I Just Discovered The Best Oil Dipstick On The Planet

My wife and I just bought a 2008 Chevy HHR that sort of fell into our laps. A friend of mine was selling it because he could no longer use the clutch to shift the little black beauty. He called me to find the best way to sell it and when I went over to take pictures for the free classifieds…I knew I had to have it. The first thing I did was to check out all his maintenance documentation and to check the fluids. When I pulled the oil dipstick…I saw that it had a little rectangular piece of metal at the end. The metal had 4 grooves in it which held the oil and reading it was very simple. That impressed me more than the XM radio or the OnStar system. The little vehicle drove great and I went back and asked him what he wanted for the little car (SUV?). The price was very reasonable and he had a clear title in hand with only 70K on the clock. It’s a one owner vehicle with no mechanical problems or body damage so I bought it on the spot.

I believe that the oil dipstick on this HHR should be standard on every vehicle out there. It may be already as I do not check oil on very many vehicles any more. The other thing that impressed me was the 26 mpg reading on the onboard computer. I have no idea if it’s accurate or not but I will keep a close eye on it. The little vehicle is a kick to drive and looks great in my driveway. If it sounds like I’m gushing here a little…I probably am. I’m just glad my wife gave me the proper nod when I asked her about buying the little Chevy. Funny but the only thing that impressed her was the black paint color and the high end alloy wheels. I always ask her for her opinion on all large purchases even though I knew our bank account was going to be lower as soon as I saw it in my friend’s driveway. I may be kicking myself later in the month…but for now…I have a 2.2 powered 5 speed toy for hauling groceries and other essential items. I’m already thinking about adding SS badges but that’s only if I can find them at a reasonable price.

Some friends just traded theirs in after many years of happy service, their only complaint was it was like an ice skate on winter roads. My favorite dipstick was one that had holes drilled in it to check oil level. Easy to read!

I’ve seen similar dip stick markings on other GM vehicles, but I never thought they were that special or necessary. The dip stick on my Civic has two holes drilled into it. The top one is the “full” mark, and the bottom hole is the “add a quart” mark. I’m not sure why anyone needs more than that.

My brother’s Datsun SPL-311 had a dipstick with deep cross-hatching etched into it, so it was very easy to see exactly where the oil level was.

It also had markings for “Max” and “Min”.
We referred to Max & Min as…The happy little couple who live at the end of the dipstick.

Unfortunately, the dipstick was the only good part of that vehicle from hell, and our little joke about Max & Min was the only laugh we ever got out of that POS car…

launched by the Chevrolet division of American automaker General Motors at the 2005 Los Angeles Auto Show as a 2006 model — and designed by Bryan Nesbitt.[3] Smaller than the Equinox, the HHR shares the GM Delta platform with the Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5, Saturn Ion, and Saturn Astra. In Mexico, it was sold alongside its predecessor, the Opel-sourced Chevrolet Zafira compact MPV.

The last HHRs were assembled in May 2011. The HHR was sold in dealerships across North America until October 2011 (or stock rupture). In the compact crossover wagon/SUV class, the HHR was succeeded by the Chevrolet Trax in Canada and Europe, while the Chevrolet Orlando succeeded the HHR in the compact MPV class. The HHR was replaced in the U.S. by the Chevrolet Captiva Sport, a rebadged version of the Opel Antara. However, the Captiva Sport is only available as a fleet vehicle and is not available to the general public.


So you just paid $5000 for a dipstick and got a complete car thrown in the deal as well? Nice.

As a mechanic I’ve found the Ecotec to be a quite durable and reliable engine.

I know nothing about them mechanically, but I always liked the styling of the HHR. Especially the one configured with the pickup bed in back.
I agree with you that dipsticks should be easier to read. And, like you, I tend to be more impressed by intelligent “small things” design than by bells & whistles.


Thanks mountainbike.

I’ve always liked the styling of the HHR as well and always said if I ever found the right one in great condition with a great price that I would buy it. I was lucky enough to have one fall in my lap that met my criteria. BTW…I have often railed against TPMS but the system on this HHR is making me rethink my position. It actually works and reads all 4 wheels exactly to the pound as my trusty dial air pressure gauge. It even shows the increase (1 psi) in all 4 tires after driving on the interstate on a hot August day. In addition…I appreciate the holes in some oil dipsticks but the grooved block on this dipstick makes reading the oil level so much easier. As the same mountainbike has already alluded to…I love intelligent “small things” instead of the bell and whistle designs.

… The HHR was replaced in the U.S. by the Chevrolet Captiva Sport, a rebadged version of the Opel Antara. However, the Captiva Sport is only available as a fleet vehicle and is not available to the general public…

I believe the Captive is a Daewoo, GM Korea.

GM Korea (formerly Daewoo Motors) has come a long way since GM took them over. They build better cars than they used to when the Aveo was their mainstay.

I rented one of those HHR’s a couple years back and liked quite a few things about it. First off, it tracks straight down the road on the freeway at pretty fast speeds (80-85 mph) like it is on rails. Better than any other car I’ve driven. I could barely tell it was moving it handled so well at high speeds as I drove across barren northern Nevada. Second, the way the rear seats fold completely flat, with a hard surface to place things on, it makes a perfect rectangular shape for hauling stuff. Not sure if the front seats fold too, but if they did it would make for a perfect car camping experience, no need for a tent, just put an air mattress in the back, plenty of room for two people to sleep there in maximum comfort. Third, for the size and drive train power, it got pretty good mpg.

There were a few things I didn’t like. The glove box was very annoying. You’d put you wallet in the glove box, and find the wallet laying on the floor. There’s a big hole where things can fall out! I’m not kidding! You’d think the designers could get the glove box right, but somehow they messed up on that. Also the ECM was annoying. If you left the gas cap a little loose, the check engine light would come on. But then if you tightened the cap back up, the check engine light would stay on. Forever I assume, until you took it to the shop to be reprogrammed. That’s another thing I can’t imagine how the designers got it so wrong.

But leaving aside a few annoying traits, I thought it was a pretty good drive.

I’m with @Whitey; about the dip stick with holes in it.
Maybe my eyes are getting old, but I have a hard timer seeing the marks on most dipsticks.

I drilled two little holes into my Dakota’s dipstick over a year ago and it works great.


We had an HHR rental in Hawaii a few years ago. Tbey were all over the place there. Any time you see a lot of one model in a touristy area it usually means it sold badly and the maker sold them off cheaply to the rental companies. The HHR, alas, was not a success. It was intended to compete with the PT Cruiser, but by the time it came out the PT Cruiser was no longer popular. It is a shame, because I like the HHR and think it was one of the best domestic models of the last decade. Unlike the Cobalt it was based on, it had distinctive styling, and a roomy back seat. It would have been a great small family car. The only real negative for me was the very plasticky interior. It was just a sea of poorly fitted gray plastic, much like other bad GM interiors. However, I can excuse this in the HHR because it was an inexpensive car for its size. I think this would be a sensible purchase for a college student, cheap, reasonably efficient, cheap to maintain and repair, and very roomy.

That dipstick sounds good, indeed. I recall the ones from the old days that just had one slight groove at the full mark, with the word “full” stamped there. It’d be great if you could snap a photo of it so that I can get an impression of how much more I’d like it than the deep cross hatching that seems also to be a good approach.

The HHR sounds like a great vehicle to have. I think I’d like to have one, and I will add it to the list of possible future replacements for my car (long off in the future, hopefully, as things appear now).

Long off in the future I doubt there will be many HHRs around to buy. They stopped making it a few years ago and it’s the sort of car that gets rode hard and put away wet. You won’t be seeing them at Pebble Beach in 2100.

I rented an HHR once. I liked it but would like it better if it had the V6 in it and could pull a trailer.

According to my owners manual, that square dipstick with the horizontal lines is used in the L4 engines. The V6’s have holes drilled in the dipstick.

@ndemb I included a picture of the dipstick for you.

I have found a couple of little quirks with the HHR but it runs so good I’ll just have to overlook them. The cup holders are a little small and the front ones are located too close to the parking brake handle. I drove an SS model HHR back from Atlanta a few weeks ago. It was a beast compared to the normally aspirated models but I’m not a fan of turbochargers so I’d never own one of those. It will be the collectors item for HHR’s.

“I rented an HHR once. I liked it but would like it better if it had the V6 in it and could pull a trailer.”

@Bing … I said the exact same thing about the PT Cruiser when it first came out. I rented one for vacation and insisted on the manual transmission because I had to drive through some mountains. A 5-speed is the only way to go with a vehicle that’s equipped with 4 banger. The automatic models are usually slugs.

Finally! An intelligent dipstick!
Thanks for the photo. Sorry about the pun.

You guys are having a hard time reading the dipstick because your oil change interval is too short!!

Bees<-poke, poke

For a while, it seemed like new oil was difficult to see on the dip stick because it was virtually clear, but the oil I’ve been buying has a yellow tint to it when it’s new.