Tips on check­ing oil and wa­ter lev­els

Lesotho Times - - Motlo -

AC­CU­RATE warn­ing lights and the im­proved re­li­a­bil­ity of the mod­ern car mean that check­ing un­der the bon­net has be­come a less fre­quent pas­time for driv­ers. How­ever, most man­u­fac­tur­ers agree that you should reg­u­larly check oil and wa­ter lev­els.

The mod­ern en­gine might also look a bit dif­fer­ent from the cars we used to drive, but the ba­sics are the same. Open the bon­net and you’ll find the en­gine’s oil dip­sticks are clearly marked with a bright plas­tic cov­er­ing. Once you know where it’s po­si­tioned, the check be­comes as sim­ple as on your old car from the ‘80s or ‘90s!

Be­come familiar with your car’s owner’s hand­book. With more and more cars re­quir­ing spe­cific lubri­cants and flu­ids, it’s the best way to en­sure that you put the cor­rect spec oil in your car. The same goes for coolant and brake fluid.

Oil checks are sim­ple and quick. Wait for a few min­utes af­ter you turn the en­gine off, and park on a level piece of road­way for the oil to set­tle. Be­fore you re­move the dip­stick, make sure you look closely at its en­try point into the en­gine — or you may not be able to rein­sert it — and then wipe with a clean cloth or pa­per towel. Marked to­wards the lower end are the high- and low-level mark­ings, and the en­gine oil should al­ways be be­tween these two points. In­sert the dip­stick back into the tube and then re­move to see where the level has reg­is­tered. If it’s not be­tween the points, add the cor­rect spec­i­fi­ca­tion oil via the en­gine oil filler cap lo­cated on the top of the en­gine.

Check­ing the coolant level is just as sim­ple. The eas­i­est way is to check the plas­tic re­serve tank that’s con­nected to the cool­ing sys­tem. On the side of the reser­voir will be a low and high mark and the coolant level should be be­tween the two marks.

It’s al­ways good prac­tice to check the coolant level on the ra­di­a­tor via the ra­di­a­tor cap, with one im­por­tant pro­viso — this should al­ways be done when the en­gine is cold. Re­mov­ing the cap when the en­gine is hot can cause coolant to spray out un­der pres­sure, se­ri­ously scald­ing you. If the level is low you can add coolant, again check­ing the owner’s hand­book for the cor­rect rec­om­men­da­tion.

You should also check your brake fluid level reg­u­larly. Nor­mally lo­cated at the back or side of the en­gine bay, the brake fluid reser­voir is usu­ally made of plas­tic with a high and low mark­ing on the side. Nor­mally the fluid will sit be­tween these grad­u­a­tions, and vary slightly as the brake pads wear. If the level is con­tin­u­ously low and drop­ping there could be a leak in the brak­ing sys­tem that re­quires im­me­di­ate me­chan­i­cal at­ten­tion.

Don’t rely on the car’s warn­ing in­di­ca­tor lamps. A few min­utes check­ing un­der the bon­net could save you a lot of grief!

— Myn­rma

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.