Kimberlie works for a mobility vehicles company based in the UK
If you own a car, you need to know about engine oil, not just where in the engine it goes but also the consequences of ignoring it. If you let your oil level drop too low or even if you use the wrong type of oil for your car, you could increase your emissions which can affect your MOT and get you in trouble if you find yourself being stopped by the police. From a cost perspective, not enough oil or using the wrong type will mean you end up burning more fuel, and with prices at the pumps higher than they’ve ever been can you really afford this? You’re also going to be damaging the engine to the point where you could end up invalidating your warranty. Most importantly though, if your oil levels drop too low you will end up doing irreparable damage to your car and maybe even end up writing the engine off.
Why do you need oil?
Basically, oil is used to reduce the friction between moving parts, this is especially important in an engine as it has so many moving parts which could be potentially fatal if they go wrong. Oil also helps prevent corrosion and it carries heat away from engine helping it cool. All in all, when used properly engine oil can not only improve the overall efficiency of your car but it can also increase its longevity and help you when it comes to selling it on.
How do you check your oil?
Under the bonnet of every car will be a dipstick, usually with either a red or yellow loop that you pull. When you pull the dipstick out, wipe it with an old rag before reinserting it to give you a correct level. This should always be done whilst the car is parked on a flat surface and when the engine is cool. All dipsticks have a minimum and maximum mark which your oil level should fall between, if it’s looking low (nearer min than max) you’ll need to top it up but be careful as too much oil (over the max mark) can cause damage to the engine too. If you do need to top your oil up, the oil filler cap normally has a little symbol of an oil can on it, if you’re not sure, check your owners guide and be sure. Don’t forget, your engine oil not only needs to be checked on a regular basis and topped up, it also needs to be changed regularly too. This may not be something you feel you can do and it may be best to consult a professional mechanic.