What to Consider When Buying a Replacement Oil Dipstick
Aside from fuel, your car needs one more thing to function-oil. Without it, the metal parts in the engine will produce too much friction and cause the vehicle to overheat. To avoid this, you should always keep an eye on your car's oil level using the oil dipstick. However, due to wear and tear, this part eventually breaks. Although replacing a damaged oil dipstick is very easy, buying the replacement part isn't. So you won't end up regretting your purchase, we made a list of the things that you need to consider when buying a replacement oil dipstick.
Direct fit and OE replacement
If you will browse a car parts catalog, you will notice that dipsticks are categorized in two: OE (original equipment) replacement and direct fit. To help you choose which one will best suit you, we made a list of some of the differences between these categories.
- Price: With a price range of 15 to 40 USD, direct fits are relatively cheaper than OE replacements that cost around 16 to 50 USD. So, if you're on a tight budget, you should settle for a direct fit oil dipstick.
- Quality: When it comes to quality, there is not much difference between OE replacements and direct fits. However, because OE replacement dipsticks are made to meet or exceed OEM standards, you can be assured that they will last long. On the other hand, not all direct fit dipsticks meet OEM standards because some of them are made from low-quality materials. Thus, always make sure that the direct fit dipstick you're going to buy is manufactured by a trustworthy company.
Nowadays, whenever you buy a replacement car part, you can also get a warranty plan. Although you will need to pay additional fee for it, this plan is very important. Without it, you won't be able to return the product that you purchased in case it has workmanship and material defects. Moreover, if your purchase comes with a warranty plan, you will be spared from unexpected repairs and premature degradation. Thus, regardless if you will choose a one-year, three-year, or lifetime plan, you will still save a lot of money in the long run.
How to Repair a Broken Oil Dipstick
As you pull out the oil dipstick, you discover that it's broken in two, with the lower part stuck inside the shaft. Now don't panic; this is a fairly easy problem. Read on and find out how you can fix that busted dipstick in a jiffy.
Difficulty level: Easy
Tools you'll need:
- Telescoping magnetic tool
- Socket set
- Oil drain pan
- Automotive-grade epoxy
- Car soap or cleanser
Step 1: Pull out the upper half of the broken oil dipstick carefully. Insert the telescoping magnetic tool into the dipstick shaft and move it around until you feel a slight tug. This means the magnetic tool is in contact with the second half of the dipstick. Gently pull it out; if the dipstick falls off, just scoop it out again with the magnetic tool.
Step 2: If, after several tries, you're not able to pull out the broken half of the dipstick, it's possible that it has fallen off into the oil pan. Should this happen, place a drain pan just underneath drain pan bolt.
Step 3: Remove the bolt with a socket wrench and let the oil spill out into the drain pan. Once the oil is drained, loosen the remaining bolts that attach the oil pan onto the engine. Search for the broken piece of dipstick inside the pan and retrieve it. After pulling out the dipstick, be sure to bolt back the oil pan in place.
Step 4: Clean the broken pieces of the dipstick with water and car soap. Make sure that the oil is completely removed. Once they are clean, glue them together with epoxy. Squeeze out any air bubble and let the epoxy dry for at least 48 hours (check out the manufacturer's instructions).
Step 5: Get rid of rough edges around the glued area by sanding it off. Don't forget to wipe off the shavings and any debris from the dipstick.
Step 6: Place back the oil dipstick inside the shaft. Refill the oil and you should be good to go.
Remember to never use a stick with a glue to retrieve a broken dipstick from the engine since the glue can fall off and contaminate the oil supply. A small amount of glue getting mixed up with the engine oil can lead to all sorts of car trouble.