Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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White dipsticks

Contrasting with the colour of the oil
  (+3)
(+3)
  [vote for,
against]

Most engine oil, when it reaches the sump, is silvery-black, and most dipsticks are a dark silver colour. This makes checking the oil level a vaguely taxing task. So why not make them white? Or at least a colour that contrasts more with the oil. The only problem i can see would be some kind of coloured coating reacting with the oil, but surely...
DRstrathmore, Jun 20 2003

biodiesel http://www.afdc.doe...fuel/biodiesel.html
Won't solve the dipstick problem, but will make your car smell tasty. [hob, Oct 17 2004]

Biodiesel.org http://www.biodiesel.org/
[Laughs Last, Oct 17 2004]

[link]






       really?
demtangs, Jun 20 2003
  

       Yeah! They have these springs in the wheels too that do wonderful things.
DRstrathmore, Jun 20 2003
  

       or red - painted? excellent idea. I have good close up eye sight however this is an exercise I fail to do often.   

       remove m-f-d/e like I say, an excellent idea.
po, Jun 20 2003
  

       How about including a dip-stick wiper in the engine?
supercat, Jun 20 2003
  

       cats-tongue?
po, Jun 20 2003
  

       A dip-stick wiper sounds like a good idea, saves worrying about wether your cloth is lint-free or not.   

       Thanks po, i'll consider it.
DRstrathmore, Jun 20 2003
  

       Who here marks their own as bad? Not a Kat! Get outta the Kat tray. Plus 1
The Kat, Jun 20 2003
  

       /A dip-stick wiper sounds like a good idea/   

       Something to wipe the dipstick clean as you pull it out? Sorry, I think I may have missed the point here.
egbert, Jun 20 2003
  

       Whatever the colour, after a few months soaking in hot oil the surface would still be camouflaged to "few - months - old - oil - colour". Nice thought though.
Oh, and the dip-stick wiper? What [egbert] said.
angel, Jun 20 2003
  

       you chaps, you always miss the point!
po, Jun 20 2003
  

       Well, all you need to do is find another material that doesn't stain and can withstand high temperatures. Pyrex with a white core?
Worldgineer, Jun 20 2003
  

       A slightly porous ceramic coating?
bristolz, Jun 20 2003
  

       Disposable heat resistant white sheaths? (aka dipstick condoms)
Worldgineer, Jun 20 2003
  

       Or dye the oil.
FarmerJohn, Jun 20 2003
  

       What happened to the aluminum anno? I think a light colored metal may be a good solution.
Worldgineer, Jun 20 2003
  

       This is right in the category of those little rubber connections for your gascap, keeping you from driving off without it. The "nobrainer" type good idea - so clearly good it is hard to see why it has not been baked. Big Ham and Cheese Croissant.
bungston, Jun 20 2003
  

       //Something to wipe the dipstick clean as you pull it out? Sorry, I think I may have missed the point here.//   

       The idea would be that the wiper would only clean the dipstick as it was being inserted--not as it was being removed.
supercat, Jun 20 2003
  

       OK..."Aluminum?" I took it down because aluminum dipsticks exist. I enjoy these brainstorming type annotations and didn't want to throw in a showstopper.
half, Jun 20 2003
  

       Suede?
bungston, Jun 20 2003
  

       //The idea would be that the wiper would only clean the dipstick as it was being inserted--not as it was being removed.//   

       Precisely what i've been trying to put into words.
DRstrathmore, Jun 20 2003
  

       "Oh, you mean I was supposed to have the engine off when I did that?"
bristolz, Jun 20 2003
  

       How about a steel float with a position sensor?
Worldgineer, Jun 20 2003
  

       We have an electronic dipstick in our car. Please don't ask me what color electronic is.
DrCurry, Jun 20 2003
  

       Wow! an electronic dipstick is pretty wild. Does it fluctuate with RPM's?
Zimmy, Jun 21 2003
  

       It spins around at 1/1000th of the engines speed, just for effect. I bet the fine Dr. has installed an under-hood webcam for visual amusement of the passengers.
Cedar Park, Jun 21 2003
  

       When I was younger and much more poor my Mom would check the gas in our El Camino with the handle of a broom stick.
shazam, Jun 21 2003
  

       you couldn't make that up :)
po, Jun 21 2003
  

       Sorry [UnaBubba] it had petrol. Also it had 1 red door and the rest of the vehical was blue. Throw in a white dip stick and viola! a patriotic El Camino.
shazam, Jun 21 2003
  

       Teflon might do the trick. I'm going to see what I can track down as far as dipstick manufacturers.   

       Dad used to start the truck with a chicken-catcher, (a long rod of steel with a bend and loop at one end and a wooden handle at the other. Bum starter cable.
RayfordSteele, Jun 21 2003
  

       [Worldgineer]'s "steel float with a position sensor" was baked in my old 1962 Rover P4. The fuel gauge doubled as an oil level gauge, connected to a float in the sump.
angel, Jun 23 2003
  

       With today's technology, I don't see why we have to resort to dipsticks. Surely, we can have a sensor that detects oil level and another that tests for quality?   

       Come to mention, it why do we need oil? Engines should by now be near frictionless, having electronic spark and fuel management systems, high hardness and/or pneumatic and/or magnetic bearings and fewer moving parts.   

       Maybe we could do without the engine and use a fuel catalysis system or gasoline fired turbine?   

       Above notwithstanding, croissant (+)
FloridaManatee, Jun 23 2003
  

       [FM] The oil is also important to cooling, so in addition to solving the friction problem, you need to sufficiently improve internal combustion efficiency to stop wasting heat energy...   

       + for the idea - and if oil was edible and tasty, you could just lick it off... Is it time for an engine cooled and lubricated with maple syrup?
Don Quixote, Jun 23 2003
  

       Perhaps the dipstick should be color-changing, like those spoons they give out in boxes of cereal. Which would also be a nice way to distribute them! I guess it could be heat-sensitive, but oil sensitive would be much much better.
Overpanic, Jun 23 2003
  

       I suspect teflon wouldn't work very well. Oil tends to flow very easily across teflon, so when you pull he dipstick out, there will probably just be a single drop hanging from the end of the stick, even if it's actually full.   

       It seems likely that any material that doesn't have this problem would have the problem of getting stained by the oil.
scad mientist, Jun 23 2003
  

       bp that is genius. is it possible to blow oil bubbles?
po, Jun 23 2003
  

       i have a ceramic coated dipstick thingymabob in my new car. and it only cost about $20K...the car, on the other hand, was free with purchase. *woot*
bonzaiballerina, Jun 23 2003
  

       [bp] Baked on our Suburban.   

       [bb] Whack :-D
galukalock, Jun 24 2003
  

       I just finished rebuilding my engine and in the process the original dipstick tube bent somehow. The only dipstick available for my engine(302c.i., 5.0l) is a chrome one. Viewing the oil level is no problem at all, especialy when it reflects something light in hue. Since you have to wipe the dipstick in order to get an acurate reading, that dip stick wiper idea would be something I would invest in.
demtangs, Jun 24 2003
  

       Seems like a good idea.... What about a sight glass. Do away with the dipstick. You could have a remote camera option on cars that would allow you to 'see' the sight glass from within your car. In addition to that you could 'see' various aspects of car operation; check you tie rods ends after a pothole hit, what is that under my seat, did I put the gas cap on, did I put that X in the trunk, check out that female driver at a stop light without eye contact.....
birdi, Jun 25 2003
  

       Why not paint your dipstick with whiteout... I'll try it on my Toyota Corolla first... Will it void the warranty? :)~
drakey, Jun 25 2003
  

       Correct me if I am wrong, but I think you only check the oil level, when the engine has stopped for quite some time. This will allow the oil to flow back to a stable position. So I check my car's oil level every month or so, BEFORE I leave. I have a display on the dashboard which is active for only a few seconds, after that the display shuts down - the level wouldnt be accurate.   

       Now I wonder, why does the dipstick has to sit in the oil all the time? Can the dipstick not be kept separately?   

       Checking the oil would indeed be much easier with a white dipstick. The paint does not have to be heat resistent!   

       So much for the mundane stuff. Electronics in a car seem to be indirect - I tend not to trust them. I would much more prefer something eloborated, like a glass pipe (connected to the oil circuit) on my dashboard, showing the level.   

       Can't we use olive oil?
spekkie, Jun 25 2003
  

       My lawnmower has a short gray plastic dipstick, which is usually easy to spot oil with, but some genius decided to make the lawnmower oil blue, which, when thinly coating the dipstick, is nearly indistinguishable. But if the oil were a nice red color...
Cr0esus47, Jun 25 2003
  

       Guys, i just figured it out. You remember when you were a little kid, and you put your straw in a glass of soda, then put your finger over the top of the straw? you were able to pull out the soda, AND...the level of soda in the straw was equal to the level of soda in the cup. So for the dipstick idea, make a hollow dipstick. It can have a slit up one side, at the business end, with a glass covering allowing you to see the level of oil you've trapped. Done.
Overpanic, Jun 27 2003
  

       AND you will still have to distinguish between the dark metal and the dark oil through glass AND you won't even have the shiny effect which is what I look for anyway.
po, Jun 27 2003
  

       Replace it with glass and you might have something though.
Worldgineer, Jun 27 2003
  

       I made one key omission; thank you for pointing it out [Po]. The slit should be on both sides of the hollow metal tube, 180 degrees apart, and high enough that the oil level should never pass out of the visible range. Inside this dually-slit metal tube should be a hollow glass tube.   

       Now you can see the contrast between the dark oil and the clear (albeit filthy) glass. You don't even need the "shiny effect". Marvelous.
Overpanic, Jun 27 2003
  

       in this day and age, this dipstick nonsense is mediaeval (well, old-fashioned) there should be a technical gizmo looking like a pipette with a timer that allows you to drop something into the oil and it measures the time taken to pick up the sound of the splash.
po, Jun 27 2003
  

       its a sign of age, when you don't know if someone is talking dirty <g>
po, Jun 27 2003
  

       And what about the oil warning light? Surely there's some kind of sensor in there already, electronic or otherwise, that can tell if the oil level's too high or too low.
DRstrathmore, Jun 27 2003
  

       don't know - hey, you started this!! & you got 43 frigging votes so far. don't forget, it was me that said don't mfe this <grin>
po, Jun 27 2003
  

       Duhh... oh yeah. Well, the solution is clearly to develop live organisms, like sea monkeys or little oil-dolphins, that swim around bouncing sonar off the egdes to gauge how much oil is left. In clean, plentiful oil they emit happy contented noises. In dirty or low oil they emit listless, anxious and depressed noises. To check the oil, you open up your bonnet (after waiting for a few minutes for the oil to settle), place a specially-adapted listening-horn to the side of the sump, press your ear against it, and listen reeeally carefully.
DRstrathmore, Jun 27 2003
  

       Set the oil on fire, see how long it burns?
hob, Jun 27 2003
  

       from the instant obsolesence department: make them disposable, one time use. Dense white paper inserts you stick in a slot in the tip, with slow wicking action so the level is accurate. Make it change color depending on the quality of the oil (white ->yellow -> red) tells you when you actually need to change your oil. [+]
oxen crossing, Jun 27 2003
  

       And the problem of not enough oil spilled all over the gas station and roadway.
Worldgineer, Jul 07 2003
  

       Yeah, cliff d and Worldg, but how about having a reservoir around the top of the tube, so when it spills out the top, the excess goes into the res, cap the whole lot, sits there until level goes down, when a one way flap valve lets the excess fall into filler tube? Except that the level is usually way down low on the engine, hard to reach.
oxen crossing, Jul 07 2003
  

       Thanks for the link, reensure. You managed to find something I couldn't. It would appear that our friends Ray and Tom didn't really reach a conclusion. Clean oil and a white dipstick would still be indistinguishable? I'll have to try than one. Besides, (and sorry to re-iterate slightly) when oil reaches the point at which it can be measured, it is never anywhere near as clear as it was in the can. Still, quite an eye-opener.
DRstrathmore, Jul 07 2003
  

       I reccently rebuilt my motor, ie completely cleaned out inside... and having to use high grade synthetics which are usually transparent and stay that way for a few thousand km .... not to mention the oil seems to migrate along the surface of the metal so the result is i have no friggen idea what my oil level is untill close to when it's time for the next change.   

       So what did I do? I put some paint on my dipstick which helped, but it flaked off... later found it smeared thinly around various internal pats and bearings.................. Since gone dry sump kit ....
venomx, Jul 13 2003
  

       /cliff-dood/- some in Spain say the cooking oil thing has actually been baked (not fried), converting diesel engines. Is this possible?
git, Jul 19 2003
  

       cliff_dood and git, you're talking about biodiesel, which has been around for a while... though, oddly, I never heard of it till I moved to California. See link.
hob, Aug 07 2003
  

       *sccchhchh* Welcome to halfbaked Chicken-hut. *scccchhhch* May I take your order? *sccchhhchh*
"I'll have the 8-piece Chicken meal"
*sccchhhhchch* Original or *scchhchh* Extra Krispy?
"Original - the Extra Krispy gives me gas."
*Erk* - *scccchhhhhh* so, you *sccchhhch* want the Original, right?
"Yeah."
*scchchhhhcchh* m-kay, that'll be 9.47. *scccchchhh* Pull up to the first window to pay, please. *scccchhhhhh*
"Here's 10"
Your change is .53. Pull up to the second window and pop your hood.
...
thumbwax, Aug 07 2003
  

       >>> The dipstick in my Toyota Echo IS white!
scarkner, Aug 07 2003
  

       To avoid having to wipe the dipstick, could it 's default position be higher than the sump, requiring one to push it in first before pulling it out? A familiar action for a large segment of the population..
peterpeter, Aug 07 2003
  

       this idea is baked! most new imports come with a wire type dip stick and at the end is a piece of white plastic! the only reason i know is that i work on cars for a living.
bobbye, Aug 08 2003
  

       Why not make white motor oil and then we can all use our standard black dip sticks.
bronco, Sep 16 2003
  

       Biodiesel is not the same as straight vegetable oil (SVO). Fascinating stuff, see links. BTW, I want an internally illuminated dipstick so I can check the oil level in the dark.
Laughs Last, Sep 16 2003
  

       ive never had a problem with my dip stick. dipsticks
mini1, Oct 13 2003
  

       Baked. Many manufactures place a flat white piece of (non-yellowing, heat resistant, chemical resistant) plastic at the end of a metal dip stick. Most newer vehicles also have an oil level sensor and light sensors that can tell how dirty your oil is, and when it needs to be changed. By the way, even a steel dipstick shows oil just fine, just so long as you change your oil and dont let the inside of your engine get all black and cruddy
bender, Oct 16 2003
  

       old dip stick that are dicoloured with soot or smitch can be renewed with a quci scrub with steel wool of fine grit wet/dry emery paper, dont' clean the oil off first, rub it down for a sec, shiny high contrast metal will be restored. USE ONLY FINE grit, to avoid removing the level markings!
xylene, Oct 16 2003
  

       That's right, Biodiesel. One more step towards soylent petrolem products. When you're tired of grandma, give us a call.   

       [This ad brought to you in part by the department of Bio-Energy conservation.]
notOriginal, Dec 02 2003
  

       Deep stick?!
Helder, Mar 04 2004
  

       So simple, I don't know why it's not already done!
bspollard, May 24 2004
  
      
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