Is your car running like a well-oiled machine? Probably not, if you’re among the incredible one in five motorists who never check their engine oil level.
The findings come from a new survey by automotive part and repair specialist Kwik Fit.
Although most car makers recommend you look at your oil level once a week as part of your vehicle safety checks, that advice is largely ignored. Even if that time scale was doubled to a fortnight, only 8% of drivers would meet the recommendation.
Of the 19% who never check their oil, 8% (which would equate to three million drivers across the UK) say they don’t know how to do it, while the remaining 11% say they know where the dipstick is, but never bother to use it.
More than three-fifths of drivers (62%) say that at least three months go by between their oil checks, while a shocking 8% let at least a year pass before inspecting their levels again.
While drivers might have lost the habit of making maintenance checks during the recent Covid pandemic as they used their car less, Kwik Fit is encouraging owners to get back in the routine, as checking and topping up a vehicle’s oil is important in helping prevent excess engine wear and damage.
“Good quality oil is vital for maintaining a smooth running car, and regularly checking the oil level is a very easy way of monitoring an engine’s health,” says Roger Griggs, Kwik Fit communications director.
“If the oil level drops from the highest to lowest mark on the dipstick in less than 1,000 miles, we would recommend getting the engine checked over.”
Checking your oil – four easy steps
Still not sure what to do? Follow these simple steps:
1 Park on a level surface, switch off the engine and wait about five minutes for all the oil to drain to the bottom of the engine.
2 Once the engine is cool, pull out the dipstick, wipe the oil off with a clean cloth then 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 type for the vehicle. Consult the handbook or ask an expert if you’re not sure. Replace the dipstick and remove the oil filler cap. Add a small amount of oil at a time rather than risk overfilling, then check the level again. Add further oil if needed and replace the oil filler cap.