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Topping up the oil


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#1 Natalie1310

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 07:41 AM

I'm just being paranoid here due to the large amount of problems my car has given me. It has been extremely well behaved this winter despite the severe cold and I don't want to ruin things now! Never having done this before myself I'm a little scared of doing it. Yesterday when filling up my washer fluid bottle I'd thought I'd check all my other levels as well to discover my oil level is right on the minimum mark so I need to top up. No idea how long it's been like that so I am a little scared of driving it now although I have no choice as I have to drive it everyday to work. Might pop down to Halfords to go buy some at lunch time today. Now what I am unsure about is will I get away with just topping it up not knowing what oil my garage put in or is mixing oils not a good idea? So is draining the oil totally and then putting in new a better idea?

On a side note which I should probably ask somewhere else I have a few minor problems with my electrics which I am suspecting a fuse has gone and maybe a loose wire. Probably will get it checked out in the next few weeks but as they are so minor I'm in no hurry.
1. When opening the door with my headlights on I'm no longer getting a warning sound.
2. The first time I put my car in reverse the reverse light doesn't appear to come on until I've moved a few feet. After that it comes on fine every time.
3. Occasionally the lights in the central console do not come on (heater lights). I give it a bash and it comes on. The heater itself is working fine.
4. Interior light when opening the door - this is no longer coming on for either driver or passenger doors. The switch is definitely in the correct position. Pressing the button in the door does turn the light on but if you then close the door and open it again the light fails to come on.

Any ideas? 1996 mk3 Fiesta by the way

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#2 sobaka

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 09:22 AM

Hi Natalie,
I would not worry too much about oil at the min level. it is still acceptable if it is really at the min mark, not below. I have also discovered that it is not that evident checking the oil on the ford cars (newer ones). The correct reading will be obtained on the second attempt on the cold motor. I mean get the rod out, wipe it with cloth, put it in place then get it out again. Often on the first attempt it is always at min but on the secong it shows you almost full (the case of my 2 litre duratec). Too much oil is as bad as too little.

If need to top, there is no rocket sience just get youself a 0.5 or a liter can of oil (specs of oil are in the manual, I would think it is semi-syntetic 15w30) and add some. I think there should be around half a litre between the min and max marks, please correctme somebody if I am wrong.

Good luck

#3 Steve

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 09:44 AM

from min to max is about 1 litre of oil. This may vary per car, but adding half a 1 litre bottle and you cant go wrong... let it settle and see what the levels are then.

#4 SierraYankee99

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 12:16 PM

Hi Natalie,
I would not worry too much about oil at the min level. it is still acceptable if it is really at the min mark, not below. I have also discovered that it is not that evident checking the oil on the ford cars (newer ones). The correct reading will be obtained on the second attempt on the cold motor. I mean get the rod out, wipe it with cloth, put it in place then get it out again. Often on the first attempt it is always at min but on the secong it shows you almost full (the case of my 2 litre duratec). Too much oil is as bad as too little.

If need to top, there is no rocket sience just get youself a 0.5 or a liter can of oil (specs of oil are in the manual, I would think it is semi-syntetic 15w30) and add some. I think there should be around half a litre between the min and max marks, please correctme somebody if I am wrong.

Good luck


Wrong on most counts but nice try lol. I would top it up straight away. Its not marked minimum cos its ok to go below that. Its minimum because thats the least amount of oil its safe to run your engine with. Secondly, zetec engines use 5w30 semi or fully synthetic oil across the range, even the diesels. Finally as already stated, theres approx half a litre between min and max. Certainly remove the dipstick wipe and replace then take a reading. Reading first time will give a false reading as when the engines been running previously, the oil moves so will show higher on the stick than it really is. Also remember to read it with the car stood on flat and level ground. Seems obvious but some people do check oil with the car stood on a hill lol. Even a road with a extreme camber can alter the apparent level.



from min to max is about 1 litre of oil. This may vary per car, but adding half a 1 litre bottle and you cant go wrong... let it settle and see what the levels are then.



Not really the best advice. If someones asked how to check the oil then clearly they don't know how to do it. If she puts far too much oil in (which a litre will be for a fiesta on minimum) she'll run the risk of blowing seals and gaskets throughout the whole engine and causing serious damage. Not teaching you to suck eggs, I see this is your house we're playing in. But you dont wanna be leaving yourself and your club liable if she does what she thinks you've said and ends up damaging her engine.

#5 sobaka

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 12:54 PM

Wrong on most counts but nice try lol. I would top it up straight away. Its not marked minimum cos its ok to go below that. Its minimum because thats the least amount of oil its safe to run your engine with. Secondly, zetec engines use 5w30 semi or fully synthetic oil across the range, even the diesels. Finally as already stated, theres approx half a litre between min and max. Certainly remove the dipstick wipe and replace then take a reading. Reading first time will give a false reading as when the engines been running previously, the oil moves so will show higher on the stick than it really is. Also remember to read it with the car stood on flat and level ground. Seems obvious but some people do check oil with the car stood on a hill lol. Even a road with a extreme camber can alter the apparent level.



Cheers for that :D
yes agree completely oil below min is very bad, oil above the top is no better. Anything between the two including the marks is Ok. Thanks for correction, don't know what made me add this 1 to 5w30 :huh:

#6 Natalie1310

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 07:25 PM

Electrical problems turned out to just be cold minus the heater lights not coming on unless I bash them which has been a problem for a long time.

As far as the oil goes.

1. I know what oil I can use.
2. I know how to put oil in the car
3. I know how to check how much oil I have
4. I know the dangers of running on the minimum mark and having too much.

My question was not knowing what oil my mechanic put in when he serviced it back in October is it ok for me to just top it up with the new stuff or is it better that it's drained so oils aren't mixed? I'm just extremely paranoid due to the amount of troubles this car has given me since owning it (it hates the winter). And as I said this winter it has really behaved itself and I don't want to ruin that now.

#7 S-Max Bob

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 07:43 PM

Electrical problems turned out to just be cold minus the heater lights not coming on unless I bash them which has been a problem for a long time.

As far as the oil goes.

1. I know what oil I can use.
2. I know how to put oil in the car
3. I know how to check how much oil I have
4. I know the dangers of running on the minimum mark and having too much.

My question was not knowing what oil my mechanic put in when he serviced it back in October is it ok for me to just top it up with the new stuff or is it better that it's drained so oils aren't mixed? I'm just extremely paranoid due to the amount of troubles this car has given me since owning it (it hates the winter). And as I said this winter it has really behaved itself and I don't want to ruin that now.


you will be fine topping up with new oil most cars use a little oil (some more than others :lol: ) aslong as you put the right grade in which you know anyway. as the other post say just keep an eye on it, if it using more and more between services get it checked could be getting old and seal could be warn or there could be a wee leak.

good luck,

#8 SierraYankee99

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 09:36 PM

Electrical problems turned out to just be cold minus the heater lights not coming on unless I bash them which has been a problem for a long time.

As far as the oil goes.

1. I know what oil I can use.
2. I know how to put oil in the car
3. I know how to check how much oil I have
4. I know the dangers of running on the minimum mark and having too much.

My question was not knowing what oil my mechanic put in when he serviced it back in October is it ok for me to just top it up with the new stuff or is it better that it's drained so oils aren't mixed? I'm just extremely paranoid due to the amount of troubles this car has given me since owning it (it hates the winter). And as I said this winter it has really behaved itself and I don't want to ruin that now.



Thanks but I am aware would have sufficed. From your original post you made it sound like you had no idea. I'll move onto the next thread next time. Sorry for trying to help.

#9 Natalie1310

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Posted 13 January 2009 - 07:31 AM

you will be fine topping up with new oil most cars use a little oil (some more than others :lol: ) aslong as you put the right grade in which you know anyway. as the other post say just keep an eye on it, if it using more and more between services get it checked could be getting old and seal could be warn or there could be a wee leak.

good luck,

I put in 10w40 last night. The choice was either 10w40 or 15w40 and the little handbook laying next to the oil in the shop also suggested the 10w40 stuff so I'll see how it goes this morning. Indeed I'm a little worried as to where the oil went. I've never had to top it up myself before. Then again I had a lot of starting problems last winter so it ended up at the garage a lot with oil changes and having a whole new sump fitted. But it didn't dissapear during the summer so who knows.

Thanks but I am aware would have sufficed. From your original post you made it sound like you had no idea. I'll move onto the next thread next time. Sorry for trying to help.


No it's fine. Having reminders is a good thing. Also helps those that may read this in the future that do not know. It was just a case of know one had really answered my question. Yes it was stated just top it up but not does it matter that the old oil is possibly different. I was just purely paranoid as it's such a temperamental car and has given me so much trouble in the year that I have owned it. Really it's time for a new one.

Thanks for the help everyone anyway. It's put my mind at ease.


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