Heels & Horsepower Magazine


Ignorance is expensive, and that is evident by the number of female owned vehicles which end up requiring major and expensive repair-work. Being oblivious to the Check Oil warning light leads to severe or irreparable damage yet the solution is quite simple learn how to check the level of engine oil yourself.  

Oil is to an engine what blood is to your body and without it, your engine would cease to operate. It also helps prevent dirt and residue build-up effectively prolonging engine life. When the level of oil in your engine is low the risk of friction caused by metal parts rubbing against each other increases which as you can imagine is not a good thing!

Avoid embarrassment and know where the latch to open the bonnet is!

Fuel station attendants are trained to check and top-up your engine oil, but instead of re-touching your make-up or catching up on social media, next time you stop to refuel,  surprise the attendant, by checking your engine oil level yourself!   Here’s how:

Avoid embarrassment and know where the latch to open the bonnet is!  A surprising number of women simply don’t know and I’ve heard many husbands lament about receiving calls during meetings to give instructions. Similarly, practise physically opening and locking the bonnet in place else it might just fall on your pretty little head!

Depending on the type of vehicle, the dipstick is located towards the front of the engine or further back, towards the windscreen. Either way, it is usually easy to identify by its bright orange ring. 

Carefully pull the dipstick out and note where the film of oil ends in relation to any one of the markers on the dipstick. These could be 2-pinholes or indentations on either or both sides of the dipstick.  Some sticks have the words “Low” / “High” or “Min” / “Max” engraved into them.

Gently wipe off the oil using the paper available near the pumps and slowing insert the dipstick back into its holder. Ideally, a soft, lint-free cloth should be used and if you value the longevity of your engine you may want to keep one in a bag in your boot specifically for this purpose. Sometimes the dipstick gets stuck on the way back in, and you may have to firmly, but gently push it down or pull it out once more and turn it around before re-inserting it.  Be aware that the dipstick is flexible so allow it to bend a little as it follows the curve of its container. 

Hold the dipstick in place for a few seconds then gently pull it out and observe which marker the oil is at. The higher up the marker the oil is the less you need to worry about topping it up, however the further down the dipstick it is, the more likely your engine is in need of more oil. 

NOTE: Before embarking on an engine oil check, read the car’s manual as some manufacturers instruct that oil checks and changes are to be done only by their accredited technicians. 

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