Not checking your engine oil regularly can reduce your car's performance and potentially even damage your engine. We'd recommend checking at least once a week, to make sure that the reservoir is full. If you’re unsure how to check your oil level, here’s a helpful step-by-step guide.

SAFETY TIP: Always turn your car's engine off and wait for everything to cool down before lifting the bonnet and attempting car maintenance.

What you'll need

  • A rag or old cloth to clean up oil
  • The right engine oil for your car
  • A funnel
  • A pair of gloves and goggles for safety

If you want to learn more about engine oil and the different brands before you start, then check out our engine oil buyer's guide.

Prepare your car

Before you start, you'll need to get your car on a flat surface. It's also advisable to wait 10 minutes or longer after switching the engine off to let the engine bay cool down and the oil to settle into the engine oil sump.

How to check your oil level

Open up the bonnet and look for the dipstick. The end of it is usually a brightly coloured hook or loop.

Please note: Some vehicles do not have a dipstick, and you may need to check your vehicle's information displays for the oil level.

First, pull the dipstick out carefully and wipe any oil off it – this is so you can get an accurate reading. Then, replace it until you hear a click, and remove it again. You should now have a fresh level of oil to measure.

Look at how far up the dipstick the oil reaches. The stick will feature two lines or dots a set distance which indicates the idea amount of oil – you want your oil level to sit somewhere within this gap. If the oil level sits below the lowest line, then you’ll need to top up straight away.

Top up your oil

Before you start pouring, check that you've got the right engine oil for your car. You can find out which type you need in your car owner's manual, or you can use our handy online oil checker tool.

Find the right oil

How much oil does my car need?

How much oil you’ll need will depend on the make on model of your vehicle. To find out the right amount for your car, you can check your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website. There, you’ll find both the type of motor oil you need and how much your car can take.

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It’s free to join and you’ll receive money off your MOT, a free car health check and a welcome voucher that can be spent on any Halfords product or service.

Or choose our Premium membership for a small monthly fee (or a one-off payment) to unlock exclusive member pricing on all motoring products and services online and across our stores, garages and Halfords Mobile Experts, as well as a variety of other benefits that will help you to keep moving for less.

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