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Dipstick/checking oil

  #1  
Old 05-17-2006, 02:33 PM
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Dipstick/checking oil

I apologize if this has been discussed in the past.

I will have had Mimi for 1 month tomorrow. Yesterday, she had her 4th fill up. I was checking the oil level but had a hard time seeing what the oil level was. I tried holding it up at different angles, but I couldn't see where the oil actually stopped. All I know is that it was above the bottom line. But I'd like to know how close it is to the bottom marker.

2 questions:

1) Is there an easy way to see the oil level - am I not seeing it well because the engine is still new and the oil looks very clear? Will the oil darken eventually? Is there a special angle or should I look at it under bright light to see it better?

2) I was afraid that I would break the dipstick when I was putting it back in. Has anyone broken the dipstick in their mini? I'm hoping that even though it feels like it's going to break, it's designed not to break. If it is prone to breaking, is there a way to decrease the risk of this happening?

Thanks for all your help.
 
  #2  
Old 05-17-2006, 02:50 PM
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1) It may help to check when the engine (and oil) is cold so the oil has more chance of sticking to the dipstick.

2) How are you putting the stick back in that lead you to believe the stick might break? This should not be an issue and haven't heard that being an issue anywhere.
 
  #3  
Old 05-17-2006, 02:50 PM
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1)No easy way to read these dipsticks, some what better when oil is dirtier.

2)Yes, they do break. Mine broke about 3" down the stick, luckly there was enough sticking out of the tube I was able to remove the broken bit. I havent found an aftermarket one yet (actually havent looked in awhile).

Nik
 
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Old 05-17-2006, 02:51 PM
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#1 Yes the oil is very light & hard to see. As you put some miles on the oil will darken & be easier to read. What worked for me was to use a paper towel & hold it to the bottom of the stick. The oil will wick onto the towel showing you the level.

#2 I agree that dipstick feels like it's going to break every time I try & reinsert it. Be gentle & it won't break.
 
  #5  
Old 05-17-2006, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by xsmini

Yes, they do break. Mine broke about 3" down the stick, luckly there was enough sticking out of the tube I was able to remove the broken bit. I havent found an aftermarket one yet (actually havent looked in awhile).
Nik - how did yours break? Was it while you were inserting it back in?
 
  #6  
Old 05-17-2006, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by mimithemini
Nik - how did yours break? Was it while you were inserting it back in?
Yep, I'm always careful, but it broke anyway. I must admit it was after 80k+ miles, and I check it quite a lot .

I'm not the only one, I've seen comments about this before.

Nik
 
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:06 PM
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1) Give it a few weeks and will get VERY VERY dark. I really don't trust the 10k and 15k mile oil change intervals. As long as your on the stick your good, you could take a paper towel and ethier wrap the plastic to get an idea, or slowly move it from the top taking notice where the absorbtion takes place.

2) I feel the stick was extremely difficult at first, after a few months still feels fragile, but slips in much easier. Someone does make an all metal one which I image would improve visibility of the oil as well. I found the trick for reinserting is get it to the point where you feel resistance the twist back and forth a little until is finds it slot then is goes in all the way.
 
  #8  
Old 05-17-2006, 03:13 PM
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One month old? That will make it hard. The oil is so clean that you could eat off it! Well, not quite. Its just REALLY REALLY clean!
 
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:35 PM
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i think these dip sticks have to be the worst dipsticks ever. my oil wasn't dark enough to read till about 2500 miles. ridiculous! why couldn't they use a metal one like everyone else does. I have never had trouble on any other cars reading oil levels with fresh new oil. How the hell are you supposed to be sure that your oil level is right or you don't have an oil leak after you change your oil? You can't see anything whether it bone dry or full. stupid! haha, i just get pissed every time i check my oil.
I too have resorted to using paper towels to see the oil level.
 
  #10  
Old 05-17-2006, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mimithemini

1) Is there an easy way to see the oil level
Yes there is. Oil is wet. It doesn't matter if the oil is clean or not, its still wet.

completely dry off the tip. Insert all the way in (and once again folks, NO laughing)

Pull it out.

Hold the tip up to the sun or a bright light. You should be able to cleary see glistening on the tip (after all, it is wet). NO glisten ... low on oil
 
  #11  
Old 05-17-2006, 03:52 PM
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Yeah, don't put paper towel on the tip of the dipstick please, if it gets stuck down there you're in trouble.

Just dry the dipstick with paper towel, reinsert and take it out again, you should be able to see the level quite easily that way.
 
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by xtremepsionic
Yeah, don't put paper towel on the tip of the dipstick please, if it gets stuck down there you're in trouble.
Perhaps I came across the worng way, I was talking about if you can't see it, put the paper towel on the stick to see where the oil is on the stick, NOT putting the paper towel any where near the oil pan or tube for the dipstick.

If you slide the paper towel over the grid and you see where it abosorbs then you can tell roulghly where the oil levels is.

DO NOT PUT AnyTHING OTHER THAN THE DIPSTICK DOWN THE PATH TO THE OIL PAN AS IT IS BOUND TO HARM THE ENGINE.
 
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Old 05-17-2006, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by xtremepsionic
Yeah, don't put paper towel on the tip of the dipstick please, if it gets stuck down there you're in trouble.

Just dry the dipstick with paper towel, reinsert and take it out again, you should be able to see the level quite easily that way.
I agree... look for the wet spot... You can see the level clearly as it reflects the light differently..
 
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Old 05-17-2006, 04:27 PM
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Thanks for the post. I have the same problem. While overall engineering seems to be great, whoever designed the dipstick gets a "F."
 
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Old 05-17-2006, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by chows4us
Yes there is. Oil is wet. It doesn't matter if the oil is clean or not, its still wet.

completely dry off the tip. Insert all the way in (and once again folks, NO laughing)

Pull it out.

Hold the tip up to the sun or a bright light. You should be able to cleary see glistening on the tip (after all, it is wet). NO glisten ... low on oil
That's the way to do it
 
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Old 05-17-2006, 04:35 PM
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i also recommend checking the oil while motor is cold... pull out, wipe the tip, dip for 2-3 seconds, pull out under a light and find the reflection line.
 
  #17  
Old 05-18-2006, 01:00 PM
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The dipstick on my 04 Cooper was a "normal" dipstick. I kept seeing these posts about people that couldn't read their dipsticks and I thought 'what are you people, a bunch of...dipsticks?' Then I got my 06 Cooper S and checked the oil after the trip home from the dealer and WOW, the dipstick is hard to read.

The dipstick seems to want to twist when I push it in. So as I gently push, I let it twist when it wants to.
 
  #18  
Old 05-18-2006, 02:00 PM
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Dipstick Broken

I have a broken dipstick for a month now. First it had a defect - a small **** about 10" down - and eventually has bent in two. It is not fully broken but I will be taking it to the MINI dealer this next week. I inquired about an aftermarket sturdier version but was told only a standard Cooper ( Non-S ) had one available.
I will let you know the outcome. Seems this should be an area that would NEVER break. Ours had only 20K miles!!
 
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Old 05-18-2006, 05:20 PM
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I broke an aftermarket dipstick. It was one of my very first "mods" - - - back before I made more serious changes to my car. The top was a winged mini logo. Cool looking, and even more of a pain to use than the stock one. Not surprised that it is no longer available.

If you twist the stick as you put it in or pull it out, the whole process goes much easier.
 
  #20  
Old 06-03-2006, 09:04 AM
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I have a replacement dipstick from MINI and it has no visible defects like the original. Inserting the dipstick is still not a smooth thing...I will practice the wiggle method in the future to possibly avoid? another broken dipstick. This is starting to sound off colour.
Bill Jacobs MINI did the replacement ASAP and I am satisfied with all of their sales and service People. Rachel is cool with our family and we are looking for a used Electric Blue MINI in the near future.
 
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:26 PM
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When the oil is clear, you can't see it on the stick

I have a 2007 S, and with the corrugated dip-stick, when the oil is not dirty (for the first 2500 miles after an oil change), no matter how you turn that little sucker, you can't tell where the oil level is. It's just a very, very bad design that should NEVER have gotten out the door. The purpose of a dipstick is to easily see the level of the oil. Giving it to a designer with the instructions "make it look different" defeats the purpose. Function over Form, people, not the other way around for functional things like dipsticks. For a $25000 car, from the great minds of BMW/Mini, I expect more. If I lived close to the dealer, I'd pull in there once a week and ask them to check the oil, just to make a point. But, it's 15 miles away, so that's out.
 
  #22  
Old 02-18-2011, 01:28 PM
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If you take a paper towel & hold the dipstick against it you can easily see the oil level. As far as the design I wish my R53 had one like yours instead of a plastic one that breaks. I'm on my second one.
 
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Old 10-01-2011, 12:33 PM
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I am so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who thinks the corrugated dipstick is impossible to read.
 
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Old 12-21-2011, 10:32 PM
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This post is old but still valid on the 2011's. After trying to check the oil with a paper towel several factors prevented a good read. First the oil is clean and saturates the area above and below safe area, then when pulled out deposits on the shaft are enough to throw off the high tech paper towel method MINI has given us.
Waiting for the oil to cool is not an answer, the manual says check it warm.
So, my solution is to wait the 5 minutes as Manual states for shaft to drip down. Second retrieve a grease cleaner like Formula 409 or Purple Power. Then remove dipstick slowly, favorably, you pulled it out before drip down. Apply Grease Remover to a clean dry rag, rub the dipstick until clean and dry. Insert with slow twist until it seated, pull out immediately and view under good lighting with paper towel method. This is an accurat reading that takes a little more prep but needless to say, solid answers are required for this procedure to be of any good to the owner or manufacturer.
 
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:07 AM
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Great information for a new owner, forewarned is forearmed. I will be careful. I do usually use the paper towel method with other vehicles and I familiar with the wiggle route with some other cars I check oil on. Thank you from a newbie.
 
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