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Fluid level checks Ford Ka 1996 - 2004 Petrol 1.3 ENDURA-E

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Ford Ka 1996 - 2004  | 1.3 ENDURA-E Fluid level checks

  • time 5 to 30 minutes
  • difficulty 1

Underbonnet check points

1.3 litre Endura engine A Engine oil level dipstick B Engine oil filler cap C Coolant expansion tank (up to model year 1999) D Brake (and clutch) fluid reservoir E Power steering fluid reservoir (up to model year 1999) F Screen washer fluid reservoir G Battery
1.3 litre Endura engine H Coolant expansion tank (from model year 1999) I Power steering fluid reservoir (from model year 1999)

Engine oil level

1 • Make sure that your car is on level ground.
2 • Check the oil level before the car is driven, or at least 5 minutes after the engine has been switched off.
HINT: If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will remain in the upper engine components, resulting in an inaccurate reading on the dipstick.

The correct oil

3 Modern engines place great demands on their oil. It is very important that the correct oil for your car is used.
Engine oil grade Multigrade engine oil, viscosity SAE 10W/30 or 10W/40, to API SH or ACEA A1-96, A2-96, or A3-96

Car Care

4 • If you have to add oil frequently, you should check whether you have any oil leaks. Place some clean paper under the car overnight, and check for stains in the morning. If there are no leaks, the engine may be burning oil.
5 • Always maintain the level between the upper and lower dipstick marks (see photo 3). If the level is too low severe engine damage may occur. Oil seal failure may result if the engine is overfilled by adding too much oil.
The dipstick top is brightly coloured for easy identification (see “Underbonnet check points” for exact location). Withdraw the dipstick.
Using a clean rag or paper towel wipe all oil from the dipstick. Insert the clean dipstick into the tube as far as it will go, then withdraw it again.
Note the oil level on the end of the dipstick, which should be between the upper ‘MAX’ mark and lower ‘MIN’ mark. If the oil level is only just above, or below, the ‘MIN’ mark, topping-up is required.
Oil is added through the filler cap aperture. Lift off the cap using a twisting motion. Top‑up the level taking care not to spill the oil. A funnel may be useful in reducing spillage. Add the oil slowly, checking the level on the dipstick often, and allowing time for the oil to flow to the sump. Add oil until the level is just up to the ‘MAX’ mark on the dipstick- don’t overfill (see “Car care”). If you need to renew the oil and filter, click below
- Close + Open

Engine oil and filter change

1 Frequent oil and filter changes are the most important preventative maintenance procedures which can be undertaken by the DIY owner. As engine oil ages, it becomes diluted and contaminated, which leads to premature engine wear.
2 Before starting this procedure, gather together all the necessary tools and materials. Also make sure that you have plenty of clean rags and newspapers handy, to mop up any spills. Ideally, the engine oil should be warm, as it will drain more easily, and more built-up sludge will be removed with it. Take care not to touch the exhaust or any other hot parts of the engine when working under the vehicle. To avoid any possibility of scalding, and to protect yourself from possible skin irritants and other harmful contaminants in used engine oils, it is advisable to wear gloves when carrying out this work.
3 Firmly apply the handbrake then jack up the front of the vehicle and support it on axle stands.
4 Remove the oil filler cap (see illustration) .
Removing the oil filler cap
5 Using a spanner, or preferably a socket and bar, slacken the drain plug about half a turn (see illustration) . Position the draining container under the drain plug, then remove the plug completely.
Loosening the engine sump drain plug
HINT: As the plug releases from the threads, move it away sharply, so that the stream of oil from the sump runs into the container, not up your sleeve!
6 Allow some time for the oil to drain, noting that it may be necessary to reposition the container as the oil flow slows to a trickle.
7 After all the oil has drained, wipe the drain plug and the sealing washer with a clean rag. Examine the condition of the sealing washer, and renew it if it shows signs of scoring or other damage which may prevent an oil-tight seal. Clean the area around the drain plug opening, and refit the plug complete with the washer and tighten it to 25 Nm (18 Ibf ft).
8 Move the container into position under the oil filter which is located on the rear of the cylinder block.
9 Use an oil filter removal tool to slacken the filter initially, then unscrew it by hand the rest of the way (see illustration) . Empty the oil from the old filter into the container.
Using an oil filter removal tool to loosen the filter
10 Use a clean rag to remove all oil, dirt and sludge from the filter sealing area on the engine.
11 Apply a light coating of clean engine oil to the sealing ring on the new filter, then screw the filter into position on the engine (see illustration) . Tighten the filter firmly by hand only - do not use any tools.
Apply a light coating of clean engine oil to the sealing ring on the new filter
12 Remove the old oil and all tools from under the vehicle then lower the vehicle to the ground.
13 Fill the engine through the filler hole, using the correct grade and type of oil. Pour in half the specified quantity of oil first, then wait a few minutes for the oil to drain into the sump. Continue to add oil, a small quantity at a time, until the level is up to the lower mark on the dipstick. Adding approximately a further 0.75 litre will bring the level up to the upper mark on the dipstick.
Engine oil quantity 3.25 litres
Engine oil grade Multigrade engine oil, viscosity SAE 10W/30 or 10W/40, to API SH or ACEA A1-96, A2-96, or A3-96
14 Start the engine and run it for a few minutes, while checking for leaks around the oil filter seal and the sump drain plug. Note that there may be a delay of a few seconds before the low oil pressure warning light goes out when the engine is first started, as the oil circulates through the new oil filter and the engine oil galleries before the pressure builds up.
15 Stop the engine, and wait a few minutes for the oil to settle in the sump once more. With the new oil circulated and the filter now completely full, recheck the level on the dipstick, and add more oil as necessary.
16 Dispose of the used engine oil safely.

Coolant level

Warning: DO NOT attempt to remove the expansion tank pressure cap when the engine is hot, as there is a very great risk of scalding. Do not leave open containers of coolant about, as it is poisonous.

Car Care

6 • With a sealed-type cooling system, adding coolant should not be necessary on a regular basis. If frequent topping-up is required, it is likely there is a leak. Check the radiator, all hoses and joint faces for signs of staining or wetness, and rectify as necessary.
7 • It is important that antifreeze is used in the cooling system all year round, not just during the winter months. Don’t top-up with water alone, as the antifreeze will become too diluted.
The coolant level varies with the temperature of the engine. ‘MIN’ and ‘MAX’ marks are shown on the side of the tank. When the engine is cold, the coolant level should be between the two marks, but ideally on the ‘MAX’ mark. When the engine is hot, the level will rise above the ‘MAX’ mark slightly.
If topping up is necessary, wait until the engine is cold. Slowly unscrew the expansion tank cap, to release any pressure present in the cooling system, and remove it.
Add a mixture of water and antifreeze to the expansion tank until the coolant level is on the ‘MAX’ mark. Refit the cap and tighten it securely. Note: On vehicles from model year 1999, the expansion tank has been moved to the right-hand rear corner of the engine compartment (see Underbonnet check points). Should you need to replace the coolant, click below
- Close + Open

Coolant replacement

Cooling system draining

Warning: Wait until the engine is cold before starting this procedure. Do not allow anti-freeze to come in contact with your skin, or with the painted surfaces of the vehicle. Rinse off spills immediately with plenty of water. Never leave antifreeze lying around in an open container, or in a puddle in the driveway or on the garage floor. Children and pets are attracted by its sweet smell, but antifreeze can be fatal if ingested.
1 With the engine completely cold, remove the expansion tank filler cap. Turn the cap anti-clockwise, wait until any pressure remaining in the system is released, then unscrew it and lift it off.
2 Position a suitable container beneath the radiator drain screw, at the bottom left-hand corner of the radiator.
3 Slacken the drain screw, and allow the coolant to drain into the container (see illustration) .
Drain screw on the bottom left-hand corner of the radiator
4 When the flow of coolant stops, tighten the radiator drain screw.
5 If the coolant has been drained for a reason other than renewal, then provided it is clean and less than two years old, it can be re-used, though this is not recommended.

Cooling system flushing

6 If coolant renewal has been neglected, or if the antifreeze mixture has become diluted, then in time, the cooling system may gradually lose efficiency, as the coolant passages become restricted due to rust, scale deposits, and other sediment. The cooling system efficiency can be restored by flushing the system clean.
7 The radiator should be flushed indepen-dently of the engine, to avoid unnecessary contamination.

Radiator flushing

8 Disconnect the radiator top and bottom hoses.
9 Insert a garden hose into the radiator top inlet. Direct a flow of clean water through the radiator, and continue flushing until clean water emerges from the radiator bottom outlet.
10 If after a reasonable period, the water still does not run clear, the radiator can be flushed with a good proprietary cleaning agent. It is important that the manufacturer’s instructions are followed carefully. If the contamination is particularly bad, remove the radiator then insert the hose in the bottom outlet and reverse-flush the radiator.

Engine flushing

11 Remove the thermostat, then, if the radiator top hose has been disconnected from the engine, temporarily reconnect the hose.
13 On completion of flushing, refit the thermostat and reconnect the hoses.
12 With the top and bottom hoses disconnected from the radiator, insert a garden hose into the radiator top hose. Direct a clean flow of water through the engine, and continue flushing until clean water emerges from the radiator bottom hose.

Cooling system filling

14 Before attempting to fill the cooling system, make sure that all hoses and clips are in good condition, and that the clips are tight. Note that an antifreeze mixture must be used all year round, to prevent corrosion of the engine components. Also check that the cylinder block drain plug is in place and tight.
Coolant quantity 5.25 litres
Anti-freeze type Motorcraft Super Plus 4 antifreeze (blue/green) to Ford specification ESD-M97 B49-A, or Motorcraft Super Plus 2000 antifreeze (orange) to Ford specification WSS-M97 B44-D*
* Do not mix the two types of coolant listed with each other, nor top-up with any other type of coolant.
15 Remove the expansion tank filler cap (see illustration) .
Removing the expansion tank filler cap
16 Place a wad of rags around the expansion tank.
17 Slowly fill the system until the coolant level reaches the “MAX” mark on the side of the expansion tank.
18 Start the engine and allow it to run for only two minutes, while increasing the engine speed to a fast idle several times. Switch off the engine and top-up the coolant level.
19 Refit and tighten the expansion tank filler cap.
20 Start the engine, and allow it to run until it reaches normal operating temperature (until the cooling fan cuts in and out).
21 Stop the engine, and allow it to cool, then re-check the coolant level. Top-up the level if necessary and refit the expansion tank filler cap.

Antifreeze mixture

22 The antifreeze should always be renewed at the specified intervals. This is necessary not only to maintain the antifreeze properties, but also to prevent corrosion which would otherwise occur as the corrosion inhibitors become progressively less effective.
23 Always use an ethylene-glycol based antifreeze which is suitable for use in mixed-metal cooling systems.
24 Before adding antifreeze, the cooling system should be completely drained, preferably flushed, and all hoses checked for condition and security.
25 After filling with antifreeze, a label should be attached to the expansion tank, stating the type and concentration of antifreeze used, and the date installed. Any subsequent topping-up should be made with the same type and concentration of antifreeze.
26 Do not use engine antifreeze in the windscreen/tailgate washer system, as it will cause damage to the vehicle paintwork. A screenwash additive should be added to the washer system in the quantities stated on the bottle.

Pressure (expansion tank) cap check

27 With the engine cold, remove and clean the pressure cap, and inspect the seal for damage and/or deterioration. If there is any sign of damage or deterioration to the seal, fit a new pressure cap (see illustration) .
Inspecting the expansion tank pressure cap seal

Brake (and clutch) fluid level

Warning: • Brake fluid can harm your eyes and damage painted surfaces, so use extreme caution when handling and pouring it.
Warning: • Do not use fluid that has been standing open for some time, as it absorbs moisture from the air, which can cause a dangerous loss of braking effectiveness.

Safety first!

8 • If the reservoir requires repeated topping-up this is an indication of a fluid leak somewhere in the system, which should be investigated immediately.
9 • If a leak is suspected, the car should not be driven until the braking system has been checked. Never take any risks where brakes are concerned.
Hint : Make sure your car is on level ground. The fluid level in the reservoir will drop slightly as the brake pads and shoes wear down, but the fluid level must never be allowed to drop below the MIN mark.
The “MAX” and “MIN” marks are indicated on the side of the reservoir, which is located at the rear left-hand side of the engine compartment. The fluid level must be kept between these two marks.
If topping-up is necessary, first wipe the area around the filler cap with a clean rag, then hold the fluid level sensor wiring plug as the cap is unscrewed. When adding fluid, it’s a good idea to inspect the reservoir. The fluid should be changed if dirt is visible.
Carefully add fluid, avoiding spilling it on surrounding paintwork. Use only DOT 4 fluid; mixing different types of fluid can cause damage to the system and/or a loss of braking effectiveness. Bear in mind that the level in the reservoir will rise slightly when the cap/float assembly is refitted. After filling to the correct level, refit the cap securely. Wipe off any spilt fluid.
Check the operation of the low fluid level warning light. Switch on the ignition and ask an assistant to press the button on top of the reservoir cap. The brake fluid level/handbrake “on” warning light should come on - if not, the level switch, wiring or bulb may be faulty. If the warning light comes on and the fluid level is not low, check that the handbrake is not on. Switch off the ignition after testing.

Power steering fluid level

10 • Park the vehicle on level ground.
11 • Set the steering wheel straight-ahead.
12 • The engine should be turned off.
HINT: For the check to be accurate, the steering must not be turned once the engine has been stopped.

Safety first!

13 • The need for frequent topping-up indicates a leak, which should be investigated immediately.
The reservoir is located at the right-hand rear corner of the engine compartment. The fluid level is visible through the reservoir body; when the system is at operating temperature, the level should be up to the ‘MAX’ mark on the side of the reservoir.
If topping-up is required, wipe clean the area around the reservoir filler neck and unscrew the filler cap from the reservoir.
When topping-up, use the specified type of fluid and do not overfill the reservoir. When the level is correct,securely refit the cap. Note: On vehicles from model year 1999, the reservoir has been moved around the side of the suspension top mounting (see Underbonnet check points)
Power steering fluid Automatic transmission fluid to Ford specification ESP-M2C 166-H

Screen washer fluid level*

14 * The underbonnet reservoir also serves the tailgate washer.
15 Screenwash additives not only keep the winscreen clean during foul weather, they also prevent the washer system freezing in cold weather - which is when you are likely to need it most. Don’t top up using plain water as the screenwash will become too diluted, and will freeze during cold weather. On no account use coolant antifreeze in the washer system - this could discolour or damage paintwork.
The screen/tailgate washer fluid reservoir filler neck is located in the centre of the engine compartment rear bulkhead, and the filler cap is brightly coloured. The screen washer level cannot easily be seen. Remove the filler cap, and look down the filler neck - if fluid is not visible, topping-up is required.
When topping-up the reservoir, add a screenwash additive in the quantities recommended on the bottle. It could also be time to replace the wiper blades. For details, click below
- Close + Open

Wiper blade replacement

HINT: If smearing is still a problem despite fitting new wiper blades, try cleaning the windscreen with neat screen-wash additive or methylated spirit.
Check the condition of the wiper blades; if they are cracked or show any signs of deterioration, or if the glass swept area is smeared, renew them. For maximum clarity of vision, wiper blades should be renewed annually, as a matter of course.
To remove a windscreen wiper blade, pull the arm fully away from the screen until it locks. Swivel the blade through 90°, then depress the locking clip at the base of the mounting block, and slide the blade out of the hooked end of the arm. Where applicable, don’t forget to check the tailgate wiper blade as well. The blade can be removed by swivelling the blade through 90°, then sliding the blade from the arm. Fit the new blade using a reversal of the removal procedure.
To remove the tailgate wiper blade, pull the arm away from the window until it locks. Carefully prise the blade from the arm using the fingers only until it is released. Fit the new blade using a reversal of the removal procedure.
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