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Maintenance - Checking and changing engine oil

You should check your oil level every 500 miles or once a week. Well, if you are at the point you really MUST do this to top up it's time to think about a rebuilt..


The oil gauge is on the left side of the engine block on modern Rovers. You should place the car on as level a place as you can find..

Take it out, wipe it off and feed it in again. Take it out and now read it. This is necessary as it's likely some oil will creep along the gauge when the engine is shut off so the first measurement will be faulty. There are 2 marks on the gauge. On TDi's there are 2 notches, on V8's it's a pattern on the metal. The oil level must be between the upper and lower marking. You will find in your owners manual how much oil you must add for topping up. Generally this will be between 0,5 and 1 litre. On Series you will find 4 marks. The lowest is 'Low On Road', the next 'Low Off Road'. The second highest is 'High Off Road', the highest being 'High On Road' (Hope I got this right). .

On Discoveries with the 200 TDi you need 1,0 litre for filling from "LOW" to "HIGH". The V8 on Discoveries needs 1,4 litres for the same. .

NEVER OVERFILL. This does all sorts of bad things to the engine. Seals may start to leak, foaming o the oil occurs, pushing oil into the intake etc. By overfilling I don't mean the occasional 'just over the mark' thing. But if you have filled let's say half a litre in excess you must first get it out again. If you don't know how this is done call your local garage. Don't drive up to them. .


If you fill it up you must first clean the area around the filler with a towel. Any dirt around will, according to Murphy's law, get inside the engine. And that's bad. If you cleaned the filler cap put the towel near the side of the cover (arrow). Spilled oil always runs to this side and than drips down the sides. The towel will catch most of it..

Choosing the right oil is more important on modern engines than on older Series. TDi's require an high quality oil, V-8's aren't so sensitive but it never hurts to use an good quality oil. TD5's are very sensitive to wrong oils too.

For the end a little horror story..

I heard of a guy - well let's call him Ernie - who knew his engine needed an special oil. Well, that's not quite right but Ernie being a dumbhead his local dealer told him only to use genuine Land Rover oils. Ernie now went into holidays with his brand new Defender. After 2 weeks and close to return home he decided to make a maintenance. In his case that meant checking the oil. He was baffled when he saw the level being already a bit under the low mark..

Ernie now being as dumb as ever remembered his dealers' warning: "Only use genuine oil". So he left everything in place, closed the hood and drove home. The inevitable happened after 1200 km and just an hour from his home when the engine, after a long time of making strange noises called it a day and quit..

The repair wasn't covered under warranty and it cost close to 8000 US$. On a car 2 months old..

So let this be a warning to you. You SHOULD only use an specified high grade oil. BUT if your oil level is dangerously low you can use any mineral or synthetic oil around. You even can use salad oil from the local supermarket. In any case you should change the mixed oils as soon as possible. This means THE SAME DAY! If you use non-engine oils like the salad oil I mentioned avoid high loads (no flat-out racing) and don't let it cool down. Have it changed while it's still hot. .

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