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

Does everyone agree with this?

I’m wondering if I should immediately get an oil change to prevent the melted or broke plastic from circulating around the engine and damaging it.

I didn’t have the mechanic look at the car yet. I just spoke to him on the phone.

Why would this mechanic not install the heat shield if it’s so important?

There is a very small chance of the broken tip getting kicked up and caught in the timing chain sprocket, the piece would probably break into little pieces.

Change the oil. If the broken piece doesn’t come out with the oil, will you remove the oil pan to find it?

One more time-is your photo showing the tip that goes in the motor? The handle is un-melted? There shouldn’t be plastic at the tip.


I would install the heat shield.

Why? They messed up. It happens. Get a shield.

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I have found it difficult to purchase heat shields for various cars/trucks difficult as a separate part from the exhaust manifold. Even if this was one of the reasons, a competent and diligent mechanic should have alerted you to the missing part and explained why it is important.

The dipstick tip doesn’t look melted in the picture, it appears broken off. But the picture is not high resolution so hard to tell. Here’s one possible explanation- someone removed the dipstick to check the oil level and the tip touched the hot manifold (because there is no heatshield) and melted it instantly. No way it melted inside the engine crankcase, there would be other catastrophic damage as well if that happened…


Yes, the second photo is showing the tip that goes into the oil pan or whatever. Before it broke or melted the plastic part was about three times longer.

Ok, then it broke, not melted, the handle would have been the part that melted, being close to the exhaust manifold. I’d just get a new dipstick and a replacement heat shield.

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I’m starting to believe this as well. Tester was the first one who suggested that the piece was melted due to a missing heat shield.

If that was the case, the dipstick handle wouldve been melted as well since it is much closer to the exhaust manifold. The actual dipstick tip seems too far to have been melted by the manifold. The distance is at least a foot.

Thanks. Do you think I can buy the new dipstick and get back to Uber driving today or should I change the oil and get the broken tip removed from the pan first?

I’ll also see if Autozone has a heat shield today.

I’m proposing someone removed the stick to check the oil or some other reason, wasn’t paying attention and touched the tip on the very hot exhaust pipe or laid it down close enough for it to melt the tip.


Actually that was me, Tester posted a picture of it… lol

But I think Twin Turbo nailed it with what happened, in 2 different post…

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I highly doubt this. I’m the only one that has been looking at the dipstick for the past 1,700 miles.

That plastic tip was about three inches long and there’s only one inch left on it now. I also would’ve noticed a burn before putting the dipstick back because I always look at the dipstick before putting it back in.

So is it melted or is it broken? It should be easy to tell the difference looking closely at it cleaned up. If it’s melted, it didn’t happen while installed in the dipstick tube.

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I would get a dipstick and a heat shield and drive on. I would not worry about a piece of dipstick in the pan, that’s what the screen’s for in the photo.

The only possible (if still VERY unlikely) way the dipstick tip melted while in the engine is if your oil was several quarts low, in which case you have MUCH bigger problems to worry about. Have you ever let the oil get that low?

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This is my take on it. You checked the oil, you were in a rush, and you were not careful when you pushed the dipstick back it. Since the plastic is old and has been sitting in hot oil for many years, it was probably brittle and it did not take much for it to break off and it probably just slid down the dipstick tube and is sitting on the bottom of your oil pan. Depending on the amount of gunk in the bottom of the pan, that piece of plastic may or may not flush out when you drain the oil. When you open the drain plug, that oil does not rush out like you are flushing a toilet, it just quickly flows out. If it is stuck on the bottom of your oil pan it is not going to hurt anything and it is not going to flow through the screen into the oil pump.

So, here is my advice, buy a new dip stick, change the oil with the exact recommended amount, then check the level with the new dipstick to ensure it reads correctly. If the new dipstick is a bit shorter, it will indicate that you are low on oil, which you are not…

If the dipstick is a bit longer, it will indicate that you have too much oil and again, this is not correct. Mark the new dipstick with a “notch” to indicate the proper level of oil and call it a day…

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Here’s a video on this exact problem, shows the broken (not melted) plastic part of the dipstick, along with what’s required to get it out of the pan.
Removing Broken Dipstick Camry 2AZFE - Bing video

edit - do NOT use gasoline for any clean-up, as they guy in the video does. Very dangerous.


Great video right up to 2:03 when he recommended using Gasoline to clean the oil pan, Do not do this, it is too easy to have a fire and then he uses paper towels to clean up the gas/oil mess. These paper towel are almost like “firebombs” waiting for an ignition source… Then, what, put them in a trash bag with other rags? Spontaneous combustion is a real possibility… Here are a couple of short videos…


I appreciate this. It looks like I have the same dipstick shown in this video and our dipsticks broke at the same exact location.