicle handbook, but otherwise, if you have an older car we would recommend every couple of weeks and at least once a month, and it’s also good practice before you take on any long trips too.

How to check the oil level

In order to check your oil level, you first need to make sure that you have parked your car on level ground so you can get an accurate reading. Then you’ll have to pop the bonnet and secure it so you can take a look at the engine.

Most engines have a dipstick that has level indictors on the tip. The dipstick is usually pretty easy to find, and may even be coloured a bright yellow.

To check the oil level, all you need to do is pull the dipstick out and then wipe it with a cloth or paper towel. Afterwards, pop it back in and remove it again. You will then be able to see fresh oil residue on the stick and gauge how much is in the engine according to the markers.

If the oil on the dipstick is between the two level indicators, then your oil level is fine. But if it is below the lowest marker (or is getting close) then it is essential that you top it up.

It’s worth mentioning that anywhere between the two levels is fine, but ideally, the oil level should be just under the highest marker.

How to top up engine oil

If you need to top up the engine oil, you firstly need to put this dipstick back in and make sure that it is secure – it might need a bit of effort to push it back in.

When this is done, find the oil cap and open it. This is usually easy to spot too and shouldn’t be far from the dipstick.

Make sure you have the right oil for your car, if you’re not sure then double check in your vehicle handbook. 

If you’ve got the right oil, pour some in! You can always use a funnel if you think you might spill oil over the rest of the engine.

But be mindful to not pour too much in. You need to ensure you have given the oil enough time to drain into the engine. If you check the dipstick too quickly it will still show the same level and you risk over filling. After a few moments, use the dipstick as before to check the level.


Don’t rush this! It is much better to pour the oil in small quantities as you might be otherwise at risk of overfilling and this can cause leaks!

  • On: 20 March 2019
  • By: CarShop

Previous Article

News: Our new interactive tool gives customers a free vehicle health check

We’re delighted to announce the launch of our brand new Vehicle Health Check Tool that keeps you in the driver's...

12 Mar 2019

Next Article

Blog: The top 7 most popular SUVs

SUVs have recently been a hit on the market – both new and used. They have become a favourite with...

26 Mar 2019

{{ item.headLine }}

{{ item.shortText }}

Read More {{ item.createdOn | date: 'd MMM yyyy' }}