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Car Maintenance : Checking your oil

Jason Dawe talks about the importance of checking your oil level!

A good friend of mine, not at all mechanically minded, once owned a little Ford Fiesta for several years. During this time it gave him no problems, until one hot summer’s day, coming back from the beach, the engine overheated, making a terrible noise, before seizing up, breaking down at the side of the road.

When the breakdown service arrived the mechanic asked when he last checked the oil, to be met with a blank look. Opening the bonnet for him (said friend freely admitted he didn’t know where the release catch was) it was found that the oil filler cap was seized solid onto an engine which had obviously run dry of oil. it was doubtful it had ever been opened in the three years that my friend had owned the car. The engine was ruined and the resultant bill was so expensive that his ’cheap’ little Fiesta had to be scrapped!

With many new cars having a service interval of 20,000 miles, it is quite possible to drive for a couple of years without ever taking the time to check your oil level, working on the assumption that the manufacturer knows best and there is no need for you to ‘dip the stick’ on your increasingly rare forays under the bonnet of your new car. Less than a third of motorists check their oil on a monthly basis.

The average repair bill for an engine that has run out of oil is just over £1,200 - If you rely on the oil light as a warning, or wait for the vehicle to be serviced, you are taking a real risk.

With the cost of an oil change at around a tenner if you do it yourself, or around £20-25 if you take it to the garage, it’s not going to break the bank, and it will pay huge dividends with the longevity of the engine…

Oils well that ends well…? (groan!)

Happy Motoring!


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