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Engine oil in a vehicle functions to lubricate the piston ring around the cylinder and all internal components of an engine. Ensure that your car reaches its optimum operating temperature by turning on the engine and letting it idle for 15 min and then letting it cool for a good few minutes. This simple DIY on how to check your car’s oil level saves you on expensive engine overhaul and repairs. The initial cost of the vehicle, along with periodical maintainance costs like the oil change price can really hurt your budget, so you have to figure out all of these expenses before making the actual purchase. An approximate price for the oil and the labor will be around $25, although an exact cost depends on where you go for the oil change and the type of oil you’ll get.
When you go into the shop for an oil change, you’ll notice exactly how low the oil in your car is.
If they’ll notice that other fluids are too low, they will refill them for you, especially if they feel that not changing them will put you and others in danger. As an estimate, people usually end up spending anywhere from $20 to $40 for the full job, although there are a lot of shops that offer deals and coupons that could take the price to lower numbers.
The engine oil has two functions: it lubricates moving parts and helps dissipate the heat produced by combustion. NRMA motoring expert Tim Pomroy on how to check your car's oil and water a€“ it could save your engine!
Accurate warning lights and the improved reliability of the modern car mean that checking under the bonnet has become a less frequent pastime for drivers.
The modern engine might also look a bit different from the cars we used to drive, but the basics are the same. Visit your local NRMA MotorServe store where we can give you the right advice on checking your oil and water in store or at the time of servicing.
No-one wants to end up on the side of the road with smoke pouring out of their engine, although sadly this often happens due to the owner not carrying out simply tasks, like checking the oil and water at regular intervals. By doing so you are more likely to prevent this from happening as you will be alerted to a potential problem early and can seek advice from your mechanic or garage. Oil keeps the engine of the car lubricated, thereby keeping it clean and preventing it from overheating; you should always keep an eye on your temperature gauge when driving.
To check the oil you should locate the dipstick and have a clean cloth or paper towel at hand. You will need either ramps of jack stands to support the vehicle, old rag to soak up stray oil, wrench to undo the oil plug, wrench to undo the oil filter and an oil tray to catch the oil when you drain it.Find a level piece of solid ground and raise the part of the vehicle with the engine in it (front or back) off the ground by either driving it up the ramps you have or lifting it with a jack and placing the jack stands on part of the frame under the car. If the engine has been running for a while, the oil will be hot so be careful.Put a piece of cardboard under the car and put the oil collection tray on top of that. When you head out of the driving test centre waiting room towards your car, the examiner will conduct and eye sight test and when you arrive at your car, the examiner will ask you the Show Me Tell Me questions. Listed below are the frequent questions by learner drivers asked about the Show Me Tell Me questions, a printable version , plus the actual Show Me Tell Me questions and answers used by the examiners. 1) Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained whilst the engine is started, should result in slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. 2) Turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assisted steering is functioning correctly. Show Me Tell Me answer 14 explains there should be a minimum of 1.6mm of tyre tread depth to remain safe and legal whilst driving. Show Me Tell Me answer 1 explains you should Identify the engine coolant tank and to check the minimum and maximum level indicator. Checking your windscreen washer reservoir and keeping it full is important as suggested in Show Me Tell Me answer 5. More than anything, the basic oil change is a great way to connect with your vehicle and take some control over its maintenance. Before heading to the auto parts store to buy supplies, consult the owner's manual to confirm the type and amount of oil that's required.
Check to see if the manual calls out other specific oil requirements as defined by the by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Lubricant Standardization Approval Committee (ILSAC.) Sometimes synthetic oil is expressly called for.
In addition to oil, you'll need an oil filter, an oil-filter removal wrench, a wrench to remove the drain plug, a funnel, a drain pan and some gloves. Band-type filter wrenches are more familiar, but they can be frustrating to use if you don't have enough space — especially if the old filter was over-tightened. In this case, the plug and filter are far apart, meaning I must reposition the drain pan after I drain the oil and before I remove the filter.
If yours is one of the growing numbers of new cars with a top-mount cartridge filter, the following oil-drain and refill steps are the same, but the filter change process is not. Go slowly as you remove the drain plug and keep your hands away from the expected path of the oil. The drain plug is properly tightened if you use the box end of a combination wrench and tighten it as much as you can without using a hammer or slipping a pipe over the wrench for extra leverage. Use rags to clean as much oil away as you can, paying special attention to the filter sealing surface. After you reconfirm that the oil drain bolt and filter are both in place and properly tightened, it's time to add oil. It reduces friction between the piston and cylinder walls when engine is operational thus preventing engine seizure.  The secret in prolonging your engine life is never to skim on quality engine oil. Professional wokshops will charge more especially when they’ll add up costs for different services, some of them being less important or easily done by yourself at home, so make sure you know exactly what you pay for.
Although the final price is usually around the same numbers, there are still some variables that will need to be taken into account. First thing you need to do is find out if your car needs synthetic oil or any similar synthetic blend, because this oil is more expensive. Expect to pay more for brand name oil or higher grade oils, but, usually, it is better to go for a high quality product. It is a lot of work and in the end, if you do all of the work yourself, you’ll only save about $10 in labor costs. If you’ve worked with any local shop or mechanic in the past and they have done a great job, try to take your car there. If you have bigger things you need fixed or repaired, you can negociate getting the oil change for free.
Searching for discounts and deals or negociating with big shops can take the price to as low as $10.
Listed here are some of the businesses that make up the National Roads and Motorists'A Association family of businesses, products and services. With more and more cars requiring specific lubricants and fluids, it's the best way to ensure that you put the correct spec oil in your car. Wait for a few minutes after you turn the engine off, and park on a level piece of roadway for the oil to settle. The easiest way is to check the plastic reserve tank that's connected to the cooling system. Normally located at the back or side of the engine bay, the brake fluid reservoir is usually made of plastic with a high and low marking on the side. Please use newer version of your browser or visit Internet Explorer 6 countdown page for more information. If your car does not have sufficient oil or indeed too much, the engine can then be put under unwanted stress and damage can occur which can be costly. The cardboard will catch any oil that escapes.Crawl under the car and locate the drain plug in the Oil Pan.
Note that the oil will not come straight down but come a little way out before it hits the ground.


Whether you answer them incorrectly or fail to answer them at all, you will not fail the test. If you answer one or even both of the Show Me Tell Me questions incorrect, you will incur only one minor from a possible 15. Most driving tests are failed due to serious faults and not exceeding the 15 minors allowed, so if you get the Show Me Tell Me questions by answering incorrectly, simply forget about it and concentrate on the driving part of the test that will follow directly after the Show Me Tell Me questions and answers. There are 13 possible combinations that are on offer to the examiners from the possible 19 questions. Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check the engine has the correct level. Identify the engine coolant tank and check the minimum and maximum level indicator displayed on the side of the tank. Open the car bonnet, identify where the brake fluid reservoir tank is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid. Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check that the engine has sufficient oil. Identify the dipstick, remove the dipstick and wipe clean the end where the minimum and maximum level indicator is and fully reinsert. Open the bonnet, identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you check the level? Identify reservoir tank, lift off cap and make a visual check of level as there are no external markings on windscreen washer reservoirs. Show me how you would check that the brake lights are working on the car (examiner can help). I would then walk around the car (view from pavement if on roadside) to check both front and rear tail lights are working correctly. Activate the indicators or hazard warning lights and walk around the car to see if all the indicators are working correctly. Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked. Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash. The head restraint should be adjusted so the centre part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable.
Tell me how you would check the tyres to show that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road. Operate control and hold for approximately 3 seconds to wash and wipe windscreen (turn ignition on if necessary).
Show me how you would set the demister controls to clear all the windows effectively, this should include both front and rear screens. Warning light should illuminate on dashboard if there is a fault with the anti-lock braking system.
Show me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you would know the main beam is on whilst inside the car.
Each make of car will have a different looking coolant tank but will look similar to the one above. Show Me Tell Me answer is to locate the dipstick which will look very similar to the picture above. It’s surprisingly easy to forget about this and the last thing you need is to be driving on a motorway with your windscreen getting increasingly muddy with no means to clean it. It's a simple process that requires few tools, and it's a sure way to save some money while you avoid the hassle of sitting in a dull waiting room somewhere reading outdated magazines. The time you spend under the hood and under the car affords you an excellent opportunity to look around and see if anything else needs attention. You may also need to raise the car to gain access, in which case you'll need a floor jack and safety stands, or a pair of purpose-made steel ramps.
Also, my drain pan has a screw-on lid and pour spout, which makes it easier to transport and recycle the old oil.
Wrenches like that are available at most auto parts stores for a few dollars and they snap onto the end of any common three-eighth-inch-drive ratchet. Let the car sit so the exhaust system cools off some, but don't allow things to go stone cold. Some newer cars have these aerodynamic covers to improve fuel economy and keep things clean.
For this reason, I'm going to completely finish draining and replugging the engine before I work on the filter. It's important to place the drain pan under the drain plug — but not directly under it. You've held your thumb atop a drinking straw filled with water to keep it from running out, right?
The hex end on a typical drain plug is almost always a common size that comes in a standard tool assortment, but even the domestic carmakers tend to use metric in the 14-17mm range.
Theoretically, there is a torque specification for drain plugs, but they're almost never published in the owner's manual. A standard-length three-eighth-inch drive ratchet will work if you choke up on it a bit, but anything longer or larger can lead you down the path of over-tightening.
Generally, oil filters are tightened no more than three-quarters of a turn to a full turn beyond the point where the O-ring first contacts the sealing surface. Run the engine for 30 seconds or so to circulate the new oil, then shut it down and check your work area underneath the car for leaks. Because I short-filled it slightly, it was no surprise that I had to add a little more oil.
Always ensure there is sufficient clean oil in your engine by constantly checking the level on the dip stick.
Wear Leather gloves when putting your hands near other engine component as it might scald you. Pull the stick all the way out and then proceed to clean the oil using a rag or newspaper until all traces of oil is removed.
Most vehicles don’t require this type of oil to be used, even if it has extra qualities and seems better. Professional stores charge you additional costs for every quart of oil you need and they will usually check all your fluid levels before staring the work.
This is a way to save money, but if you haven’t done it in the past it will seem like a lot of work for just a few bucks.
By going to someone you already know, you will trust their work, and it may get you a discount for being a loyal customer.
Not having a periodical oil change can damage your car in time which means a lot more money spent on the long run.
If it’s been a while since your last oil change, consider booking an appointment for your next oil change. 5W-20, 0W-20 or 5W-30) is usually marked on the engine oil cap or you can find it in your owner’s manual. Before you remove the dipstick, make sure you look closely at its entry point into the engine a€“ or you may not be able to reinsert it a€“ and then wipe with a clean cloth or paper towel. On the side of the reservoir will be a low and high mark and the coolant level should be between the two marks.
Normally the fluid will sit between these graduations, and vary slightly as the brake pads wear. Checking these levels regularly is beneficial and can be done easily, although if you are in any doubt your garage or mechanic will do this for you. As stated already oil in the engine acts as a lubricant, and helps the car run at its best.


There will be two marks on the dipstick, one for the low level of oil, and one for the high level. Think of it this way, if I gave you a large lake to drink out of would you want fresh water to flow into it or would you rather drink stagnant smelly water. 16 minors or more on the driving test counts as a fail or 3 minors within the same category for example, three minors due to inappropriate use of indicators will count as a serious fault. Once you have taken a look through the questions and answers, test yourself with the Show Me Tell Me quiz. Operating the hazard warning lights is the preferred method as the ignition will not need to be switched on. When it is fully applied it should secure itself and not be at the end of its working travel. Legally, the tread depth must be at least 1.6mm across the central ? of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference and can be measured using a tread depth gauge. If asked this question on a driving test, ensure your windscreen is left clean after the initial clean. Check the minimum and maximum level indicators for your dipstick and not letting the engine oil fall too close the minimum. Five-quart jugs are tempting because they are cheaper than smaller sizes, but I find them heavy and hard to pour steadily. If I had read the manual carelessly, though, I could easily have brought home 5W-20 instead.
There are many sizes, but it's easy to make sure you buy the right one if you match the wrench to the filter right there in the store. Oftentimes you don't need to remove tires, but I did it anyway so our photographer, Elon Schoenholz, could have a clear view of things. If these elements were closer (or if my pan were bigger) I could begin removing the filter while the last of the oil was still dribbling out. The angle of the drain plug will cause the oil to stream out at an angle, so I'm offsetting the pan to that side by several inches.
It's not quite the same here, because oil would still drain with the oil filler cap on, but it does seem to flow out more smoothly and quickly with the cap removed. A three-eighth-inch drive ratchet is perfectly fine, of course, as long as you remind yourself not to use its extra leverage to over-tighten the drain plug when you put it back later. Even if you do find the spec, it's unlikely that the half-inch drive torque wrench you bought to tighten lug nuts will go low enough for this job. This rarely happens nowadays, but it's one of those things you check anyway because a double stack of O-rings won't seal, allowing your new oil to pump out and ruin your engine. I'm spinning the filter on gently until the O-ring makes first contact with the sealing surface. You can go to a full turn if you can manage it by hand, but don't resort to a filter wrench just because you want to tighten it more than the recommended amount. As usual, you'll know the level is full when the oil comes up to the upper hole or hash mark. Once you've done an oil change a couple times and you are familiar with your car's idiosyncrasies, the whole job takes less than 30 minutes.
When totally cleaned, place the dip stick back to its original position then pull it all the way out again.
Once satisfied, remove the funnel and screw the engine cap on and start your engine to allow oil circulation to all internal engine components. The average working Joe doesn’t afford not to change the oil periodically, if you ask us.
Hold the rag or towel under the lower end of the dipstick so the oil won’t drip onto the engine.
Oil also lubricates pistons moving up and down in the cylinders as well as all other moving parts of the engine. Marked towards the lower end are the high- and low-level markings, and the engine oil should always be between these two points. It's always good practice to check the coolant level on the radiator via the radiator cap, with one important proviso a€“ this should always be done when the engine is cold. If the level is continuously low and dropping there could be a leak in the braking system that requires immediate mechanical attention.
If the oil levels become too low, there will not be enough lubricant and your engine can burn out quickly, often referred to as a seized engine. Look at where the oil is on the markings and this will let you know if you need to add Oil. Then twist until the Oil Filter seal touches the end of the Oil Filter mount - should look like the Oil Filter is all the way on. To do this, unscrew the tank cap when the engine is cold and pour in coolant until the maximum mark is reached.
Explain that fog lights must only be used in foggy, low visibility conditions and must be turned off when fog disperses.
Allowing the coolant level to fall below the minimum for long periods can cause overheating and damage your car.
If nothing else, taking the cap off now serves as a reminder to put the new oil in before you start the engine. This is another reason why it's best not to change oil when the engine and its oil are piping hot. If your drain plug does need a replacement washer, make sure the old one isn't stuck to the engine's oil pan — you don't want to inadvertently stack a new washer atop the old one.
In most cases you'll only need a filter wrench for tightening if access is too tight or if your hands are too oily for a solid grip. If you stockpile oil and filters in your garage, you'll save both time and money compared to going to a mechanic. Another option is to visit your dealer or repair shop and have them top up your oil for you. Insert the dipstick back into the tube and then remove to see where the level has registered. Removing the cap when the engine is hot can cause coolant to spray out under pressure, seriously scalding you. Too much oil can have a similar effect, as the overflow of oil will be whipped into foam by the crankshaft and leak into other parts of the engine, this can also lead to low oil pressure. If the Oil is between the low and the high mark then you are okay and do not need to add oil. When putting more oil into the engine, pour in small amounts at a time whilst frequently checking the dipstick to ensure you do not overfill with oil. And once you get comfortable with the basic oil change, a whole slew of other maintenance tasks begin to seem within easy reach. First, check your owner’s manual, as it contains the proper instructions and safety precautions.
If it's not between the points, add the correct specification oil via the engine oil filler cap located on the top of the engine.
If the level is low you can add coolant, again checking the owner's handbook for the correct recommendation. The Explorer does, but it's held in place with four twist-release clips that don't require any tools for removal.




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