Park your car at a level spot and kill the engine. Wait for a while to let the engine oil drip down to the oil pan.
Look for your engine oil dipstick. (Check your owners manual if you can’t find it!) Pull it out and wipe it clean with a tissue. You should be able to see the markings for FULL and EMPTY along the length of the dipstick.
Insert it back all the way down, and pull it out again. The ideal level is of course to have it at FULL, and you should top it up if it’s lower. (If it’s at EMPTY your car would probably have given up some time ago!).
Check the oil for colour and texture:
How to top up the engine oil:
- Thick, black oil - Definitely time to change! Get a mechanic to do this for you, as it involves getting down and dirty under the car…
- Light brown – Okay
- Dark brown, but still liquid – Okay for a couple more trips, but schedule a date with the car doctor to change it.
- Whitish (like milky coffee) – Uh-oh. The engine coolant has mixed with the engine oil. Make a trip to the mechanic straight away.
You should have some oil handy from your last change in a bottle somewhere. You should always use the same type and brand of engine oil. Remove the cap of the engine oil tank (consult the owners manual again to be sure). Pour a little oil in and wait for a minute to let the oil flow down.
Check the level again with the dipstick. If it's still low, add some more but always a little at a time so you don't overfill it.
When you are done, re-insert the dipstick and replace the cap on the tank.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy!