Check It

How To Check Under the Bonnet

A quick easy to follow guide for checking vital fluids


Setup your vehicle

Before you start checking your vehicle, make sure the car is on level ground with the handbrake on, and the engine is off and cooled down for at least 30 minutes. Grab yourself some gloves, goggles, clean rags, and then open the bonnet. The first thing to check is your bonnet support struts. Make sure your bonnet is secure and safe to work under before progressing with any under bonnet checks.

Learn more about checking your lights here.

Learn more about checking your wipers here.

Learn more about checking your tyres here.

Learn more about checking for clues around your vehicle here.

You can find the correct fluids and parts for your vehicle by using the My Garage tab at the top of this web page. All you need to do is punch in your rego and state or search by make, model and year. Once this is completed you will be suggested the right products to suit/fit your vehicle while searching our site.

Checking Engine Oil

Checking Engine Oil

To start with, locate the dipstick on the side of the engine. This stick allows you to check the level of the engine oil at the base of the engine. Pull out the dipstick and wipe off any oil with a clean cloth. Replace the dipstick into its original position and then remove it again. Check the oil level on the markings on the end of the dipstick.

Topping Up Engine Oil

Topping Up Engine Oil

If you need to top up your oil look for the oil filler cap which is generally located on the top of the engine. First, remove the cap and inspect the oil around the thread. This should be the same oil colour as your dipstick. If you’ve found that the oil inside your engine is a milky colour, it might be contaminated and will require mechanic inspection.

Topping Up Engine Oil

Add the correct engine oil slowly to top up. Just be sure to do this gradually and keep checking the dipstick, not to overfill. Once full, simply replace the cap and wipe up any small drips or spills. There are many different types of oil, so make sure you get the right oil for your car. For help, simply ask one of the team at your local Supercheap Auto.

Checking Power Steering Fluid

Checking Power Steering Fluid

A power steering fluid check is as simple as opening the cap and checking the level. Some power steering reservoirs may have a dipstick built into the reservoir cap to make it easier. Power steering levels fluctuate depending on the temperature of the car, so often the indicator typically shows a HOT or COLD level to show you where the fluid level should be in both instances. If this is low, it’s time to top up with the recommended fluid.

WARNING

Coolant is HOT

When checking the coolant level, you’ll need to make sure that the engine and radiator are completely cool. It’s imperative to never open the cap on the radiator or overflow if the engine is hot as there is a chance that any boiling liquid in the pressured cooling system will spray out. Make sure to wear gloves and goggles as a precaution.

Checking Radiator Coolant

Checking Radiator Coolant

Check the radiator by removing the cap slowly. If you can’t see coolant in the radiator, it’s time to top it up with the recommended coolant. Using a funnel, top up the radiator slowly as coolant travels to the bottom of the engine before it fills.

Checking Overflow Coolant

Checking Overflow Coolant

The overflow bottle is a clear plastic container connected to the radiator. It shows maximum and minimum levels that are clearly marked on its side. If your coolant is low or empty, top it up with the recommended coolant as per your Owner’s Manual or with a universal coolant.

Checking Brake Fluid

Checking Brake Fluid

Brake fluid reservoirs are typically located at the back of the engine bay on the driver’s side, are transparent and have a high and low indicator viewable. Once located, it is just a case of visually checking that the fluid is at the optimal level. Top up with the recommended fluid if the level has dropped or is below the low-level marker.

Also, check for leaks around the reservoir and master cylinder with a clean cloth. If you have found a leak, it’s best to have it inspected by a mechanic.

Checking Washer Fluid

Checking Windscreen Washer Fluid

Washer fluid and working washer jets are important to help you keep your windscreen clean when you’re on the road. To keep your washer fluid topped up, locate the windscreen washer fluid bottle, pop off the cap and pour in water or ready-to-use washer fluid when necessary. You can also add some automotive glass cleaning concentrate to give more grime fighting power and help to keep your screen clean.