RAC Cars News


Basic Home Maintenance - Checking The Oil

By raccars Published

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As modern cars become more and more technologically advanced, they require more and more specialist knowledge and professional skills, to accomplish what used to be considered simple maintenance tasks. However, there are some jobs that are still easily done on your own driveway and should help to keep your car running more efficiently and safely.

One of the most important components of your engine is the humble oil. An engine is made up of a number of metal parts that all rub together when functioning, which they couldn't do without a nice coating of oil. Check your levels regularly and change your oil when necessary, which is usually when the smooth, dark brown stuff you put in turns into gloopy muck. If you notice your engine losing a lot of oil, take it to a garage to get it checked, as this could be a sign of a problem.

Consult your car's manual to identify what kind of oil you should be using in your vehicle - bottles of oil are coded by viscosity at cold (15w, for example) and hot temperatures (40, for example). Make sure the car is on a level surface and the engine is turned off and completely cool when you check your oil.

Start with a couple of pieces of kitchen roll or a rag. You will need to locate the dipstick in the engine bay - the manual will tell you where to find it or you can look for a yellow plastic ring on top of a long, metal tube. Use the yellow handle to pull the metal stick out of the tube and wipe it clean with your paper or rag, then push the stick fully back into its tube.

Pull the dipstick back out and take a look at the bottom to see the level of the oil. You will see a pair of notches and the oil should reach about midway between them. If the oil is much below this point, it will need topping up.

Find the oil reservoir cap in your engine, again usually topped by a yellow plastic screw cap. Use a funnel to pour new oil into the reservoir, checking the dipstick regularly - don't allow the oil to pass the top notch on the stick, as overfilling can be dangerous and you will need a garage to take some out for you. To finish, make sure the oil cap is replaced securely.

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