I just bought a 2000 Honda Civic EX and the dipstick is broken off in the tube. Is there anyway for me to get it out myself? It doesn’t look like I will be able to fish it out with needle nose pliers…does the dipstick tube unscrew out? Any other ideas? If I can’t fix this myself, how much do you think the dealer will charge to fix it?
The top of the dipstick tube is usually attached to the engine with a bolt. If you can find that bolt and remove it, and then pull and twist the dipstick tube it’ll pop out so the broken dipstick can be removed.
You could lower a small magnet into the dipstick tube and try to fish it out. That’ll work best if it’s the entire dipstick or at least most of it. For a small piece, I’d go with Tester’s method.
I would pass on the dealer if you decide you can’t fix it. Any independent mechanic should be able to fix it, and you can order a replacement dipstick through the dealer or online if you need to.
Once the bolt is out, the careful twisting motion will get it out. Be careful not to lose the rubber ‘O’ ring. Get it out carefully. Most manufacturers recommend replacing that O ring with a new one. But you might luck out if you’re careful and not need a new one. Try your local parts store for a replacement, if necessary. They usually have a compartmentalized box with various sizes of O rings and are a whole heck of a lot more reasonable on prices over a dealer. A good tool for getting the broken dipstick out is a straightened wire coat hanger. Then check junk yards for a replacement dip stick. Make sure that the new dipstick is exactly for your year and size of engine. Take the old piece with you for show-and-tell. When you put the dip stick tube back in, just cap it until you get the replacement dip stick. The O ring at the bottom and the dip stick cap will keep the engine oil where it belongs–in the engine.
You’re going to need a new dipstick anyway . . . get the new one, magnetize it . . . (either by attaching a small magnet to it or otherwise) put it in the tube, remove it and hopefully the old one will come out with the new one, then de-magnetize the new one . . . or for that matter . . . leave it magnetized . . . and wipe it clean once a week when you check the oil . . . you’ll have the added benefit of removing small metal particles whenever you check your oil. Rocketman
Hey, Rocketman, thanks for the tip about magnetizing the dipstick. I never thought about that but it is now in what’s left of my memory banks. Geez. A new trick learned.
No problem prof . . . I’ll have to get my science books out to remember how to magnetize things . . . I remember doing this with the tip of a screwdriver once to keep the screws from falling down into something . . . but my memory is fading at times as well. Rocketman
For my little cousins I magnetize things with them with them using an old 110v electric motor that I took apart. I just plug in the coil and leave some ferrous things in there for a couple of minutes. Unplug it and Wallah! magnetized iron.
How to be a dipstick magnet : http://www.ehow.com/how_2109665_magnetize-demagnetize-screwdriver.html
…and I should know.
And when the O ring is to be reinstalled, put it on the tube and not in the hole first. If you put it in the hole first, you might break it. Maybe not so much on a dipstick tube, but it would break on a Holley Carb fuel pipe.