Back to basics car care: How to check and top up your engine oil

MSC engine oil

As the automotive industry evolves and advancements in car technology continue to grow, it has become commonplace to rely on your car to self-diagnose. However, sometimes the traditional manual methods of vehicle maintenance are still useful, even in the most modern vehicles.

Keeping your engine oil level topped up, will reduce engine friction ensuring your engine will run smoother and your vehicle last longer. 

Our Mobil Service Centre team are going back to basics and sharing their top car care tips on checking up, and topping up, engine oil in your car.

How often should you check your oil levels?

Our Mobil Service Centre experts recommend a weekly ‘under the bonnet’ check, including checking your oil levels, to proactively monitor the basics. However, for some making these checks weekly can be difficult, as a minimum our experts recommend at least once a month or before long distance journeys.  It should only take 10 minutes.

By completing regular ‘under the bonnet’ checks you avoid risking any unnecessary and costly damage to your engine. If your engine oil level is low and unchecked, it damages the moving parts of the engine increasing friction and engine wear.

Before getting started, you will need:

Checking your oil levels:

  1. To ensure an accurate oil level reading, make sure you are parked on a level surface.
  2. Before going under the bonnet, switch off the engine and wait 3 – 4 minutes. This gives the engine enough time to cool and the oil to drain into the sump.
  3. Locate your bonnet release to open the bonnet. (Typically found on the passenger side of the vehicle beneath the steering column or foot well).
  4. Remove the dipstick, wipe it with a dry cloth and dip back into the tube. (Found under the bonnet and typically towards the front with a brightly coloured handle).
  5. Check the oil level, which should appear between the upper and lower marks on your dipstick.
  6. If the level is closer to the lower mark, it’s time to top up.

Topping up your oil:

  1. Place the dipstick back into its tube and remove the cover from the oil filler cap.
  2. Slowly pour some oil into the filler, using your funnel to avoid spillage or waste and replace the cap.
  3. Wait 60 seconds for the oil to drain into the engine.
  4. Remove dipstick and check the oil level again.   
  5. Repeat the above steps if additional oil if required and replace the oil filter cap.
  6. Ensure filler cap is replaced securely.

Please note: Always consult your owner’s handbook and speak to your local Mobil Service Centre mechanic if you have any concerns.

To find out more about the right engine oil for your car, or to find your nearest Mobil Service Centre, visit or call us on 0800 980 6172 selecting option 3.

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