Home » The New Engine In The Ram 1500 Pickup Doesn’t Have A Dipstick And That Just Bothers Me

The New Engine In The Ram 1500 Pickup Doesn’t Have A Dipstick And That Just Bothers Me

No Dipstick Ts3
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Maybe I’ve become an old man. Maybe I’m no longer “with it” like all these youthful Tiktokers raised by the internet. I say this because when I think about the 2025 Ram 1500 not offering a dipstick on its 3.0-liter “Hurricane” inline-six engine, it makes me want to yell at a cloud and talk about the good ol’ days before engine covers and zero-weight oil and CVTs and touchscreens for all vehicle functions. A pickup truck without a dipstick — what is this world coming to? Has everyone lost their doggone mind? Man, I really am sounding like an old man.

I recently wrote a review about the new Ram and said it “Is So Good I Don’t Miss The Hemi V8.” But you know what? I change my mind; I do miss the V8. I miss that sound, I miss that parts availability/aftermarket support, and above all, I miss that thin metal tube that presses into that engine block and houses a long rod (well, cable in this case) called a dipstick.

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The truth is that the new Ram probably doesn’t really need a dipstick; Ram’s digital oil level-monitor will definitely be easier to use for most people. Here’s a look at that digital oil-level monitor found in the instrument cluster ahead of the driver:

Screen Shot 2024 06 26 At 2.40.37 Pm

Now Ram drivers will literally never have to pop the hoods of their cars. No more rags. No more dirty hands. Ram is following the “make the engine a black-box to the driver” trend that has been permeating the industry.

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Here’s what Ram says about the oil level gauge in its owner’s manual:

The 3.0L engine does not have a traditional “dipstick” and there is no need to manually check the oil level. If it is desired to check engine oil level, it can be seen on the instrument cluster display by navigating to the appropriate screen under “Vehicle Info”.

Use the up or down arrow buttons within the steering wheel controls to find the “Vehicle Info” menu. Then use the right or left arrow buttons until you reach the “Oil Level” submenu. There is a bar on the gauge which shows the oil level. As long as the oil level is between the minimum and the maximum it is safe to operate the vehicle. If the oil level is either too high or too low, a red bar will be illuminated. When the engine is in need of more oil, the Oil Level Warning Light will illuminate. This warning will appear for five seconds. Within the next 300 miles (500 km) you should add 1 quart of manufacturer

Why do I detest this so much? I think on some level, it’s just a matter of me not wanting change. But I also like to look at the quality/color of my oil! And the idea that something could break and I could no longer check on something this critical — something that has huge implications on the longevity of perhaps the most expensive component of my vehicle — it drives me crazy. Hell, even if my battery goes flat I can’t check the oil? [steam billows from my ears in rage].

To me, something so critical has to be basically 100% failure proof. I don’t want an oil-level sensor to fail or a battery/module/screen issue to prevent me from seeing how much oil I have. Being able to check the level and quality of your your motor’s precious lifeblood is something that you must be able to do no matter what the circumstances. It has to be basically failure proof.

To be sure, BMW drivers have been stuck with oil level sensors for years, and those have apparently been pretty reliable, for what that’s worth. To me, as an old man in a 32 year-old’s body, though, that’s not worth much.

Screen Shot 2024 06 27 At 6.24.44 Am

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There are, of course, some practical benefits to the setup. For one, your vehicle can notify you if the oil level is low, which is, theoretically, better than it waiting for low oil pressure to throw a Malfunction Indicator Light. It could also potentially derate power/throw the vehicle into limp mode based on oil quantity — again, before having to wait for oil pressure loss, which you don’t want. Still, why can’t I have both a dipstick and an oil level sensor? I suspect the driving force here is cost and packaging space.

I reached out to RAM asking them why they went down this route. Here’s what they told me:

“The 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.”

I guess part of me is a little shocked that Ram had the audacity to do this in a pickup truck. Sure, most trucks are street-queens, but the people who use the trucks as trucks — the folks that Ram highlights in its commercials — you just know this is going to bother them. If Ford is sticking with a space-wasting T-handle on the F-150 because customers say they want a chunky shifter, surely truck customers say they want access to a physical dipstick, right?

@huntfordchrysler

Replying to @jayja351 we are finally taking a look at this 3.0L Hurricane Inline 6-cylinder on the 25 Ram 1500! #trucktok #trucks #ram #ramtrucks

♬ original sound – huntfordchrysler

I’m honestly not sure. What I do know is that some folks on the web aren’t thrilled. Here are some replies to the above Tiktok video by HuntFordChrysler:

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  1. Because dipsticks have been so unreliable we thought we would use a sensor because they never go bad ????
  2. I think doing away with the Hemi was a big mistake……
  3. All these manufacturers are making vehicles more and more unreliable
  4. 30 yrs of dodges…. no more dodges for me or my family

Of course, those types of replies are expected. What surprises me is how many folks are totally cool with this. On a Reddit thread from last month, one users wrote “The RAM 1500 is dead,” but then that person got absolutely bodied by someone defending Ram. Check this out:

Screen Shot 2024 06 27 At 6.49.03 Am

Ok, that was an extremely rude comment, and that person needs some therapy. Still, the thread includes other comments like these:

Screen Shot 2024 06 27 At 7.14.21 Am

Of course, that Reddit thread also includes plenty of comments decrying Ram’s move. “You won’t see to many vehicles built in 2020 in 2040” writes one user. “If it ain’t broke, fix it till it is, and then we can charge them for it,” writes another. “That’s a 100% deal breaker” quips another.

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So there’s a mixed response, here.

Tim Esterdahl from Pickuptrucktalk.com managed to get a bit more info from Ram about the oil level sensor. Per his article, it’s an ultrasonic sensor that can measure level while accounting for changes in oil density as a function of temperature. But beyond temperature and level, the sensor, which is mounted up-and-down in the oil pan, cannot give any indication of oil quality. As for what happens if the sensor fails? “The vehicle can be driven, but error messages will display in the cluster associated with the specific reason for loss of function,” the article estates.

I’m extremely annoyed by this, and in some ways, it feels like it’s alienating key customers, but maybe I’m just yelling at a cloud. What do you think?

Hat tip to whichever reader sent me this tip over social media!

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Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
22 days ago

I once designed a beautifully integrated dipstick. No external tube, just a single plane bend between the top of the oil in the pan and the cam cover. It only needed one machined hole for the seal at the top. The dipstick handle was in the shape of the manufacturers badge.

It was elegant, efficient, useful and cheap. Everyone was happy.

Then they cancelled the engine project.

Sensors are garbage, doubly so for ones that only measure level when warm because it makes every oil change a game of new-bearings roulette.

Steve Harris
Steve Harris
24 days ago

For dry sump engines I’ll take an electronic dipstick sensor over a physical dipstick any day.

I owned a dry sumped Aston Martin, and the oil level checking procedure on that was inconvenient and didn’t make me popular with the neighbours.

I’ve currently got a 991.2, and that is way easier, plus it can take readings anytime the engine is warm.

AMGx2
AMGx2
24 days ago

My M113 engine also lacks a dipstick. I don’t like it, but I can check the oil level from the comfort of my seat, if I don’t forget to do it before a start.

But while I do check my dipstick in my other M156 engine at least once a month, I think for 99 out of 100 people a ‘digit dipstick’ is one thousand times better than a dipstick which they NEVER WILL TOUCH IN THEIR WHOLE LIFE.

Because that happens. 99 out of 100 drivers don’t touch these things. They will see a warning light “oil too low” or “oil too high” and drive to their dealer, garage or in best case, their indy mechanic.

The 1 out of 100 will not be happy but can still check every day the oil level without having to pop the hood and spend some minutes checking the stick

Pop hood
add light
remove stick
clean the end
insert stick
remove stick
check level
insert stick
remove light
close hood

This gets old if you’d do that every day.

I think IF for some reason a sensor fails in say 1 in 100.000 cars, then the manufacturer gladly will say ‘sorry’ when this happens 10 years after the car was sold.

The problem for us diy’ers is … how to check if the sensor is faulty and how to replace it. Is this some external thing inserted in the block which you can easily remove? Is it in the pan? Etc.

It would be even better if the digital oil level is always available, together with digital oil pressure, always visible, in your dash (can be hidden for the average driver, but let me see it, always, before I start the car, while driving etc).

Myk El
Myk El
25 days ago

I know I’m coming to this late, but I wanted to at least get my perspective out. I deal with software and to a lesser extent, the hardware it runs on professionally. It puts me in two minds about oil level sensors.

There was a term that used to get used a lot more in my circles called “expert friendly.” Which was it gave skilled users a lot of control over the program and the way it worked, but for common users it was a headache. So in this sense, it’s probably a LOT better for there to be a sensor for common drivers who don’t habitually monitor that dipstick. It scares the shit out of me, though, one who does monitor that dipstick and knows that despite what I am sure are redundancies about the sensor’s function, the dipstick always works. Sensors I don’t fully trust and I kind of doubt it tells the story about what the oil looks like.

Again, though, I also prefer hood props for similar reasons. They work, always.

Kaiser 75
Kaiser 75
25 days ago

Technically it does come with a dipstick if your paying over 100k for a new truck , you just have to look in a mirror to find it.

Totally not a robot
Totally not a robot
25 days ago

I guess someone at RAM forgot that perception matters, even if you can’t save 30 cents per vehicle by building the dip stick.

The Ford Transit still has a traditional 30-inch antenna for its AM/FM radio. There’s no real reason for the long antenna because it could fit in a fin antenna instead, but the tradespeople who use those vans would be extremely put off if they couldn’t see the antenna.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
25 days ago

There is a real reason though, AM reception in the shark fin or embedded in the car is not as good as a standalone antenna. Which yes, a tradesmen might want AM more
Torch wrote an article about:
https://jalopnik.com/why-does-a-modern-truck-like-the-2022-ford-f-150-lightn-1846955635

Last edited 25 days ago by Chartreuse Bison
Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
25 days ago

I dislike this as well. But as long as there is SOME way to check the oil level (like with that digital oil monitor), then it isn’t that bad.

Now I wonder… is there also a digital monitor for the transmission fluid level?

For years we’ve had transmissions without dipsticks… and no easy way to check the fluid level.

Pneumatic Tool
Pneumatic Tool
25 days ago

I’m still trying to get over the transmission dipstick not being installed in the tube on my ’08 grand cherokee (and our ’13 for that matter). Get off my lawn.

TaylorDane > TaylorSwift
TaylorDane > TaylorSwift
25 days ago

So all the service techs that grew up on pumping out oil via the dipstick tube will have to go ‘old school’ by draining via oil pan plug? Dealers gonna love all the cross-threaded-oil-plug claims. But hey, the manufacturer saved a buck or two!

Last edited 25 days ago by TaylorDane > TaylorSwift
67Mustang
67Mustang
25 days ago

My Giulia has no dipstick, I find the bigger issue is that the oil reading on the dash isn’t instant. It states to idle the vehicle on flat ground for 5 minutes to get a reading, but after an oil change it usually takes a day to update the level.

Bassracerx
Bassracerx
26 days ago

the percentage of truck owners who actually open their hood is probably single digits. It would have been cool to have the oil level sensor AND a dipstick but losing the dipstick is not the end of the world.

Is Travis
Is Travis
26 days ago

My 2014 BMW didn’t have one either, it blew my Dad’s mind and made him inherently distrust the thing at the start. I am not a fan, but it sure does tell you if it is low.

Oscar_Ruitt
Oscar_Ruitt
26 days ago

As a small business owner with employees I ask to take care of the vehicles I own, this actually seems OK. For my car, I would still like a dipstick, since I check pretty often anyway.

John J Gerding
John J Gerding
26 days ago

It’s not like this is the first time Chrysler did this. A friend had an older Chrysler 300 and it had no dipstick. To check the oil the owner was told to take it to their dealer. At this time, there were a lot of stories around about people overfilling their Chrysler products, which eventually caused engine failure.

In her case, she took her car to Walmart for an oil change. The “mechanic” there told her she had a oil leak. At the same time, the oil pressure started to drop on the gauge. Having no dipstick, she assumed that the car needed oil, and added a quart or so. By the time I figured out her problem,the engine was toast.

Stephen Walter Gossin
Stephen Walter Gossin
17 days ago
Reply to  John J Gerding

All 300s came with dipsticks though: the 2.7L, 3.5L, 3.6L, 5.7L…

John J Gerding
John J Gerding
14 days ago

Couldn’t prove it by me. That 2007 300 did NOT have an oil dipstick.

MaxO
MaxO
26 days ago

I totally agree with David on this. There are so many engine issues over the years that giving a regular look/smell of the dipstick has saved an engine. From looking for coolant in oil or smelling fuel dilution in oil, checking oil condition often can be an important part of keeping engines that have eventual issues on the road for those that are willing to be vigilant about maintenance.

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