How to check car oil

How to check car oil

Running low on engine oil is an easy enough oversight to make, but it’s a mistake that could end up costing you in the long run if it leads to lasting engine damage.

And in fact, checking your fluid levels is one of the simplest bits of car maintenance you can do.

To help keep your fluid levels healthy, and your car on the road, we’ve put together our quick guide on how to check your engine oil.


When checking your engine oil, follow these simple steps:

  1. Ensure your vehicle’s parked on level ground and your engine is cool.
  2. Open your bonnet and locate the dipstick. If you’re unsure where this is, check your user manual. Your car may not have a dipstick – some modern cars are fitted with electronic oil monitors.
  3. Once you’ve found the dipstick, pull it out and wipe off all the oil with a cloth or rag. You should notice two marks on the dipstick itself, identifying the minimum and maximum oil levels.
  4. When it’s clean, put the dipstick back into its tube, pushing it all the way back in. Let it sit and then remove it again.
  5. If the level is halfway between the minimum and maximum levels on the dipstick you don’t need to add any oil. If it’s below halfway, you may want to add some oil. If it’s below the minimum mark, you need to add oil.
  6. If you do need to top up, make sure you have the correct oil for your car and locate the oil cap on your engine – usually marked with the picture of an oil can.
  7. Remove the cap and pour in the oil a little at a time, checking the level with the dipstick to ensure you don’t pour in too much, as this can also cause damage.
  8. Replace the cap and the dipstick and clear up any oil spills before closing the bonnet.