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May 26, 2021

Are You Guilty Of Not Checking Your Car's Engine Oil? You're Not Alone

Do you ever check your car’s oil? If not, you’re not alone. Research from U.K.-based Kwik Fit has revealed that one in five (19 percent) of car owners never check the oil in their vehicle. 8 percent of owners, some 3 million, actually admit to not knowing how to check their oil level, while 11 percent say hey know how to do it, but never do so.

Ideally, drivers should check their engine oil every week, as recommended by most car manufacturers yet the study found that even if that interval is doubled (one every two weeks), just 8 percent of owners meet the recommendation. Around 62 percent say that at least three months go by between their oil checks, while shockingly 8 percent let at least a year pass before checking their dipstick again.

The research found a clear difference between the sexes. 2 percent of male car owners said they did not know how to check their oil, but this figure rose to one in seven or 14 percent among female owners. There was also a difference between younger and older drivers: 6 percent of drivers aged over 55 are unsure how to check their oil level on their vehicle, compared to 10 percent of those aged 18-34.

While drivers may have understandably lost the habit of making maintenance checks during the pandemic as they used their car less, it is still encouraged to check and top up a vehicle’s oil to help prevent excess engine wear and damage.

For those drivers who are unsure how to check their oil, here’s a step-by-step guide:
  1. Park on a level surface, switch off the engine and wait for 3-4 minutes while the oil drains into the sump at the bottom of the engine.
  2. Once the engine is cool, pull out the dipstick, wipe the oil off with a clean cloth then slowly push the dipstick fully back into its tube.
  3. Remove the dipstick once more and check the oil level. It should be between the upper and lower marks—if it is closer to the lower one the oil will need topping up.
  4. If more oil is needed, it must be the right oil for the vehicle. Replace the dipstick and remove the oil filler cap. Slowly pour some oil in, using a funnel if needed and replace the cap. It’s better to add a small amount at a time rather than risk overfilling, so wait a minute for the oil to drain through the engine, insert the dipstick and check the level again. Add further oil if needed and replace the oil filler cap.

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