Dipstick design - no, hear me out!

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Oct 31, 2017
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My new-to-me Mini came with the worst dipstick I have ever encountered. I've seen some beauties that made reading the level difficult with clean oil, usually because of shallow hatch marks. Mini's dipstick is engineered to smear the measuring section whenever you remove the dipstick. It looks like an intentional design. The solution is to either modify the original dipstick, to use an elaborate pull it out, wipe it, stick it in, pull it out and wipe till you get dizzy method, or to buy an aftermarket dipstick. That's the one from Cravenspeed in the picture below and it works well. If I had a difficult to read flat dipstick I'd be inclined to drill small holes through the measuring area.

 
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I remember one Camaro, v-6 powered. friend's ride. never did EVEN find the trans fluid dipstick. ??????
it got rod knock later IIRC. so it was not important.
 
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Not sure if you've stumbled across this discussion:


Many Mini owners call it "the worst dipstick ever".

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The main problem isn't the dipstick itself though. The main issue is the S-shaped dipstick tube - exactly that way:


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For this reason, the dipstick gets oily again anytime you pull it.

I just place the car in my garage, pull the dipstick, put a towel onto the dipstick tube
and check oil just next morning. There's just one try, the second one is again harder
to read. Proper sunlight helps.
.

or this one:


Try reading a 2007-2013 Mini dipstick and you'll love the Corolla dipstick.

I use to just remove the dipstick in the evening to let all oil residue in the dipstick tube drain into the pan over night and put it back in next morning to read it. This is the only way to get a proper read on a R56 Mini. Make sure you have proper lighting, as pour light can make reading the dipstick a pain. Some people add MoS2 to darken the oil, which probably doesn't hurt.

Why some dispsticks are such a pain to read? Because they're designed by .... you'll guess. In many cases it's the dipstick tube which is bent due to space restictions. Quite often there's no room left for a straight tubing.
 
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That's the one from Cravenspeed in the picture below and it works well. If I had a difficult to read flat dipstick I'd be inclined to drill small holes through the measuring area.

Maybe post a picture of the dipstick you're talking about? At least you HAVE a dipstick. Many newer cars don't.
 

vavavroom

Thread starter
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The holes on the Cravenspeed dipstick are 0.1 quarts apart from each other. That makes adding an exact amount very easy.
 
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Honestly, there's no overpriced Cravenspeed dipstick required. Just remove your stock dipstick
when you get home and check level the next morning. It won't even eliminate the actual cause,
which is the S-shaped dipstick tube. Letting all oil drain back over night does.
 
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MINIs you don’t have to wait over night to correctly check the oil you just need to learn how to read the MINIs different style dipstick then what many are use to.
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 25, 2005
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ROCHESTER, NY
I love the wide & flat dipsticks for the oil & tranny for the Firebird FORMULA in my signature. You can never make a mistake when reading the levels for said fluids. I find it amazing how poorly the new vehicles dipsticks are to read.
 

JTK

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Aug 14, 2003
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Buffalo, NY
Similar frustration with the VQ35DD in our 2019 Nissan Pathfinder. The dipstick has to slide in and out of a stamped metal guide chute that smears the reading. Many owners pull the stick and don't know where to re-stick it because there's no visible tube.
 
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A Mini comes with a poorly designed dipstick, what a shocker. Safe to say there's more than a couple poorly designed parts on those cars.
 
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The Woods of NY
Wait minis have oil dipsticks?? I offered to check my neighbors 2020 mini and could not even find it!! Maybe I was not looking hard enough. 😩 where about is it located lol? Nice upgrade btw, sounds like even if I did check it I would not be able to take a reading. They change every 15k+ on mini dealer oil 😲 not me that’s for sure. Engine only has 33K and two oil changes. It sounds terrible also tbh.
 
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On some of my dip sticks I paint them white. In this I used VHT white for painting exhaust manifolds like hedders.
 

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