For your car
Incorrect oil levels can cause serious damage in your car’s engine, so it’s important to check your oil level regularly. This is very easy to do and just takes a few minutes. We recommend keeping a 1 litre bottle of oil in your car so you can top up whenever necessary.
How to check your oil
First, choose the right oil for your car by checking your car manufacturer’s recommendation. Alternatively, try our quick and simple Shell LubeMatch tool.
Ensure that your car is parked on level ground
Ensure that your car is parked on level ground, with the hand brake on and the engine off. Open the bonnet (there’s usually a lever under the dashboard) and prop it open with its support. Avoid touching the hot engine. Allow one minute for the oil to settle.
Wear protective gloves
Put on some protective gloves and pull out the dipstick (which you’ll find protruding from the engine block – recognisable by its looped end). Wipe it clean with a paper towel and replace it fully for several seconds. Then remove it again to study the oil level.
Check oil levels
The oil level should fall somewhere between the minimum and maximum marks on the dipstick and may need topping up. See the diagram for an indication of how much oil to add. Amounts are approximate and for guidance only.
Fill up with Shell Helix oil
Remove the oil filler cap to top up the engine with the appropriate amount of Shell Helix oil, preferably using a funnel. The scale on the bottle will indicate how much has been used. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to check the new level.
Replace filler cap and dipstick
Replace the dipstick and the oil filler cap securely. Clean any finger marks from the bonnet and wipe any oil from your hands with a moist towel, disposing of any waste materials in an appropriate place.
When you notice that your oil level is below the minimum mark, find out how many kilometres have passed since the last oil change. If you’re not sure refer to your handbook for recommended oil-change intervals or if your mileage is above 15000km, it’s advisable to perform a complete oil change. If the mileage is between 4000km and 15000km you will only need to top up your oil.
There may be a technical problem if your mileage is less than 4000km and the oil level is low. Top up and start measuring the level on a weekly basis, or contact your local mechanic for further advice.
If the oil has white specks in it, the engine coolant is mixing with the engine oil because of an internal engine problem, have your car inspected.
For guidance on how often to change your oil, be sure to consult your handbook for the recommended oil-change interval.
To find the right oil for your car try our quick and simple Shell LubeMatch tool.
For your motorcycle
If your engine’s in good condition it will use very little oil between oil changes. However, it’s important to ensure that the oil level doesn't drop below the minimum marking. Here’s how to check your oil:
- Support the bike upright on level ground to allow the oil level to stabilise.
- If your bike has an inspection window, check that the oil level is between the max and min markings.
- If your bike has a dipstick, note where the oil comes to in relation to the max and min markings.
If the level is too low, remove the filler cap from the top of the crankcase and top up with the specified oil type. Always use motorcycle engine oil – not oil designed for use in car engines