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It pays to check the owner’s manual for the proper way to check your oil, however you can use the following steps to find out whether your vehicle needs oil and how to top it up. Winter is just around the corner and before the cold temperatures hit our towns, let’s check if our cars are ready for the change. To free yourself from the unplanned ado and hugger-mugger, all you need to do is just go through a simple check-up list and make sure that your car is ready for rides on the winter streets. The best way to avoid a flat tire, or an even more frightening experience, a blowout, is to check your vehicle’s tire pressure at least once a month—and don’t forget to check your spare. Battery and Charging System – Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician.
Look under the hood and inspect all belts and hoses to make sure they are in good shape with no signs of blisters, cracks, or cuts in the rubber.
After the heavy toll imposed by winter storms, windshield wipers are likely to be ragged from use and ready to be replaced. Lights — Headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, interior lights, and trailer lights See and be seen!
All oil can cause an allergic reaction and used engine oil contains carcinogenic compounds, so avoid skin contact and wash off spills immediately with a specialist hand cleaner. Your handbook says where the oil dipstick is and whether the oil level should be checked with the engine hot or cold. Pull the dipstick out, taking care because long ones can flip drops of oil around as they come out.
Make sure you replace the dipstick and push it fully home (it usually clicks) because when the engine is running the oil is under pressure and may spray out if the dipstick isn’t replaced properly. New cars rarely need more oil between services once they are run in, but old cars may constantly use a little oil and need topping up, especially if a service is nearly due. A cooling system flush can keep your engine running smooth and cool even on the hottest days. In most cars, the cooling system works by circulating radiator fluid (the mixture of coolant and water) through parts and pipes in the engine to absorb the heat and cool the engine. As the coolant runs through the engine, rust and contaminants caused by oxidation and corrosion mix in with the fluid. Most manufacturers recommend that you change the radiator fluid (the mixture of antifreeze coolant and water) every 24,000 to 36,000 miles or 24 to 36 months. Be leery of “extended life” coolants that tout 100,000 mile lifespans – even these can accumulate rust and contaminants that threaten your engine life. Failing to change your coolant can take as much as 100,000 miles off the life of your engine, in addition to big problems and expensive repairs. Bottom line – contaminated coolant can lead to cooling system failure, causing your engine to overheat and break down, leaving you stranded on the road!
We assume your family’s safety is at the top of your priority list, so having your coolant flushed or even just checked while it’s still scorching outside, and before it gets cold, should be as well.

Be sure the engine is cold (or has been off for at least ten minutes) before you check the oil. Hold the dipstick horizontally and note how high the oil film reaches on the dipstick and the condition of the oil, and add or change the oil as needed.
Rub a little between your thumb and index finger, and if it leaves a dirty smudge, it probably needs to be changed.
You can buy oil the next time you fill up with petrol at the service station or you can find it at auto supply stores and supermarkets.
We are all aware that neglecting seasonal maintenance, can cause a lot of unpredictable situations with our vehicles, and this is never more true than when it comes to winter check-up of a vehicle. Low winter temperatures are hard on plastics and rubber belts and hoses, so it’s best to replace them now if they show signs of obvious wear. And as with coolant, if it’s time or even nearly time to have the oil changed, now would be a good time to do it.
It lubricates and helps cool the engine as it is pumped from the sump at the bottom of the engine, through channels running around it like veins to the moving parts that need lubrication. These only work correctly on level ground and should not be seen as a complete alternative to a visual check. It may also tell you how long you should let an engine that has been running stand to allow oil to drain back into the sump. But if the oil level suddenly starts dropping faster than normal, the engine should be investigated by a mechanic because it is a sign of leaks or engine-wear (the latter is usually accompanied by exhaust smoke).
As the heat rises in the summer, our shop sees more and more people coming in after breakdowns due to cooling system failure. Regularly changing your coolant, aka antifreeze, can prevent larger problems for your cooling system and engine and keep your family safe on the road!
The engine runs best at a high temperature, so the cooling system helps it to heat up quickly then keep the engine at a regular, constant temperature without overheating as it runs.
A radiator at the end of the system captures and transfers the heat from the fluid into the air. Unfortunately, when you look under the hood to check your fluid, it may still appear clean and clear even though these contaminants rest under the surface, unseen and threatening the life of your engine. Depending on your driving habits, you may need to flush your coolant more often – we recommend every 1-2 years.
These impurities could add up and cause bigger problems before you reach the 100,000 mile check.  Even with “extended life” fluids, you should have these coolants checked frequently. They can collect on the radiator, inside the water pump or thermostat, getting stuck and preventing the components from working appropriately. The location of the oil dipstick depends on whether your vehicle has an in-line engine (rear-wheel drive – image A). The pipe it fits into is curved, and the metal stick bends naturally in the direction of the curve if you put it back in the way it came out.

In addition, check the following fluid levels: brake, automatic transmission, power steering, windshield washer, and coolant. Check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights. Your local council has oil disposal facilities in at least some of its household refuse sites. It also says what the markers on the stick mean and, usually, how much oil is needed to raise the level from minimum to maximum. In addition, the handbook will say it must comply with minimum standards, usually giving an SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) number, which is given somewhere on the oil can, and may say if the engine requires a synthetic oil or one specifically for diesels. Let the engine cool before adding fresh oil and, even then, remember that what drips off the filler cap may be hot. Even if the handbook says how much oil you need, pause every so often to allow the oil to drain down and check the level with the dipstick, after wiping it off each time. It accomplishes this by transferring heat into the air with the help of coolant, or antifreeze, and the other components of the cooling system.
These surprises usually come with significant expenses, hours spent on waiting for road assistance, changing around your personal schedule due to car repairs and many, many more. Make sure each reservoir is full and if you see any sign of fluid leakage, take your vehicle in to be serviced. With new oil it can be difficult to see where it is on the dipstick but older oil is darker so the level can be easily seen.
Diesels are hard on their oil, require different additives to petrol engines and often need synthetic oils to achieve service intervals as long as petrol engines’ intervals.
Oil is usually sold in containers with nedks shaped to make filling easy, but if you have problems, use a funnel or the top cut off a plastic bottle. If the water pump breaks, the system won’t be able to move the water and coolant through the engine.
It could be blank or it could be labeled "Oil Cap" or something similar, and it might even indicate which grade of oil you ought to be using in your car.
Hoses can also react to contaminants, becoming swollen and rusty on the inside even as they appear normal on the outside.
If the oil has deposits like mayonnaise on the dipstick or around the filler cap on top of the engine, it means water is getting from the cooling system into the oil, probably because a gasket has failed. With excess heat, belts that control the cooling system and steering will start cracking, eventually breaking and disabling the systems (imagine a steering belt break, not being able to control your vehicle!).

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