Top 5 tips for keeping your engine oil in check
Updated 12 Oct 2019
You’re probably aware that your engine oil serves to lubricate the internal parts of your engine.
All those metal components rubbing against each other can quickly become damaged or worn out if they aren’t properly lubricated.
But did you know your engine’s oil performs other crucial functions too?
- creates a barrier against corrosion on internal metal parts
- reduces heat-producing friction in your engine to decrease its temperature
- cleans and prevents sludge buildup on internal parts
- forms a seal inside the cylinder for better compression
Your oil is critical to engine health, so it makes sense to stay on top of your engine’s maintenance, including checking your engine oil regularly.
Here are 5 tips for keeping your engine oil in good condition.
1. Check your engine oil level at every fuel fill
Vehicles are more fuel efficient than ever and sometimes it can be 1,000kms or more between fill-ups.
Vehicle manufacturers have different criteria for normal oil consumption, ranging from 1 litre per 1,000 to 2,500kms.
If you don’t check your oil level between oil changes, you could be running dangerously low on oil, or even causing damage unknowingly.
2. Check the visual condition of the oil
New engine oil is a golden honey brown colour and a properly maintained engine will keep the oil brown until near its oil change interval.
Once the oil starts to get almost or fully black, your engine is telling you it’s time to change the oil.
On diesel engines however, the oil may appear black almost instantly. This is due to the increased carbon content created by the combustion temperature compared to a petrol engine.
It may be difficult to determine the condition of the oil just by looking at it, so if it smells like diesel fuel or looks dilated, it may be time for an oil change.
3. Check the smell and feel of the oil
Engine oil in need of changing smells overpoweringly burnt when you sniff it on the dipstick.
It can also feel slightly abrasive when you rub it between your fingers. If it smells burnt or feels gritty, plan to change the engine oil sooner rather than later.
4. Know your maintenance interval
Some engines require oil changes every 5,000kms, while others may require it less frequently at 10,000 or even up to 20,000kms between changes.
Other vehicles feature oil life monitors to tell you when the vehicle needs an oil change. Know what your car requires and book ahead for its service.
5. Be aware of the right grade and viscosity of oil for your car
Does your engine need synthetic oil, semi-synthetic, or will conventional oil suffice?
Check your manufacturers Use the proper grade of oil for your engine to get the longest life and best performance from your engine.
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Finding a passion for cars from a young age, Joel carried out work experience as a mechanic whilst at school before starting an apprenticeship after finishing year 12.
After almost 10 years on the tools and in customer service, he moved into the IT realm as a Data Analyst and In-House mechanic at AutoGuru.