New research from Euro Car Parts has uncovered a shocking gap in the knowledge of UK motorists. Apparently, one in four drivers don’t know what the oil in their engine is actually for.
That’s a worrying statistic given that oil is vital to ensure engine longevity. Without it, your engine will run for about five seconds before binding into a solid lump – in the best case scenario – or shooting scrap metal in all directions (in the worst case).
Given such a knowledge gap, it’s less surprising to note that nearly half of us don’t know what specific oil our engines need without consulting the handbook. The wrong oil, at times, can almost be as bad as no oil. See above.
As for how women deal with oil versus men, a third of women aren’t sure what oil in the engine does, compared to 13 percent of men. Nearly 60 percent of women don’t know what oil their car requires, compared with 38 percent of men.
Here are some top tips when it comes to your car’s engine oil.
Keep on top of your changes
Most cars will have an oil change interval of between 5,000 and 15,000 miles or, in almost every case, every 12 months – whichever comes first. You can do it yourself, but for the sake of a stamp in the service book, not making a mess of your driveway and general safety, we’d recommend taking it to a dealer or specialist.
Check it regularly
It’s very much worth your while checking how much oil is in your engine, at least once a month. That’s not just for old cars, either, given we have experience of nearly-new cars burning a significant amount of oil in the first few thousand miles of their lives.
How do you check your oil?
Under the bonnet you should be able to locate a brightly-coloured tab – usually yellow – that you can pull out. Its location will be in your car’s manual. The tab is connected to the dipstick, which you pull out and clean. Re-dip, then see where the level is. It should be within the minimum and maximum indicators. We recommend leaving oil checks for up to an hour after driving so that the temperature is low enough to be safe and for an accurate reading.
Keep it topped up
If it’s below, find out what oil your car takes and buy some to top it up post-haste. When topping up, be very careful not to over-fill. We recommend filling 200ml at a time, letting it settle and re-checking the level. Even if it takes four or five pours, it’s worth it not to over-fill. That can be as damaging as not having enough oil.
Oil for all seasons
There is even such thing as different oils for summer and winter, for best performance in different temperatures. Not essential, but worth bearing in mind if your car starts to struggle in the winter months.