Torque Shop: How often do dipsticks have to be checked?

It is a good idea to check the dipstick occasionally even if your car runs well. PHOTO: PEXELS

Checking the dipstick in the car engine was something most people used to do regularly. Petrol stations also used to provide this service while filling up. Why is it that no one seems to be checking the dipstick these days?

A quick under-bonnet check of oil and coolant levels was pretty much a ritual with most motorists. Drawing out the dipstick to check the oil level was also a routine recommended in most car manuals.

Those were the days when engines consumed some amount of engine oil, so regular top-ups were necessary. With advances in engine-oil formulation and engine designs, oil consumption in modern cars is not a problem except perhaps on high-mileage engines with worn piston rings.

Nonetheless, it is a good idea to check the dipstick occasionally even if your car runs well. Some cars today have an oil-level warning when the lubricant runs low. If that happens, make a note of how much oil is needed to be topped up and how quickly the level drops.

Sometimes, using a wrong grade of engine oil can also lead to higher-than-normal oil consumption.

The oil-pressure warning light, which is found in all cars, does not relate directly to oil level. In fact, even with the oil level at maximum, the pressure can fall because of a worn oil pump or crankshaft bearings.

On the other hand, a dangerously low oil level will cause a drop in pressure, not to mention serious engine damage.

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