Volkswagen Golf MK5 Dipstick Modification

I decided to write this article, or at least a quick post, because for whatever reason Volkswagen decided to make the standard dipstick supplied with these cars black in colour, and having a stupid design for the dipstick which makes them an absolute pain to read. I didn't feel like purchasing a billet aluminium dipstick, or a metal one from VW {metal one from VW I believe is around £25 and billet £45} for something I'll be using just to read the oil level on my car. So thought I'd do a bit of modification to my existing one to see if I could make it any better to read. This is only version one so I'll probably do a better guide at some point when I get a spare dipstick to play with.

Firstly and most, I'd like to say a big thank you to David @ FiniSHRINK {see below for company contact information} for being a first class rep and providing me with a free sample of SDR Shrink Tube to use for my small project clearly a company who thinks highly of their customers big or small. First company I wrote to and they sent me around 12" of SDR shrink tube to play around with for my test. I'll definately be considering them when I buy some Raychem tubing for my Evo next year ;o)

The product I used was SDR-6.4mm in Black {PRODUCT CODE SDR-6.4-BLK/50) although you could probably get away with using the 4.8mm internal diameter one. If you are looking to purchase heatshrink in small quantities you could use the eBay shop for FiniSHRINK which is Mister-Shrink where you can purchase small amounts of heat shrink tubing. You CANNOT purchase SDR tube from their eBay shop (which I used here) as this is a specialist tubing so can only be purchased as required by contacting FiniSHRINK / FinishAdapt directly for individual purchases.

Tel:     +44 (0)1793 758721
Fax:     +44 (0)1793 876059
Click to create new email message
Business Hours:    Mon to Thurs - 8:30 to 4:30
                              Friday            - 8:30 to 3:30

Trading (and Registered) Address:
FiniSHRINK (a trading name of FinishAdapt Ltd)
Unit 8 Hillmead Industrial Estate
Marshall Road

i used SDR because it's resistant to diesel, fuel and lubricating oils up to 150'c so should be perfectly for the car. I could have just painted it, but I was a bit iffy about it. So wanted something suited to the task. I have attached the specification sheet as below for any clarification or interest. I know the prices of the items but this is trade prices only so not applicable to the public.




standard_dip This is a picture of the standard Volkswagen dipstick on the car, the high/low measuring points are shown here with the yellow arrows, unfortunately the design of the dipstick uses 2 large "balls" {circled in red} to trap the oil and hold it in place to allow you to measure the oil on your car. This doesn't work in practice however, what usually happens is when you pull the dipstick in and out of the engine bay it collects the oil as it slides in and out and screws up the reading. Complete pain in the backside. So onwards with the modification
MOD1 Cut off the end of the dipstick which has the pointed end (I didn't see point in this basically) the minimum mark on the dipstick is actually the "top" of the arrow anyway, so if you can't see oil on your dipstick it's too damn low to start with so top it up. As for the top end of the dipstick, file the ball down so it's more of a stick than a roundball aswell. This was done quickly on mine
mod2 When your finished doing the cutting and chopping, heatshrink a length of tubing the length of the oil marker section (this will be slightly thicker than the actual stick itself so makes it better to read and the oil seems to adhere better to the heat shrink. When your finished with the cutting and filing, you should be left with a missing end (in X) and a flat ball at the top (two red lines). You should also have heat shrink running the full length of the dipstick lines at the min/max marks (mine was actually shorter because I misread the dipstick like a noob :)

When your finished, you can insert it into the tube of the car and it seems a lot better to read. I'd probably recommend using a thinner diameter tubing (maybe 4.8mm or 3mm) so that when it's shrunk, it's essentially the width of the stick itself. This will stop it scraping any oil from the tube walls as you insert or remove the stick from the oil pan. I did find however the oil levels were a lot easier to read when covered in heatshrink.

This was a quick picture I took on the car and you can clearly see the oil coating the heat shrink. I took this picture when the engine was red hot so it's not giving an accurate reading.


Just something simple and cheap you can do yourself to make it easier to read your oil levels on your car. Hope it helps you, if not consider buying a billet aluminium dipstick. It's more expensive but may look more professional. Depending on how much money you have to spend. The billet ones have a habit of conducting the heat better too so watch out for any burns.