Mechanic calls our Dodge trucks over dipstick controversy

@huntfordchrysler/TikTok Mike Mareen/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘Wow! Yet another reason not to buy a Ram’: Chrysler worker calls out Dodge trucks over dipstick controversy

‘We’ve been looking everywhere.’


Chad Swiatecki


Ethan Shutt should be wearing a Sherlock Holmes deerstalker hat and carrying a pipe as he starts his latest TikTok video, sleuthing in search of the missing oil dipstick on a Dodge Ram.

The social media manager for Hunt Ford Chrysler of Franklin, Kentucky (@huntfordchrysler) is playing up the fact that one of the most basic steps in vehicle maintenance for decades has been checking the oil level with that long, thin strip of metal. It’s so basic that just about anyone who knew how to pop the hood on their car or truck could figure out how to check their oil.

Until now that new models come without it.

“We’ve been looking everywhere in this engine bay, and there is not a place for an oil dipstick to check your oil. That’s because this truck doesn’t actually have one,” admits Shutt.

Like most things in our increasingly technology-based world, an electronic sensor indicates the truck’s oil level in the display behind the steering wheel. That’s all well and good for most drivers these days since fewer and fewer of us really get excited about the prospect of looking at the mechanical guts of whatever it is we’re driving.

And as a spokesperson for Stellantis, which owns Dodge and Chrysler, tells the Daily Dot: “The 3.0-liter Hurricane is a premium engine in the company’s lineup. As such, the design team reviewed available technologies to enhance not only performance, fuel economy, and engine operation but also customer convenience. The oil level sensor allows for oil level monitoring for customers that choose not to check their oil level on a regular basis. Owners can check their own oil by way of the Oil Level Refresh Procedure that can be found in the owner’s manual. This can be done from the comfort of the cabin without leaving the vehicle.”

But Shutt notes that we lose out on more than just checking the oil level if we don’t have a dipstick available.

“You’re not going to be able to check the viscosity, the color, any of that stuff that you’re typically able to when you check it manually,” he informs us.

What’s the big deal about the lack of a dipstick on new cars?

More precisely, a close look at a dipstick could show if the oil was white, gray, or foamy (indicative of a leaking head gasket) or reddish, which was a sign that transmission fluid was mixing with engine oil. Since both of those were serious problems, the dipstick could be an easy, early indicator that the vehicle needed attention as soon as possible.

For some auto enthusiasts, the decision by automakers to do away with the dipstick is enough for them to avoid purchsing those makes or models altogether.

But it’s worth noting that this is hardly a brand new development in the ever-changing world of auto manufacturing. While there’s a tiny bit of material savings in not having to engineer and provide a dipstick in modern engines, Jalopnik noted more than a dozen yeas ago that they were already going away for the simple fact that the vast majority of drivers didn’t use them.

Commenters on the clip were predictably annoyed and skeptical of the move, with most saying the introduction of a sensor in place of a tangible piece of diagnostic equipment was another example of overreach.

“Because dipsticks have been so unreliable we thought we would use a sensor because they never go bad,” one noted.

Another called into question whether Chrysler’s electronics could be counted on.

@huntfordchrysler Replying to @Buttered_Sausage there is a sensor that helps you monitor your oil level but it will be different than manual checking. #trucktok #trucks #ram #ramtrucks ♬ original sound – huntfordchrysler

“because Chrysler has such a good track record with electrical components,” they wrote.

And another is just waiting for a failure that will require a time-consuming service trip.

“one more electrical part to go bad . dodge rep for electronics is already in the hole.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to the dealership, Chrysler, and Dodge via email.

This story has been updated.

The Daily Dot