How to check Oil in the car

There are lots of moving parts in your engine and oil makes sure that all the parts are lubricated so that they can move easily.

The main parts that need oil are:

  • The pistons - so that they can slide up and down the cylinders.
  • The camshafts and the crankshaft - they have bearings which enable them to move freely and oil is used on these bearings to help them move.

Oil is usually sucked out of the oil pan by a pump and goes through a filter which catches any dirt. The oil is then squirted under high pressure on to the bearings and the cylinder walls. The oil then trickles down to the bottom called the sump where it is collected and then the process starts all over again.

There are lots of moving liquids and gases in your car, filters are set in strategic places along each system to catch and trap anything that night contaminate it. Your car has many types of such as oil filter, fuel filter, air filter and cabin filter. Also your exhaust acts as a filter stopping the harmful gases getting back out into the atmosphere.

These need to be changed quite regularly and your mechanic should do this for you during the services. See your service schedule for times or mileage.

Engine oil light on

If this light shows, check your engine oil level immediately, a lack of oil can lead to overheating of the metal components inside your engine which can seriously damage your engine, and you will have costly repairs.

 

Checking your oil

Your car should be parked on level ground and engine off for at least 5 minutes before checking your oil so that you can get an accurate reading.

  • Locate your dipstick ( this usually has a yellow handle but all cars are different, refer to your handbook.)
  • Remove the dipstick
  • Clean it with a paper towel or cloth
  • Put the dipstick back in fully for 5 seconds
  • Remove the dipstick again slowly
  • If the oil falls below the min mark you will need to top it up

If you need to top it up, you will need to find the oil filler cap. sometimes has a picture of an oil can, OIL written on and sometimes its a plain black cap. use your handbook for more guidance.

When you pour in, use a funnel to avoid spilling onto the engine, also pour in slowly a little bit at a time, as it is much easier to add a little than to take out any. As you will need special equiptment to remove any oil over the maximum.

Total Oil Checker with your registration number 

Warning: Some oils are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.

There are 2 types of oils Synthetic and non synthetic.

There are many types of oil multigrades. In a 10w-40 for example the 10w bit (W = winter) simply means that the oil must have a certain maximum viscosity/flow at low temperature. The lower the "W" number the better the oil's cold temperature/cold start performance. The 40 in a 10w-40 simply means that the oil must fall within certain viscosity limits at 100°C. This is a fixed limit and all oils that end in 40 must achieve these limits. Once again the lower the number, the thinner the oil: a 30 oil is thinner than a 40 oil at 100°C etc. Your handbook will specify whether a 30, 40 or 50 etc is required.

Also ACEA specification

Every ACEA specification is made of a letter or letters that indicate the class and a number that defines the category. There are separate categories for oils with different purposes or for different applications within the same class.

There are ACEA specifications for passengers car motor oils (the A/B class) for catalyst compatible motor oils (the C class) and for heavy duty diesel engine oils (the E class). The classes are further devided into categories to meet the requirements of different engines. The A/B class's A1/B1 and A5/B5 oils have lower HTHS viscosities, which means that they provide better fuel economy but they may not provide adequate protection in engines that are not designed for them. ACEA A3/B3 and A3/B4 on the other hand require oils with higher HTHS viscosities that may not provide as good fuel economy as an A1/B1 or A5/B5 oil but may offer better engine protection in certain engine designs. The categories within the C class are divided along SAPS limits and along HTHS viscosities. C1 and C4 are low-SAPS oils, while C2 and C3 are mid-SAPS oils. On the other hand C1 and C2 oils have lower HTHS viscosities, while C3 and C4 oils have higher HTHS viscosities.

A/B: gasoline and diesel engine oils

ACEA A1/B1 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use at extended drain intervals in gasoline engines and car & light van diesel engines specifically designed to be capable of using low friction low viscosity oils with a high temperature / high shear rate viscosity of 2.6 mPa*s for xW/20 and 2.9 to 3.5 mPa.s for all other viscosity grades. These oils are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.

ACEA A3/B3 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use in high performance gasoline engines and car & light van diesel engines and/or for extended drain intervals where specified by the engine manufacturer, and/or for year-round use of low viscosity oils, and/or for severe operating conditions as defined by the engine manufacturer.

ACEA A3/B4 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use in high performance gasoline and direct injection diesel engines, but also suitable for applications described under A3/B3.

ACEA A5/B5 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use at extended drain intervals in high performance gasoline engines and car & light van diesel engines designed to be capable of using low friction low viscosity oils with a High temperature / High shear rate (HTHS) viscosity of 2.9 to 3.5 mPa.s. These oils are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.

C: Catalyst compatibility oils

ACEA C1 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use as catalyst compatible oil in vehicles with DPF and TWC in high performance car and light van diesel and gasoline engines requiring low friction, low viscosity, low SAPS oils with a minimum HTHS viscosity of 2.9 mPa.s. These oils will increase the DPF and TWC life and maintain the vehicles fuel economy. Warning: these oils have the lowest SAPS limits and are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.

ACEA C2 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use as catalyst compatible oil in vehicles with DPF and TWC in high performance car and light van diesel and gasoline engines designed to be capable of using low friction, low viscosity oils with a minimum HTHS viscosity of 2.9mPa.s. These oils will increase the DPF and TWC life and maintain the vehicles fuel economy. Warning: these oils are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.

ACEA C3 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use as catalyst compatible oil in vehicles with DPF and TWC in high performance car and light van diesel and gasoline engines, with a minimum HTHS viscosity of 3.5mPa.s. These oils will increase the DPF and TWC life. Warning: these oils are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.

ACEA C4 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use as catalyst compatible oil in vehicles with DPF and TWC in high performance car and light van diesel and gasoline engines requiring low SAPS oil with a minimum HTHS viscosity of 3.5mPa.s. These oils will increase the DPF and TWC life. Warning: these oils are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.

Source for ACEA specification: http://www.oilspecifications.org/acea.php

Warning: Some oils are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.


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