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Old 04-27-2010, 10:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Jalopnik: Why the Dipstick is Dying

Why The Dipstick Is Dying - Oil - Jalopnik

A kind of disappointing story about how car manufacturers are starting to remove the dipstick from newer engines and replace it with electronic sensors.

Autoblog also had a post on the subject, which included this depressing (and probably accurate) statement:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autoblog
Quite frankly, the automakers point out that we simply don't need dipsticks anymore. Why? Because owners don't use them. While they don't specifically say it, those who engineer and assemble our new cars (and guarantee new vehicle warranties) are much more comfortable knowing that a silicon chip is monitoring the oil level – not a consumer who hasn't checked tire pressures (or even opened the hood) since the last time the Vikings won the Super Bowl.

Today's comatose driver expects everything to be automated – and it is. Look no further than the myriad of digitized warning lights on the dashboard when the key is turned (um... make that the start button). Don't blame the automakers for the disappearance of the dipstick – blame the public at large.

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/04/22/t...%28Autoblog%29

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Old 04-27-2010, 11:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Once, I had my car at the local german-car garage, when this lady come in and tell the guy:''Could you check my car please, the tire-pressure light came on!!!'', like it was the end of her world.
I'd bet she didn't even know what model her car (''doesn't matters, it's a bmw'') was, and she probably don't know how to open the hood for that matters.

I'll take the older model with all these useless things like the *working* temp gauge, the gauges with real needles and an oil dipstick way before I get one of those new, huh, car-for-the-people-that-dont-care-how-it-work, even if I had the money.
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lokalazeros View Post
Once, I had my car at the local german-car garage, when this lady come in and tell the guy:''Could you check my car please, the tire-pressure light came on!!!'', like it was the end of her world.
I'd bet she didn't even know what model her car (''doesn't matters, it's a bmw'') was, and she probably don't know how to open the hood for that matters.

I'll take the older model with all these useless things like the *working* temp gauge, the gauges with real needles and an oil dipstick way before I get one of those new, huh, car-for-the-people-that-dont-care-how-it-work, even if I had the money.
He probably made a few bucks that day greasing the exhaust and re-filling the blinker fluid, in addition to topping off her tires with nitrogen.

I actually HAVE a car that has replaced the oil dipstick with an electronic sensor. On the plus side, I usually check the oil level once a day now, while waiting at a stoplight, as opposed to once every fillup. Still, when I'm changing the oil and filling it up, I really miss the dipstick.

There's no transmission dipstick, either, but there isn't one in my wife's car, either.

I wonder if the trend toward no dipsticks being led by European carmakers also has something to do with environmental regs in Europe...?
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's all good till the sensors start to fail after a couple years down the road, now the real diagnosis fun begins. Especially when problems are intermitent in the beginning.
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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There's another - and happier - reason. Cars just don't burn oil like they used to. Wasn't uncommon, once upon a time, to see older cars where you'd have to add a quart of oil every thousand miles or so. Now my Toyota pickup (210K miles) and Insight (140K) each go to their recommended oil change intervals without a noticable change in the oil level on the dipstick.
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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There were once dip sticks for gas tanks too.
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Lets see how far it can go

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Old 04-27-2010, 03:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texanidiot25 View Post
There were once dip sticks for gas tanks too.
...yep, we used them to "dip" our wing fuel tanks to measure/compare how much fuel there was vs. our "pounds" reading gauges.
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Old 04-27-2010, 03:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A level sending unit is such a simple piece, I doubt there will be a mass of problems with it, like some are suggesting. In reality, what percentage of fuel sending units actually go bad? The pumps die before a variable resistor does.. Of the things to measure on a guage, I have no complaint at oil level. You don't pop your radiator cap to check coolant temp do you?

For an older car, like my Chevy that burns a quart a month (or leaks, it's a Ninja in that regard) a guage in the truck would be handy, to say the least.

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"All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. [...] But the man who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air. What is evoked in him, then, is of another order, more terrible because it has no words, and triumphant, too, for the same reason. And his triumph, when he triumphs, is ours." -Sonny's Blues
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Old 04-27-2010, 03:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I still have a dip stick But I can't see how much window fluid I have Or access the air filter without taking half of the things in the engine bay apart. Even getting at the battery is tough.

A few years ago Fiat showed a prototype (not sure if it made it into production) in which the hood didn't open, only the grille would fold open for access to 3-4 things (add washer fluid, etc.).
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Old 04-27-2010, 04:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The more information presented to me in the driver's seat, the better, but I'd still want the dipstick to measure when filling (instead of having to get in and out of the car a few times.)

Then again, do a Google search for "leaking dipstick tube." Maybe we're better off without.

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