Car oil

I’ve been pretty lax in checking the oil level in the car recently, despite the humungous amount of money such slackness cost me a couple of years ago when it directly led to the whole engine needing replacing, which cost $3000.

But as I had noticed one of the tyres needed inflating, I decided to take a look at the oil.

It was my sister who showed me how to check the oil. See, when I was growing up, we never had a car. My parents didn’t (and still don’t) drive. So my dad never explained the vagaries of the clutch, the art of changing a tyre, why Melburnians drive outside the lane on tram roads, or the ritual of regularly checking the oil. My sister got her car first, and attempted to explain these things to me when I got mine.

So I checked the oil. There certainly seemed to be some there, but it was below the notches signifying normality. Question was, what should I do? I had no idea if I should attempt to change the oil completely (and if so, how?), or just top it up with oil from the supermarket. Thankfully since my sister married Adrian, there is someone who knows a bit more about cars in the family, and he recommended the latter, preferably as soon as possible.

The supermarket had a one litre bottle of oil for $6.87. This seems to have done the trick. And much cheaper than $3000.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

12 replies on “Car oil”

now I know why I’ve enjoyed reading your stories for the past 10 years – you’re as hopeless as me!

One thing my dad instilled in me was a fear of the car running out of oil. To this day, I’m a regular checker of the dip-stick, 25 years after I first drove. LOL. “Dip-stick checker” just the title I really wanted to have. ;)

But seriously, I remember the “Home Improvement” show where Jill let the red light for oil stay on and she seized the engine, requiring a new one. A serious problem, made light, for TV.

Daniel, Daniel, Daniel…. *shakes head sadly* tsk tsk! You need to do a short course on car maintenance. Or just get Adrian to show you how to do a few things.

never ever use supermarket oil.

check and see what oil your car (10w/40 25/30 ?)requires.

spend a few extra $ and get proper oil, i use penrite.

decant a 5 litre container into several 1 litre used oil containers and keep one in the boot.

I bought a new VW Golf a couple of years ago and first time I tried to put oil in it, it involved me sitting in the parking zone at the garage for 20 minutes or so reading the manual trying to work out which hole to put the oil in, then a trip into said garage’s shop to discuss which oil I should purchase and being treated like the mechanical moron that I am. I now find that if I run into my friendly VW service centre they will do this for me – for FREE!!!

I am yet to master the tyre air checking thingy also but someone told me that I can get this done too when I put my car in for regular services – yippee.

All in all, I sympathise with you Daniel.

Ah yes, I should point out that although I bought the oil from the supermarket, it certainly wasn’t supermarket brand oil, but Castrol GTX-2, which according to the bottle, appeared to be suitable for my car. (The sticker placed on the windscreen at the last service also said they’d put Castrol in there.)

They have supermarket brand oil?

If Adrian isn’t available Daniel, just give Rae a call – she once argued with an RACV man about what was wrong with her car, and she was right.

Every so often my Commodore keeps playing its little “oil” tune, but it immediately stops and all is well. Been doing it for a while now.

Your blog entry made me go check the level… it’s WAY down from full, WAY WAY down from full, in fact it’s below the ADD line…

Errrrr, ooops…

So why do Melburnians drive outside the lane on tram roads? I know you have some fun if your tyres end up on the track itself, but I’m not sure what you meant there. *just curious*

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