Running out of oil is a costly and damaging disaster for a car. If the oil warning light on your dashboard ever comes on while you are driving, stop instantly and switch off the engine then call for breakdown assistance. Continuing to drive may well wreck the engine.
Checking your car’s oil level is easy:
- Lift the bonnet of your car and secure it in the raised position.
- Locate the oil dipstick and withdraw it.
- Wipe it clean with an old rag or paper towel, then slide it back in.
- Withdraw the dipstick again and check the oil level – it should be between the maximum and minimum marked on the dipstick.
If your oil level is too low, you need to top up with the correct oil for your car. You will find this in the owner’s manual – the make of oil doesn’t usually matter but the type does, so match this carefully and ask at a garage if in doubt.
The oil filler cap is usually marked with an oil can symbol – but as always, check in your car’s owner manual first to make sure you have it right.
(If your oil level is significantly too high, it means that the last person who serviced your car overfilled it with oil. This can cause engine damage over time so you should take it back and ask them to remove some oil until the level is right.)
Before checking your car’s oil level, ensure that it is on level ground and that the engine has been off for at least 10 minutes or so.
For specific instructions for your vehicle, check your car’s owner manual.