As cars become “smarter”, it’s projected that the number of sensors will only increase. So, what can you do if you don’t want to rely on a sensor to tell you if there’s something wrong with your car?
Usually not much. However, sometimes you can convert a digital system into an analog one! We’ll be putting this idea to the test by showing you how to do an oil dipstick conversion on select Audi engines. That’s right, many Audi models don’t come with a dipstick. With this conversion, you’ll be able to check your oil the ‘old-fashioned way’
Article updated on 11/01/21. Original publishing date 11/27/18
What Is A Dipstick And What It’s Used For?
One of the main reasons why so many people say that classic cars are better than modern cars is their simplicity. Many drivers reminisce of days when you could feel exactly what the car was doing, but also see what’s going on with the internals.
That’s why some classic cars have been in one family for generations, even though most of them went through a differential rebuild or two, or had completely new engines installed.
A common criticism of modern cars is that they rely too much on various sensors. The average number of sensors a modern car has is around 75, although many have north of 100. Seems too much, right?
Many modern cars have completely eliminated dipsticks and replaced them with, you’ve guessed it, another sensor. So what is a dipstick anyway?
A dipstick is a narrow metal rod that has a small scale engraved on one end. The scale features MIN and MAX values and goes deep into the engine’s oil pan. In most vehicles, it’s marked with a bright yellow color, which contrasts the often transparent engine oil. The idea is that you can check whether your car needs topping off at any moment. Depending on engine type, the dipstick can be placed on the front, back, or side of the engine.
Some car manufacturers thought that it was a good idea to get rid of the dipstick and replace it with a sensor that will alert the driver immediately if the oil level is too low.
This wouldn’t be an issue in a world where sensors never fail, but they do. A faulty oil level sensor can nuke your engine because there’s a chance you could run it dry without even realizing it.
Having a regular dipstick is still the best option. Thankfully, there are aftermarket kits that allow certain vehicles to have a regular dipstick for manual oil level checks.
How to Check the Oil Using a Dipstick?
To check the oil level, the car should be off for about 15 minutes. You should pull out the dipstick, wipe the bottom part with a clean rag or paper towel, insert it into the tube as deep as it goes, and pull it back out after a few seconds. The oil level should be visible on the MIN-MAX scale.
How Often do Oil Level Sensors Fail?
The honest answer is not often. But you only need it to fail once. Sensors have a limited lifespan after which they might start sending faulty readings to the ECU. This can, in turn, cause the ECU to put your car in limp mode as a means of damage prevention.
If a faulty sensor sends information that there’s below minimum oil in the engine, the ECU can also prevent the car from starting at all. Without a dipstick, the only thing you can do is take the car to a mechanic who will drain the engine of oil completely and add new oil to the car.
For premium car brands such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz, or BMW, even an oil change can be costly, let alone the consequences of fixing the engine after driving it without enough oil.
By checking the oil level manually, you can be 100% sure that there’s enough oil in there.
You can also visually check the oil which can sometimes tell you a lot about the quality of oil, as well as what’s going on inside your engine. For example, if you pull the dipstick, and you see the oil that looks like a chocolate milkshake, you’ll know that your car is mixing oil and coolant somewhere.
Which Audi Models Are Eligible For A Dipstick Conversion?
If you’re an Audi driver, the easiest way to check whether or not your car has a dipstick is to pop the hood and do a visual inspection. The dipstick delete is not just a trend for German car manufacturers. Many other car manufacturers started deleting dipsticks from their models as well.
There’s no definitive reason why car manufacturers started deleting dipsticks from their models. Whether it’s because there were too many complaints or because car owners did too much DIY work on their vehicles, the dipstick was one of the most useful features on any car. Here’s the list of engines eligible for a dipstick conversion.
2.0 TFSI and 2.0 TFSI Hybrid Models
The first thing you should be aware that many newer Audi models don’t have an OEM dipstick. Some models can be fitted with dipsticks from other models, but there will likely be some difference when it comes to fit.
Almost all 2.0 TFSI models from 2008 to 2012 have a plug where the dipstick should be. These models are the simplest to perform dipstick conversion on because you only need a dipstick with a 06J115611EH code.
3.0T, 3.2L, and V6 Models
When it comes to more powerful Audi models, one specific dipstick (code 06E115611HH) fits more models.
Although you’ll get pretty close to factory measurement of oil level, some models simply aren’t designed to leave enough room for the dipstick itself. The ring you grab to pull it out might need to be trimmed to avoid hitting the insulation on the hood. Most people who did a dipstick conversion on these models had to cut out the upper half of the ring in order to clear the hood.
The list of models that this dipstick fits includes:
- Audi A4 Quattro 3.2L V6 (2009- )
- Audi A5 Quattro 3.2L V6 (2009- )
- Audi S4 Quattro 3.0T (2010-2016)
- Audi S5 Quattro 3.0T (2009- )
- Audi A6 Quattro 3.0T (2012-2017)
- Audi A8 Quattro 3.0T (2013-2017)
- Audi Q5 3.0T and 3.2L (2009-2017)
Where to Find Parts for an Audi Dipstick Conversion?
Here at eEuroparts.com, we carry a wide range of car parts for your Audi. Among those, you’ll find every component we’ve mentioned above, including the parts necessary to complete a dipstick conversion on your car. Head over to our store, select your vehicle from our dropdown menu, and you’ll be presented with a list of products that are guaranteed to fit your car!