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How often should you check your oil?

Date: Mon 4th December 2017   |   Author: Modeten

Car maintenance tips from AutoProtect

Your oil is often a good indicator of your engine’s health and you should check it at least once every couple of weeks or before a long journey and in older cars, maybe even more. If your engine is burning oil at a quick pace or losing it through a leak, it’s important that you notice before it causes irreparable damage. Knowing how often to check oil is more important the older your car gets plus you need to think about how long it’s been since your last service.

How do you check your oil levels?

It’s all well and good knowing how often to check oil, but you’ll also need to know how to do it properly. Luckily, it only takes a minute as long as your engine is cold. If your engine has just been in use, you’ll have to let it cool down and return to the oil tank (usually referred to as the sump). You can check your oil in five easy steps:

  1. Pop the bonnet of your car open and place it on the support prop.
  2. Locate the dipstick and lift it out. Use your manual if you can’t find it.
  3. Wipe the dipstick clean and replace it.
  4. Once it’s been put back, pull it out again and see if the level is within the recommended level indicated on the dipstick.
  5. If the oil is low fill it up, then check it the following week to make sure there is no fault.

What to do if your oil is low?

Now you know how to check and how often to check oil, you need to know what to do if it’s too low. The first thing to do is fill it up using a good grade of engine oil so that the level is within the recommended amount and wait a few days to a week, before checking again. If your oil is low again it indicates a fault, such as a leak, which could ultimately cause your car significant damage. You should take your car into a garage so that a professional mechanic can diagnose the issue.

How often should you change oil?

As well as knowing how often to check oil, it’s also important that you keep track of how often it's changed. Oil is usually an amber colour when fresh, but over time it will turn darker until eventually it’s black. Although this is an indication that it’s ready for a change, a more solid guide is the amount of miles and time since you last changed it. When you have your car serviced your oil will be changed along with the oil filter; this is just one reason to keep your car’s service history up to date.

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