Trouble reading Dipsticks

robertz6August 22, 2012

I find it hard to read all dipsticks when putting in new oil. Black/used oil is no problem.

Any suggestions for an additive to make the oil stand out better. Black or dark food dye maybe?

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I also have difficulty, so what I do is simply wait for a few hours for ALL the oil to run down the fill tube.
I DO know how much oil to add, so I'm going to be VERY close in any case.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 3:48PM
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New and clean oil is hard to see IMO and I have never heard of an additive to make it easier. On critical oil changes that is easy to see (due to dark oil) I'll measure the old if needed to refill (if it shows full). Otherwise, I look at "Repeatedly Cleaned" dip sticks at an angle vs straight on in good light helps me. The lighter the Oil's Weight "The Harder".

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 6:22PM
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I'm older and it's really hard for me to read due to the aggressive change intervals. I dye the XXXXXX area of the dip sticks with Blue or red machine dye..(good machine dye like Dykem Brand soaks into the metal with little residue)

I also find if I roll it into the light I can see the wet line more clearly as suggested. Two methods I use.. IF you leave it in there long enough it will tarnish the dipstick making it easier to see???

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 12:11AM
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Drill small holes(1/16-1/8") in the dipstick between the full and add marks.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 8:00AM
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I find the use of a small maglite flashlite helps when in darker garage areas or poor lighting conditions .

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 11:27AM
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Tried reading the dipstick in the dark with a flashlite, and in the sun. One of my mower dipsticks had low and high holes, the other did not. Nothing seemed to help.

So I bought a pack of food dye at the dollar store. Thought I could add red to the 10-30 oil, and blue dye to the 30 oil, since I usually forget which oil in the mower. Added 10 drops of color to one cup of water for a test. Nice color. But when the food color was added to oil, it did not show up.

Anyway, problem solved. I stick a piece of wood (ice bar stick or chop stick) in the oil hole, then match the level against the dipstick. Works great with regular fresh oil.

One tip I like -- a digital camera is a great way to save info about your mower or engine. I take one pic of the mower manuf. sticker, another of the general engine info (i.e. B&S Sprint 3.75hp), and a third of the engine info.
When I write stuff down in a small notebook, I never can find it later.

Is there a site when one can look up a older engine to find what the oil capacity is? I know what my newish Sear mower holds with the manual info, but the other mower is at least 30 years old and was bought cheap without a manual.

Briggs and Stratton Sprint 3.75 hp.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 5:45PM
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When the oil is fresh I use a paper towel. You pull the dipstick out, wipe it off, and then reinsert it per manufacturers directions.

On a clean part of the paper towel, lay the dipstick so oil on the dipsticks leaves an impression on the paper towel. Then carefully compare the impression on the paper towel to the markings on the dipstick.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 8:51PM
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You should be able to find the manual for your Sears tractor at this URL

Most manufacturers now have online manuals. John Deere has them back to the late 1990's models.

I have a directory on the hard drive of my laptop where I collect e versions of all of my manuals, pictures like mentioned previously, and clippings I pick up on forums and elsewhere.

With ever thing electronic, you can print your personal check list for the spring servicing of your lawn tractor. Complete it as you do each line, and when finished scan it back into the computer and maintain it in in your tractor information directory.

With an e-manual you can print the parts of the manual so you will have it for trouble shooting

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:10PM
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A friend MADE his own dipstick once and I noticed how
well it worked just for your problem. Here's what he did:

He cut into the mark where the fill level was topped up.
The cut he made was deep enough so that oil actually
'hung in' the groove and that made it simple to see.

The dipstick he made was using 1/4" diameter rod.

but the cut into it was all the way around and about
1/8" deep and about 1/4" wide.

I know most of your dipsticks are thin bits of spring steel
and the last thing you want to do is to cut a deep
swath that causes it to break off.. so

1) think about what you'll do
2) Consider whether drying it and cleaning it then
marking it with a black marker would help oil to show up
3. Don't , IMHO, wrap a piece of tape around it. The
tape will probably fall off..
4. However an o-ring made of silicone will resist oil
and won't swell or shrink or crack. In fact a bit of
tubing made from silicone slipped over the dipstik
should catch enough oil on its edge to work.
Where to get it?
Amazon has it. Also teflon should work but it's not
flexible. teflon tubing is used especially as a
covering for electronic parts leads .. sold on ebay or
from any electronics or surplus house. one place called
Halted 1 800 4 halted will ship it to you.
--also - for silicone tubing -
Model supply houses sell it for use as fuel line in RC
cars. Now you'll have to get luckly that it fits over
the dip-stick and still goes through the hole into the

The truck my friend had was a 1959 Ford panel truck.
The shot to the crankcase was straight so no bending
required and no spring steel needed. if yours is the
same then make your own dipstick and do it up like his.
(or not) good luck.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:35AM
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The older Craftsman engines that were not equipped with dip-sticks---you were supposed to add oil into the little hole on the side of the engine, until it ran out. You could wait a bit and add more, then put in the plug. I never figured out how to stack the oil up inside the engine--when the oil ran out, i put in the plug, and that was the correct amount to be in the engine! RJ

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:28PM
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lonewoof(z7 SC)

Suggestion 1: Rough up the end of the dipstick with sandpaper
Sugg 2: make a series of dimples along the end of the dipstick with a center punch
Sugg 3: File a series of notches along the side of the dipstick
Sugg 4: Drill a couple of small holes in the dipstick at the "FULL" and "ADD OIL" marks

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 3:39PM
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