How To Check Your Engine Oil

Mechanic holding dipstick to check a car's engine oil.

Even though your engine oil is replaced when you take your car in for its scheduled service, chances are that if you’re someone who does a lot of driving, your car oil might need to be topped up between your scheduled services.

Can I drive with low oil?

Oil is a crucial component of your engine as it lubricates the motor’s moving parts. This reduces friction, which in turn reduces heat. You shouldn’t drive with low oil as it can cause expensive damage to your engine, as well as jeopardise your safety on the road.

How often should you top up engine oil?

It’s recommended that you check your oil at least once a month to ensure your vehicle’s running fluids are correct to keep your car running smoothly.

Mechanic topping up a car's engine oil.

How do you know your engine oil is low?

Method 1

The simplest way to know if there might be an issue with your engine oil is to keep an eye on the warning lights that show up on your dashboard.

Method 2

It’s also a good idea to check your oil manually to make sure it’s at the correct level.

Step 1

Make sure your car is parked on a level surface and that the engine is switched off. If your engine has been running, give it some time to cool down before touching anything.

Step 2

Get a rag handy and then open your car’s bonnet.

Step 3

Find the engine oil dipstick. You can easily identify it by its red or yellow handle, but if you have trouble finding it, refer to your owner’s manual.

Step 4

Pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean with the rag.

Step 5

Check where the ‘empty’ and ‘full’ markings are on the dipstick and then reinsert it entirely. Slowly remove it and check the oil level on the end of the dipstick. If the oil is too low, it will need to be topped up with the correct oil. Your owner’s manual will have information on which type of oil is right for your vehicle.

Make sure you also check the colour of your oil on the dipstick. If you notice the colour is anything other than a golden colour, it might mean that you are due for an oil change. If you’re ever unsure, book your car in at one of our repair centres so that our team of experts can assist you.

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