Almost a third of British motorists are risking engine damage by not checking their oil properly, according to new research out today.

Some 29% of respondents in a recent survey didn’t realise the importance of checking engine oil on a level surface, and 71% failed to recognise the significance of using the correct grade of motor oil to top levels up.

Checking the engine’s dipstick on a level surface is an essential part of obtaining an accurate oil level reading as the oil settles evenly in the sump, says car care company Comma. An inaccurate reading could leave your car over- or under-filled, resulting in excessive engine wear as the engine components grind against each other

Six in every ten motorists admit to being ignorant about which grade of oil should be used in their engines.

Standard oil ratings, such as 10w40, refer to the temperature levels at which the oil will protect an engine, making it imperative to observe the recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer. Using oil other than a recommended grade could mean the lubricants are either too thin or thick for the engine to run efficiently and with adequate protection.