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Topping up Engine Oil for a Newbie


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Hi guys, 

Pretty new to this but was thinking the other day about my engine oil.

It's my first car so have been aware of the basics on checking levels using the dipstick (although a slightly tricky one cos I am not sure why on earth the dipstick is black which makes it harder to read and also my driveway is at a slight gradient which is probably not going to give me an accurate reading?) Is there a particular recommended engine oil for the 2017 (67) Fiesta's? I know on the filler cap it says 'Castrol recommended' and further reading according to the handbook suggests that 5W-20 is the one mine would use, and something about matching Ford standards blah blah 😀

The one I think probably works best is the Castrol Magnatec 5W-20 🤔

I am sure there must be various brands of oil out there, do you tend to stick to one in particular, or it doesn't matter as long it's the correct grade/viscosity?
Is there a risk of mixing different brands of oil?

Also, is it worth to keep like 1L/2L of the oil at home for when a top-up arises, or is this rare between service intervals of the modern Ford's these days? 
Once I have the right oil, I guess I can get someone from a garage to show me how to add and measure up. I don't need any right now, but just planning ahead in-case I do.  

Maybe not as relevant, but I am only driving the car around 8 miles a day, every week day and occasional weekend.

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  • jassingh changed the title to Topping up Engine Oil for a Newbie

You wont get an accurate reading on a gradient like you said.

I generally stick with whatever oil manufacturer the my car recommends (so Castrol for Ford). In reality it doesn't really matter as long as it meets the same spec.

Ask a garage how you top your oil up and they will probably laugh at you haha. I'm pretty certain you need to know this to pass your driving test, but I'll explain anyways.

You take the oil fill cap off, and pour a bit of oil in it, remembering to check the level on the dipstick and stop when it gets near the top. There's no way of measuring how much to top up by, it's just trial and error.

The only spare oil I keep is whatever gets left over from an oil change (not the old stuff, obviously). If you're not going to do your own oil changes there's no point buying a litre just in case as it'll go off by the time you get round to using it lol.

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the level on the dipstick is normally half a litre from top to bottom marks as a very basic guide

don't over fill it

the smaller bottles make it easier to fill up too as you don't then need a spout to put in into first to stop it from going absolutely everywhere

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Can't remember the last car I had that needed a top up between oil changes tbh.

Some engines do burn a bit more than others though so it's always worth keeping an eye on it. :smile:

Top tip if you have a larger bottle, pour it 'sideways' so the bottle is flat, stops it surging/glugging and spilling over the engine. 

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7 minutes ago, TomsFocus said:

Can't remember the last car I had that needed a top up between oil changes tbh.

Some engines do burn a bit more than others though so it's always worth keeping an eye on it. :smile:

Top tip if you have a larger bottle, pour it 'sideways' so the bottle is flat, stops it surging/glugging and spilling over the engine. 

Honda's handbook states that you need to check your oil levels every time you fill it up with fuel so....
i do it at least once a month in all my cars, they don't use it these days but it's always better to be prepared, and not just before a long journey 🙂

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Does the engine need to be hot (ie working temp) to be checked? I know some car manufacturers recommend running the engine to warm it up, then once off, leave it 10 or so mins. I've always checked when cold, but may be doing it wrong. R.T.F.M.

Before you do refill/check level, quite obviously make sure you are on level ground, not a slope.

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12 minutes ago, Jim H said:

Does the engine need to be hot (ie working temp) to be checked? I know some car manufacturers recommend running the engine to warm it up, then once off, leave it 10 or so mins. I've always checked when cold, but may be doing it wrong. R.T.F.M.

Before you do refill/check level, quite obviously make sure you are on level ground, not a slope.

i've always checked them cold as some engines take ages to drain the oil back to the sump

and overfilling engines these days can cause more problems than you would expect

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20 minutes ago, Dojj said:

Honda's handbook states that you need to check your oil levels every time you fill it up with fuel so....
i do it at least once a month in all my cars, they don't use it these days but it's always better to be prepared, and not just before a long journey 🙂

Not seen it in a handbook, but I could well imagine checking and topping oil up on a Mazda Rotary (RX7/RX8) every fuel stop is necessary. The nature of those engines means they burn oil.

I don't think my level went down last year, although I'm sure the Coolant did.

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It might say on the service sheet what oil they used on the last service- not a bad shout to have a litre bottle in the car or garage just incase

I usually give mine a dip when I top up the washer bottle

As others have said on the flat with a cold engine

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12 hours ago, Luke4efc said:

You wont get an accurate reading on a gradient like you said.

I generally stick with whatever oil manufacturer the my car recommends (so Castrol for Ford). In reality it doesn't really matter as long as it meets the same spec.

Ask a garage how you top your oil up and they will probably laugh at you haha. I'm pretty certain you need to know this to pass your driving test, but I'll explain anyways.

You take the oil fill cap off, and pour a bit of oil in it, remembering to check the level on the dipstick and stop when it gets near the top. There's no way of measuring how much to top up by, it's just trial and error.

The only spare oil I keep is whatever gets left over from an oil change (not the old stuff, obviously). If you're not going to do your own oil changes there's no point buying a litre just in case as it'll go off by the time you get round to using it lol.

Good tip! I was actually never even asked to open the bonnet as far as I recall lol but good thing to know I guess. 
And does oil actually go off? Surely some must be in bottles for months/years even? 

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1 hour ago, jassingh said:

 

Good tip! I was actually never even asked to open the bonnet as far as I recall lol but good thing to know I guess. 
And does oil actually go off? Surely some must be in bottles for months/years even? 

There are about 30 'show me/tell me' vehicle related questions they can ask on the test but only pick out a few.  If you learnt with an instructor they should have prepared you for all of the questions, one is about checking oil.  I had to show how to open the bonnet and check the brake fluid level on mine. :smile: 

Oil doesn't really go off even once open as long as it's stored in a sealed container.  There is a date stamp on the bottle but it's the manufacture date so it can be traced if there's ever any need for recalls.

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On 2/22/2021 at 6:34 PM, jassingh said:

Hi guys, 

Pretty new to this but was thinking the other day about my engine oil.

It's my first car so have been aware of the basics on checking levels using the dipstick (although a slightly tricky one cos I am not sure why on earth the dipstick is black which makes it harder to read and also my driveway is at a slight gradient which is probably not going to give me an accurate reading?) Is there a particular recommended engine oil for the 2017 (67) Fiesta's? I know on the filler cap it says 'Castrol recommended' and further reading according to the handbook suggests that 5W-20 is the one mine would use, and something about matching Ford standards blah blah 😀

The one I think probably works best is the Castrol Magnatec 5W-20 🤔

I am sure there must be various brands of oil out there, do you tend to stick to one in particular, or it doesn't matter as long it's the correct grade/viscosity?
Is there a risk of mixing different brands of oil?

Also, is it worth to keep like 1L/2L of the oil at home for when a top-up arises, or is this rare between service intervals of the modern Ford's these days? 
Once I have the right oil, I guess I can get someone from a garage to show me how to add and measure up. I don't need any right now, but just planning ahead in-case I do.  

Maybe not as relevant, but I am only driving the car around 8 miles a day, every week day and occasional weekend.

Ford M2C948-B 5w-20 spec is hte one you need.

As long as it meets that and from a reputable brand all will be good.

Cheers,

Guy

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