My engine oil dipstick melted. Why did this happen? What should I do?

I had my engine oil changed about 1,700 miles ago. I checked my oil level after 1,000 miles. The dipstick was fine and the oil level was normal.

The entire 1,700 miles I put on the car were done within the past 2 weeks. I drive for Uber.

I’m not sure if the dipstick melted today, but today is when I noticed it. I drove for 8 hours straight today with having the car on most of the time.

I had a new catalytic converter installed, and new coolant put in 1,700 miles ago as well.

It might be helpful if we know what make and model your car is, how many miles al total on it, how long you’ve owned it…

You wrote that you drive for Uber and you put 1,200 miles on it in two weeks, is this typical?

And any other pertinent facts, we would need to be aware of…

1 Like

How is your coolant temperature gauge? Is the cooling fan coming on like it should, especially when not moving, or idling for long periods?

1 Like

Installing the heat shield back on the Exhaust Manifold Converter might cut down on some under hood heat…

Down here in the south, I have seen many of those cheap yellow handles break off the metal dip sticks…


It looks like the heat shield for the exhaust manifold is missing.



2005 Camry. 103k miles. I bought the car at 53k miles. I did have to replace the engine in this car at 73k miles though. The auto shop told me the replacement engine had approximately 70k miles. I’ve owned the car for maybe four years now.

I put 1,700 miles on the car in 2 weeks. I usually drive a lot of miles, but have been driving more than usual. I’ve probably been doing 200-300 more miles per week than normal.

Last night I waited until my gas tank was nearly empty before I refilled. The light came on. I’m not sure if this may have an effect.

The coolant temp gauge looks normal. I’ll have to take a look at the cooling fan.

I don’t believe my previous exhaust manifold had a heat shield on it.

I will buy a new stainless steel dipstick from Autozone today. The former one had a plastic tip.

Should I change my oil asap since there could be plastic circulating in the engine?

You can see one of the holes on the exhaust manifold where the heat shield mounts in the top image you provided.



Yes, but this is the third time I had a new exhaust manifold/catalytic converter installed. I’m pretty sure the second one didn’t have a heat shield installed by the auto shop either and I never had this problem.

I recently moved to Texas though and am driving a lot more. I wonder if this record-breaking Texas heat is playing a role.

Do you recommend me buying a heat shield from an auto parts store?

That, and the missing heat shield.



A heat shield should be installed to protect the parts near the exhaust manifold/catalyst. The tip of the dipstick is submerged in oil, not related to the exhaust system.


I guess you’re disagreeing with Tester then. What do you think the cause is then?

The dipstick is quite close to the exhaust manifold.

Did the handle break?

This is an engine with the oil pan removed. The tip of the dipstick is at the bottom of the engine inside the oil pan.


The handle didn’t break. The only part that was damaged was the tip of the dipstick that goes into the oil.

I just spoke to my mechanic over the phone and he believes that the dipstick didn’t melt because that would mean the engine got extremely hot and there would have been signs of that. He thinks the dipstick just broke off.

Whether the dipstick melted or broke, it’s not necessary to immediately change the oil right? The plastic should be sitting in the pan and not circulating in the engine right?

The round screen hanging low in the picture is the oil pump pick-up screen, debris can’t enter the oil pump.

1 Like

Did your mechanic find the tip of the dip stick in the oil pan? Maybe you should just replace the dip stick and drive on.

1 Like

I’m confused. The photos I find of Camry dipsticks don’t have plastic at the end in the engine, just at the handle. Is your handle unmelted?


Could it have been melted or improperly seat on top? Would that allow air to suck in and travel down in to the engine which has a vacuum in it? The dipstick tube could get very hot being next to the exhaust manifold and this would heat the air traveling down the tube, which would heat up the end of the dipstick.

Was the wrong dipstick put in? Is that the engine or transmission dipstick? Did they get switched?

1 Like

I’ve never seen a dipstick with that orange thing on the end. But I’ve never seen a dipstick on a car less than 30 years old either … lol …

I’m guessing all you need to do dipstick-wise is replace it with a new or used one. It may have been defective or damaged during the engine replacement job. Suggest to pay full attention to the comments above about immediately replacing the exhaust manifold heat shield, as the radiant heat from it may damage nearby engine compartment parts, like the radiator, rubber hoses, sensors, etc. . Seems unlikely the missing heat shield is related to the dipstick problem though.

Make sure the oil level is correct, coolant level is correct, engine compartment fans turn on when they should, and monitor the dashboard coolant temp gauge or warning lights Post back if you discover the engine is overheating.

1 Like