Oil level and oil change: Lubrication in the car & what you can do yourself

Oil level and oil change: Lubrication in the car & what you can do yourself

Checking the oil level is one of the simplest maintenance tasks. It can be done quickly and provide clear information about the quantity and quality of the lubricant in the engine. When the oil needs to be changed, it is an easy task to do, even for non-professionals. Read in this article how to measure the oil level correctly and what to look out for when changing the oil.

Good engine lubrication is more important than ever!

The oil level and the quality of the lubricant have gained enormous importance in recent years. Nowadays, a single skipped oil change interval may become the death knell for an engine.

There are two reasons for this:

1. The ratio of power per engine capacity has significantly risen in the last 20 years.

ratio of power per engine capacityIn the past you could expect 34-45 hp from a 1.0 litre engine, today this amount has more than doubled. Modern cars get 120 hp and more out of tiny one-litre engines. This is only possible if the compression is also greatly increased. But higher compression means greater stress and thus greater wear on all moving parts. This alone makes a sustained and regular supply of fresh lubricant to the car obligatory.

2. The second reason lies in the modern systems for exhaust gas cleaning.

exhaust gas recirculation valve

The “exhaust gas recirculation valve” directs parts of the burnt fuel-air mixture back into the combustion chamber. This is to lower the combustion temperature, which reduces the production of dangerous NOx molecules. Buy EGR valve safely in proven quality On its way back into the combustion chamber, the exhaust gas enriched with soot particles passes numerous points where it passes by the lubrication system. As a result, some of the particles pass into the engine oil. It is true that a large part of the soot particles is removed from the lubricating oil again in the oil filter. However, if the oil is not changed regularly, the oil becomes too enriched with the abrasive soot particles.

the timing chainOne component that particularly suffers from this is the timing chain. It runs in on the chain links and stretches. The timing then is no longer correct and the whole chain drive will have to be replaced. This is the reason why timing chains today no longer have the service life that used to be normal for this engine control system.

Measuring the oil level correctly

the oil dipstick

The oil level provides information about the amount of lubricant in the oil pan. The tool for this is the oil dipstick. The latter can be found in the engine compartment in a noticeable and easily accessible place. For newer cars, a monthly oil check is sufficient. But up from approx. 50.000 km, the oil should be checked weekly.

A lit up oil check indicator as very clear warning signal

watch oil check indicatorATTENTION: A lit up oil check indicator is a very clear warning signal. In this case, the car should be parked as soon as possible. Otherwise, there is a risk of serious engine damage within a few minutes!

A correct oil level measuring is carried out in the following steps:

correct oil level measuring1. Switch off the engine.
2. Let the car stand for 3-5 minutes.
3. Pull out the dipstick.
4. Wipe the dipstick with a dry, lint-free cloth.
5. Re-insert the dipstick.
6. Pull the dipstick out again.
7. Read off the oil level and visually check the lubricating oil.

read markings on the oil dipstick

There are markings on the oil dipstick. The oil level should always be in the middle range. If the oil is very fresh, it may be difficult to see the oil level. In this case, press the dipstick onto a cloth (do not wipe it off!) and hold the impression next to the mark.

no oil on the dipstickCaution: If there is no oil on the dipstick, but a whitish-brownish foam, then the cylinder head gasket is defective. The car must then be taken to the workshop as quickly as possible to prevent major engine damage.

smell the dipstick when checking the oilTIP: You can also smell the dipstick when checking the oil. If you notice a strong smell of petrol, you should change the oil as soon as possible. Otherwise the oil will become too thin and will no longer fulfil its lubricating function. However, petrol in the oil circuit is a strong indication of worn piston rings or valve stem seals. This should be checked in the second step.

The more is not the better!

Filling a car with too much oil is just as damaging as having too little lubricating oil in the engine.

Therefore, let the engine cool down for a few minutes before you carry out the oil check. The lubricating oil must first run back into the oil pan.

  • If you measure the oil while the engine is running or immediately after you have switched off the car, the oil level will inevitably show up as too low.
  • If you now add too much oil, this may lead to overpressure in the oil system. The oil presses itself past the piston rings into the combustion chamber and is burnt with every working cycle. This is not only harmful to the catalytic converter or the particle filter. It may also damage the engine itself.

Changing the oil yourself

You can change the oil yourself. Order Castrol engine oil at the best price

However, you should pay attention to the cleanliness and the environment. One litre of used oil contaminates one million litres of water and makes it unusable for humans and nature. Therefore, proper disposal of the used oil is an integral part of the oil change.

You require the following to change the oil:

– lifting platform or pit
– collecting container
– oil filter with new seal
– fresh engine oil
– cleaning rags and brake cleaner
– oil filter tool

Changing the oil in the car yourself1. To get the oil completely out, the car should stand up straight. A car jack or a ramp are therefore not suitable aids for this measure.
 
2. A bowl large enough will be sufficient as a collection container. However, we recommend using special oil change containers. These flat containers have a wide, closable funnel on one side. This makes filling with used oil much easier. They also have a screw cap on the front. This makes transferring the oil into the old container particularly easy and spill-free.
 
3. The engine must be warm when changing the oil. This way the lubricating oil becomes thin and flows off better. After the car has been warmed up and is standing over the pit or on the lifting platform, the collecting container is placed under it and the oil plug is opened.
 
4. The oil needs approx. 2-3 minutes to drain off. When the oil flow has dried up, push the collection container to the side and close it. This prevents it from falling over and contaminating the workshop.Buy Mann oil filters online 5. Now change the oil filter. The easiest way to do this is with a suitable socket spanner or an oil filter changing tool. Put the old oil filter in a plastic bag and close it tightly. Now lubricate the new oil filter at the seal with fresh oil and screw it on. Use the oil filter tool to tighten the new oil filter firmly, but just hand-tightly.
 
6. The oil drain plug should also get a new seal and be smeared with fresh oil. Then screw it into place in the oil pan and tighten it as specified.Drain plug - Top offers with 50% discount fill the oil filter with oil before installationTIP: It is not mandatory to fill the oil filter with oil before installation. It does no harm but may cause some contamination. If this is not expressly required by the manufacturer, you can waive pre-filling the oil filter.
 
fill in the prescribed amount of oil7. Now when the car is drained of oil, the fresh oil can be added. When doing this, make sure that you only fill in the prescribed amount of oil.
 
8. The used oil from the oil collection container should be poured into the empty oil canisters. And so, it can now be returned together with the old oil filter to any sales point for lubricating oil, for example a petrol station. The oil cap should be closed, and all dirt be removed with a cloth and brake cleaner.

the oil change is complete 👍

Foto: vivooo, NosorogUA, Zigmunds Dizgalvis, Mr.Music, wellphoto, romarti, icsnaps, Olaf Speier, Dmitry Kalinovsky, PongMoji / shutterstock.com

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