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How to check and fill oil in the car

While it may be great to arrive at a placement where there is a car for the live-in carer to use, it may become a part of your job to do some basic maintenance on it. Checking the oil and topping it up is one of the things that anyone can do at home.

Doing this regularly will keep the engine in good condition and prevent dirt buildup and possible overheating. You should aim to do this at least every month, particularly in older cars.

How do we do this?

Arm yourself with some paper towels and head for the car. Park the car on level ground and make sure that the engine is cold before you start.

If the manual is still there it will show you a picture of the dipstick and where it is located. If not, you will be able to look this up online if you are unsure about it.

  • Locate the dipstick
  • Pull it out
  • Wipe all the oil off
  • Replace the dipstick
  • Pull it out again
  • Look at where the oil level is

Every dipstick has a way of telling you where the level should be. This may be two little pinholes or two small bumps. Whatever it is, the level needs to be between them. You may even see the letters L and H (low and high) or Min and Max.

If the oil is between the two marks, all is well. If it is below the bottom level, you need to add oil.

How to add oil

In the owner’s manual you will find what right type of oil. It should read something like 0W-20 or 5W-30. You can pick up a bottle at any petrol station. You may even get it at the supermarket.

Remove the filler cap. If you don’t have a manual, check this online. Start by slowly pouring in the oil. Overfilling is bad so start slowly, add a quarter bottle at first. Use a funnel if you need to prevent spills.

Wait a minute then add another quarter. Wait a minute and check the level on the dipstick. You should add extra oil until it shows that there is enough in the oil.

Note: unless there is an oil leak, you will seldom need to add more than a quart at any one time.

Screw the top back on and you are ready to go.

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