Weekly Checks: Checking your vehicle fluid levels

  • Published: 23 April 2020
  • Weekly Checks: Checking your vehicle fluid levels

OK hands up, who actually does this?

Following on from our Winter Driving post, we thought we’d write a post that will only take you 3 mins a week to give your car a basic health check and possibly save you from some very big bills that even the warranty won’t cover if you fail to check the oil level is OK.

Before we start, it’s best to have the vehicle parked on a level surface and ideally cooled down from driving. Two reasons for this;

  1. Always best to check fluid levels on a flat surface to get an accurate reading.
  2. Some engine bay components can get hot, so best to let them cool down before putting your hands under the bonnet.

Opening the Bonnet

Open the passenger door and look in the foot well locate the red level and pull it gently till you hear the bonnet clunk open.

Next go around the front of the car, lift the bonnet slightly and feel in the centre of the gap between the bonnet and the bumper for the metal tab and push this to the right whilst lifting the bonnet at the same time.

Once open, use the bonnet stay (located on the drivers-side wing) to prop the bonnet open. It locates by placing the free-end into the hole in the underside of the bonnet.

You should now see your engine and associated touch points which we are now going to check.

Checking the Oil Level

Take a bit of clean paper towel and locate the dipstick. This usually has a Red or Yellow coloured plastic “pull-ring” on it.

Pull this until it releases and extract it from the engine, using your paper towel as you go to catch any oil droplets.

Once clean, insert it back into the engine slowly until fully seated back in place. Don’t “jiggle” it in and out as this may cause an inacurate reading!

If the oil is showing within the “Min” and “Max” level of the dip stick (sometimes shown as a flattened knurled area on the end of the stick) the it is fine. If its nearing the tip, it’s probably about time to top it up using the correct oil for your engine shown in the owner’s manual. If you are unsure then pop into Monza Sport Service team and we can check it for you.

The below image shows an oil level which is around 3/4 full.

If topping up yourself, allow time for the new oil to drain into the sump (usually 3-5 mins) before re-checking the level. Once happy with the level, push the dipstick back in fully to the engine.

Checking the Radiator Coolant Level

Next move on and check the coolant – NB* NEVER remove the cap from the expansion tank if the engine has been driven and hot/warm! The system is pressurised, and near boiling hot coolant will rush out if you do! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!

Look down between the radiator (front of engine bay) and the engine and you can see the levels marked on the bottle. TIP – A torch can be handy to see the levels if you’re having trouble seeing them since the bottle is opaque.

Brake Fluid Checks

A common one to forget this one, but as important (if not the most) to make sure it is sufficiently topped up to the right level. The reservoir is usually found up near the bulkhead of the engine bay with a Yellow or Black cap.

Use your torch again to check where the fluid is between max and minimum markings which is embossed on the bottle.

Screen Wash Levels

And finally check the screen wash is full. It’s usually a Blue cap mounted inside one of the front wings (there’s no way to check the level so just keep adding fluids/water). If you like to add the appropriate anti-freeze screen wash solution to prevent it icing up and help clean the screen, this is the time to do it.

Finishing Up

Before you close the bonnet, double check that all the caps are tight and replaced on the correct locations and no tools or paper towels are left under the bonnet. Take the bonnet stay out of the mounting hole and replace back in its holding clip securely. Close the bonnet, making sure it is fully closed and flush back with the bodywork of the vehicle.

If you have any questions or see anything under your vehicle bonnet that concerns you, give the team at Monza Sport a call and we’ll happily take a look for you.