Anybody Like This Dipstick?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by MrFixit, Nov 8, 2022.

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Do you like the Dipstick?

  1. Love it

    0 vote(s)
  2. It's just a Dipstick

    5 vote(s)
  3. Hate it

    4 vote(s)
  1. MrFixit

    MrFixit Well-Known Member

    Just changed the oil and was pondering the dipstick.
    I have seen dozens of different dipstick designs...
    Why are there so many different ways to do the same simple function ???

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  3. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    That orange plastic makes it very difficult to determine the oil level when the oil is clean, which in my case is always. I suppose it is easily readable when the oil is dirty. The regular all metal ones are easy to read with clean or dirty oil. No idea why Honda makes it worse by making it more complicated.
    JustAnotherPoorDriver likes this.
  4. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    Mine is always above the top "notch" which really makes me think it is too full. I don't run the engine a lot and every oil change (at the dealership) it is filled to that level (and it was at that level when it was new), so I've kind of just gotten over it. But yes, I dislike the dipstick. About 3 years ago, there was a thread here where this seemed like the norm for a lot of owners causing some concern that the Clarity might have some of the problems with oil dilution that was prevalent in the CR-V 1.5 L engine. Some owners had oil tested and it came back fine. So the conclusion (at least by me) is that the oil level being above the top "notch" is probably ok and not a problem unless it is above the orange entirely.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2022
  5. Mark W

    Mark W Active Member

    I think it's both fascinating and mystifying that this is how we are still reading how much oil is in the engine in 2022, with all of the technology that we have!

    I'm never confident that I'm reading it correctly!
  6. James007

    James007 New Member

    What PHEV Noob said. While I prefer not to use the "H" word, I strongly dislike any solutions for which a problem does not exist. On top of that, I'm sure that they are more expensive to produce. Where are the beancounters when you need them?
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  8. check oil.jpg
  9. MrFixit

    MrFixit Well-Known Member

    Personally, with any oil change, I always do this:
    • Check the oil level with the dipstick before doing anything
      • This lets you know if there is any consumption or leaks.
      • Always do this on level ground
    • Drain the old oil and change the filter
    • Don't forget to reinstall the drain plug :cool:, preferably with a new washer and a torque wrench (30
    • When replacing the oil, I am very careful to add the specified amount
      • For the Clarity, it is 3.5 quarts with a filter change
      • This is guaranteed to give you the correct level
    • Run the engine for a couple of minutes to establish oil circulation and fill the new oil filter
    • Shut off the engine, and wait a few minutes for the oil to settle
    • Check the level with the dipstick (this is now just a sanity check because you added the specified amount).
      • Always do this on level ground
    My experience with the Clarity has been that even though I am certain the level is correct (3.5 Q), I have to check it with the dipstick 3 or 4 times, shining light on it at multiple angles to convince myself that the level is indeed right. It is not much better with old oil because the oil remains pretty 'clean' so it is still hard to interpret on the orange blob of plastic.
    gedwin likes this.
  10. megreyhair

    megreyhair Active Member

    I always do my own oil change. I checked the oil level before I start the change. I would save containers like gallon milk bottle, or water bottles, or windshield fluid bottle or quart oil container and pour the old oil in the containers. I do this as a way to measure the amount that was taken out. I would put in the same amount (whatever was drain + oil in the filter) of new oil back into the engine and add a little more if needed. I never go by the amount specified in the manual. you can ever drain out 100% of the oil. So if you add in the specified capacity from the manual, then most likely you will overfill.

    If a cold engine, the oil should be a little over the bottle notch. If the oil is above the top with either cold or hot oil then it is too full. Overfilling can cause oil to leak into the exhaust and kill the cat converter
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2022
  11. MrFixit

    MrFixit Well-Known Member

    I can only comment from my experiences with the Clarity and numerous other vehicles that I have never seen a case where adding the specified amount resulted in an overfill condition.
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  13. megreyhair

    megreyhair Active Member

    Clarity manual said 3.5 qt. So let say for example, what if you were only able to drain 3 qt due to various reason (car not level, impatient, etc)? if you put in 3.5 qt, then you are adding in .5 additional qt and over time, it will overfill, unless the car burns them off or leaks them out.
    gedwin likes this.
  14. MrFixit

    MrFixit Well-Known Member


    Your example is not right - nothing accumulates over time... If draining is incomplete as you contend, you don't just drain 3.0 quarts, you drain all but 0.5 quarts. Thus, it doesn't matter how much is in there. If there were 5 quarts in there, 4.5 would come out. If there were 10 quarts in there, 9.5 would come out. The worst that can happen with your numbers is that you drain it down to 0.5 quarts instead of zero - then when you add 3.5 you will have 4 quarts. Same thing next time.

    All I can say is that any oil that is 'left behind' is insignificant because when I drain / fill with 3.5 quarts, it is correct on the dipstick.

    It seems much easier to simply measure the amount of oil that you put in, than to try and measure what comes out and put back that same amount. And, it has proven to yield the proper level when done.

    Also, I don't want to nit-pick, but to me, the proper level is not 'a little over the bottom mark'. I think you want it to be right in the middle of the two marks. If you know that the vehicle consumes some oil, then I would go more towards the upper mark (not exceeding it) because it will drop some before the next oil change.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2022
  15. gedwin

    gedwin Member

    Just to agree that I find the Clarity dipstick very difficult to read, and consequently it can be easy to overfill if it is misread. I tend to put in a bit less than the 3.5 quarts and top off only if I am absolutely convinced I’m less that about halfway between marks. I’ve actually used a syringe to withdraw some overfill in the past, so I learned my lesson and strive to avoid doing that again.

    I have added scratches into the plastic on one side of the dipstick using a small screwdriver so that it more easily picks up and holds oil. I find this easier to read. (This is just to mimic the way many dipsticks are designed in the first place.). I left the other aside untouched so a person (i.e, future owner) can read it both ways if they prefer.

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
    MrFixit likes this.
  16. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Perhaps one could create a traditional dipstick by drilling holes through the dipstick at the top and bottom marks and then taking a knife to the orange plastic, being careful not to cut your hands due to over-exhuberance.

    How much time and effort did Honda devote to testing that orange plastic for longevity, making sure it wouldn't disintegrate to become flotsam and jetsam in the oil?
    MrFixit likes this.
  17. MrFixit

    MrFixit Well-Known Member

    This thought has occurred to me too !
    Actually you can buy a new OEM dipstick for less than $10, but then shipping is another $12.
    If I were serious enough, I would buy a new one to experiment on !
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2022
  18. NorCalPete

    NorCalPete Active Member

    I also dislike this dipstick, and have considered modifying it to improve readability. I also shoot for an oil level halfway between the low and high marks. Back when I built race car engines, I was taught to mark my custom-made dipsticks that way (for amateur team engines only -- pro-team engines always used sump-pump systems with very shallow oil pans and remote reservoirs).

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