Engine oil and how to check it

Engine oil does much more than just lubricate the moving parts of your engine. It also cools and cleans the engine, allowing it to function fully, so without oil in the engine it would only get hotter and hotter.

Why do we need to replace it?

Oil actually degrades through oxidation, thermal degradation and compressive heat, which is why it needs replacing regularly. If you do not keep the engine oil topped up or refreshed in accordance with the manufactures guide, the degrading process happens quicker.

Oil is mostly made up of carbon and allowed to continue to degrade it generates tar, sludge and soot which travels around the engine and will be deposited on the internal components of the engine like bearings, the cylinder walls and anywhere the oil would normally flow. These carbon deposits are naturally quite abrasive and will further contribute to the heat generated from friction. Once where the oil helped in the cooling of the engine, now in its broken-down state it will contribute to the friction and escalate the overheating issue. Changing the oil is always part of a service along with the filter to ensure optimum performance.

When should I check the oil level?

You should ideally check it every week, this being recommended by most Vehicle Manufactures. When you check you should be looking for the oil level to be between the highest and lowest mark, you should consider that if you check it and see that it has dropped from this highest to the lowest in less that 1000 miles there is something wrong and you need to get it looked at.

How do I check the oil and top it up?

You will need the following:

  • Clean cloth
  • Motor oil (you will need to find out the right oil for your car)
  • A funnel

Three simple steps to checking your engine oil levels:

  1. Firstly, park on a level surface and wait a few minutes for the oil to drain to the sump.
  2. Remove the dipstick and with the cloth just wipe it clean, slowly push the dipstick back into it tube. Now remove it very carefully and check where that the oil residue is between the upper and lower marks. If it is closer to the lower mark it will need a top-up.
  3. Pop the dipstick back in its tube and remove the oil filler cap and slowly pour some oil in using the funnel if needed. Wait a few moments again for the oil to work its way to the sump and check the dipstick again. If the residue now sits closer to the higher mark replace the oil filler cap.

If you are worried about the oil levels or conditions the oil don’t hesitate to contact us, the Standlake Vehicle Services Team are here to offer help and advice.


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