How to check your car oil

As summer approaches it is time to think about a summer car maintenance check to ensure the car is safe and in ideal condition to deal with the heat of the season.

One of the key car checks for summer – and throughout the year – is the oil check. However, according to new research from, predictably, oil company ExxonMobil, three quarters of UK drivers do not know how to check the oil in their car.

It’s a shocking statistic – albeit one based on a survey of a little over 1,000 people – and one which will not make easy reading for the AA.

The AA believes oil should be checked every couple of weeks and before any longer journey. Oil is essentially for the smooth working of the engine by reducing the chances of metal components seizing up.

Modern oil can even prevent corrosion and keep the engine clean, so it is essential to have the correct oil and the correct level of oil in your car at all times.

How to check oil in a car

To check the oil in your car, simply follow the steps outlined below:

1.Park your car on a flat surface. If the car is on a slope the oil will not be level and it is impossible to check the actual amount of oil that is there.

2.Open the bonnet of the car and locate the oil dipstick. This is usually found next to the engine in the car and is a simple ‘stick’ with a loop on the end.

3.Pull the dipstick out using the loop and wipe off the oil with a cloth or paper towel.

4.Push the dipstick back in until it is fully in.

5.Pull the dipstick out and hold it horizontally. Check the level of oil compared to the ‘Minimum’ and ‘Maximum’ lines.

6.If the level of oil is between the two, there is enough oil in the car. If it is below the minimum line, top up the oil by unscrewing the oil filler cap found on the engine – but be careful, it is much easier to top up oil than take some back out!

7.Check the oil with the dipstick if you have added more oil. The oil should ideally be halfway between the lines.

Each car will have a certain type of oil it needs to use. This can be found in your owner’s manual.

Finally, if you find the oil is consistently low, you may have an oil leak. If this is the case, take your car in to your nearest Perrys service centre to get it checked.