Oil is an essential element for the life of our vehicle's engine. It is in charge of lubricating the moving parts, creating a thin lubricating film so that they do not rub against each other. It is also responsible for cooling the engine by dissipating the heat it generates inside and, not least, cleaning it of carbon or other contaminants that may be generated.

Correct maintenance of the lubricant will provide years of life to the mechanics and will prevent problems and breakdowns. Or what is the same: it will save you money.

The simplest maintenance operation is to routinely check the oil level. It is advisable to check the lubricant at least once every fortnight if we use the car normally. In the event that our use is intensive, this section should be checked regularly. And always do it before embarking on a long trip.

Here is a decalogue on how to check the oil level. It is so simple that you will spend more time reading it than putting it into practice.

1.   The correct level measurement must be made with the oil warm, not cold. To do this, the engine has to be running for 20 to 30 minutes or making a short trip. Turn off the engine, wait a couple of minutes to let the oil return to the crankcase and then measure the level.

2.   In this way to be ensure that the measurement will be correct.

3.  If our vehicle does not have the automatic oil level check function, we can carry out the oil level check ourselves. To do so:

Open the bonnet. To access the engine compartment, pull the lever (usually next to the driver's door, at the bottom of the dashboard). In all modern cars, there is also a second safety lock. Under the ajar bonnet, locate the tab that releases it.

4.   Safety comes first. In the event that the hood does not have shock absorbers to raise it, you must make sure that it is correctly attached.

5.   Locate the oil dipstick. The handle is usually yellow. If in doubt, consult your car's owner's manual.

6.       Cleaning: In order not to get dirty, it is best to wear thin vinyl or plastic gloves and a piece of kitchen paper or clean cloth.

7.       Pull out the dipstick and use the paper to wipe it clean to remove the lubricant. You must locate, at its end, the minimum and maximum marks.

8.       Insert the rod completely. Leave it for a few seconds and remove it. The lubricant stuck to it should be between the maximum and minimum marks.

9.       If the level is correct, leave the dipstick firmly in place by pushing it all the way down.

10. If the level is above the maximum, consult a professional to remove the excess. If the level is below the minimum, locate the oil filler cap, usually black with an oil pan and the word "OIL", add a little oil (following the vehicle manufacturer's recommendation for viscosity grade and quality level) and check the level again. Repeat this operation as many times as necessary, without exceeding the maximum level indicated on the dipstick.

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