It would have been foolish to have written about National Oil Week (June 15-19) recently and not checked the oil levels in our long-term Skoda Superb.
Like typical company car drivers when left to their own devices, it was something I’d been meaning to do for some time. Now, after 15,000 mostly commuted miles, I feared the worse, but the dipstick reading was still just about ok.
However, with the Superb’s on-board computer reporting that the next service would not be due for another 600 miles – which it rather confusingly calculated as 600 days – it seemed timely to top up.
But what with? Oil is no longer simply oil. Every model – indeed, every engine – has a manufacturer-recommended grade. The Superb has seven options, depending on the fuel and engine output.
The driver’s handbook stresses the need to select the right oil grade, adding, rather forcefully: “You must not use other engine oils – risk of engine damage!”
Our Superb is a 2.0-litre 140bhp diesel, surely a simple case of matching the engine to the oil?
Not quite – the Superb’s handbook is in metric, so first a conversion of bhp to kW is needed. It’s also on flexible service intervals, which come under a separate column. Final check – does it have a diesel particulate filter? The sticker in the service book confirms it does.
Bingo! The correct oil is VW507 00, or 5w30 in old money. But just to make sure, a quick call to our local Skoda dealer, Wings of Peterborough, confirmed it was the right grade.
The message to fleet managers is simple: ensure staff check the dipstick every week and report low levels, but you should be responsible for supplying the correct oil to the manufacturer’s standards. It can be confusing and time-consuming for mere mortals.