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You cannot tell from a dipstick whether engine oil has been changed. You certainly can't tell if the filter has.

Modern engines using synthetic oil do not actually wear out the oil. The limit on service intervals is actually governed by the filter capacity. Modern engines wear so slowly that even filters last longer than the specified service interval.

Number one reason to change the oil nowadays is water contamination due yo heat cycling in humid conditions particularly during or after a cold winter.

If you insist on checking this yourself you can open the filter canister on some engines, like BMW, where the filter is a top change item. Also, engines are often equipped for top of engine vacuum removal of oil so it is still possible to run a piece of trimmer "string " down the vacuum tube to secure a very small oil sample. You can also access the oil through the filler cap, wherever that might be.

I don't know what arrangements Alfa makes for filters or removal of old oil.
 

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If you insist on checking this yourself you can open the filter canister on some engines, like BMW, where the filter is a top change item. Also, engines are often equipped for top of engine vacuum removal of oil so it is still possible to run a piece of trimmer "string " down the vacuum tube to secure a very small oil sample. You can also access the oil through the filler cap, wherever that might be.
Or, you can buy a dipstick
 

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Modern cars don't burn oil, yeah right

Lets see Toyota and subaru are currently having a recall due to excessive oil consumption on the BRZ

Subaru's are notorious for oil consumption with their flat 4 engines

BMW and Audi state that it is normal to consume 1 quart every 750 to 1000 miles.

On the Mini by BMW if you let it run just a couple of qts low it will ruin the engine.

And yes you can absolutely tell if your oil has been changed by looking at the dipstick. If you can't tell you probably should not be opening the hood.
 

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Modern cars don't burn oil, yeah right

Lets see Toyota and subaru are currently having a recall due to excessive oil consumption on the BRZ

Subaru's are notorious for oil consumption with their flat 4 engines

BMW and Audi state that it is normal to consume 1 quart every 750 to 1000 miles.

On the Mini by BMW if you let it run just a couple of qts low it will ruin the engine.

And yes you can absolutely tell if your oil has been changed by looking at the dipstick. If you can't tell you probably should not be opening the hood.
The BRZ / GT86 recall has nothing to do with oil consumption. Less than 1% of a wide range of Subaru 2.0 engines, not confined to the BRZ version, have been suspected of inner valve spring failure. Actual failure rates are infinitesimally small. It's an American thing.

Some Subaru 2.0 engines were assembled with defective oil control rings which Subaru repaired.

Mini specified a 24 month oil change interval for their Brazilian made Chrysler engines. They don't use those any longer. There was a version of BMW engine fitted which had problems but BMW redesigned that engine. Oil consumption was a symptom and not a cause.

But, whatever. You think you can tell the condition of oil from the dipstick. Glad you're not servicing my cars.
 

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The electronic dipstick were used on Milano cars and also have dipsticks. I prefer having a dipstick so I can check oil level rather than having only an electronic device. I know that new cars burn very little oil but, oil consumption increases with mileage due to engine wear.
 

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Michael, I have been mechanicking for 50 years and also spent some time working in special oil filtration systems. Some of what you write is true, but the dipstick is always the primary method of checking for oil having been changed, and handling marks or oil residue on the filter housing is absolute in telling whether that component has been changed or not. Modern synthetic oils are excellent in longevity, and in fact I have done 3,500 miles around Europe last year in my 1953 Austin Healey, using only 1 litre of oil on that journey, unheard of with normal multigrade oils, although I had previously rebuilt that engine very carefully. However, even synthetic oils have a life and it's the vital additives that wear. These are largely there for agglomeration of carbon and other particles, and account for the lack of residue in the sump when the oil is drained. Carbon is a wear factor in engines and is dealt with properly by changing the oil. Water in the oil is a minor factor in modern engines. Those who think that synthetic oil never needs changing are welcome to that theory!
 

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With respect to the subject, I know just two things, that fresh/changed oil is clear looking as compared to used oil which has turned dark due to the particles held in suspension by the detergent additives (even with the 94LS which uses zero oil), and that the electronic oil level sensors in all our own Alfas which had them have failed. It works for me to use a real manually operated dipstick once in a while. I'm not that lazy.

The newest cars, maybe yes theoretically, but in real life, realistically, anything designed/made by man can find a way to go astray and/or fail. It is an given. Nothing is absolute except death and the end of the universe.
 

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You cannot tell from a dipstick whether engine oil has been changed. You certainly can't tell if the filter has.

Modern engines using synthetic oil do not actually wear out the oil. The limit on service intervals is actually governed by the filter capacity. Modern engines wear so slowly that even filters last longer than the specified service interval.

Number one reason to change the oil nowadays is water contamination due yo heat cycling in humid conditions particularly during or after a cold winter.

If you insist on checking this yourself you can open the filter canister on some engines, like BMW, where the filter is a top change item. Also, engines are often equipped for top of engine vacuum removal of oil so it is still possible to run a piece of trimmer "string " down the vacuum tube to secure a very small oil sample. You can also access the oil through the filler cap, wherever that might be.

I don't know what arrangements Alfa makes for filters or removal of old oil.
Sure you can. Since we are talking no dipsticks here and dealer needs to change oil (not really), if we had a dipstick we can see right away if the oil has been changed. Oil stays pretty gold for about a day or so, sometimes longer. I'd rather know the oil has been changed. If the filter has not, I'd ok with it over old oil, even synthetic which does wear or really shears down to a lower grade. An old filter still will filter, old oil won't do it's job as well as the new.

Water contamination is not really an issue either. This is only an issue mainly in diesels. We have filters with water trap systems.
I own one and run a secondary 1 micron filter with water trap and sensor. Not needed on gasoline engines since water is not really much of an issue.

Alfa Giulia has same style and size filter as 164. Sits on bottom of the motor. No way to check level that I know of. yet...
 

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Colour of fresh engine oil is very variable. Oil responds to heat cycling. The dark colour is not due to particles as those are removed by the filter. The colour of freshly changed engine oil can change significantly on the very first start up depending on how much old oil the engine retains after a change. And so on.

Water condensation in the crankcase contamination from blowby gas is the number 1 reason for annual oil changes regardless of mileage.

This risk is much higher in winter climates especially if you also get high humidity in winter and especially if the car is garaged in a heated space.

The dipstick tells you the measured oil level assuming it is used correctly. Generally speaking you need to observe a number of pre-conditions before you can rely on a dipstick.

Electronic oil level indicators using sonar or other boundary layer sensors are more reliable and accurate than physical dipsticks, not to mention much easier and more convenient to use. If the pre-conditions are not met the instrument panel tells you so and often tells you what those conditions are or refers you explicitly to the handbook.

There's no reason to regret the absence of a dipstick.
 

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The dipstick tells you the measured oil level assuming it is used correctly. Generally speaking you need to observe a number of pre-conditions before you can rely on a dipstick.

Electronic oil level indicators using sonar or other boundary layer sensors are more reliable and accurate than physical dipsticks, not to mention much easier and more convenient to use. If the pre-conditions are not met the instrument panel tells you so and often tells you what those conditions are or refers you explicitly to the handbook.
More reliable? Oil level sensors fail pretty commonly. I'm not saying that they're unreliable but they can and do fail. I've never heard of a dipstick failing. I've been using dipsticks for 30 years and have never had one fail and have never had one not give me at least a good "ballpark" oil level.

Saying that the dipstick is a technology that simply doesn't work is utter bollocks.
 

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When I was a young instrumentation engineer in 1975 the old works manager told me that the only instruments that he trusted where a dip stick and a mercury in glass thermometer. They certainly have fewer and better understood failure modes than most instruments.
 

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More reliable? Oil level sensors fail pretty commonly. I'm not saying that they're unreliable but they can and do fail. I've never heard of a dipstick failing. I've been using dipsticks for 30 years and have never had one fail and have never had one not give me at least a good "ballpark" oil level.

Saying that the dipstick is a technology that simply doesn't work is utter bollocks.
Electronic "dipsticks" are here to stay. My reliability point relates to the user rather than the measurement device.

It is surprising how easily an incorrect reading can be observed on an ordinary dip stick.

I expect eventually that the electronic oil level sensor will feed its input to the ECU and inhibit engine starting before the level drops to critical. That would be a no brainer. An engine kill function on loss of oil pressure seems as logical but presents potential problems. A car refusing to start because it knows the engine may have insufficient oil would be a good innovation.
 

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"My reliability point relates to the user rather than the measurement device.

It is surprising how easily an incorrect reading can be observed on an ordinary dip stick."

I agree with you here. Although for those who regularly check their dip stick are those who typically know how to read it. I guess those who incorrectly read it are dip sticks.

I still prefer a dipstick.
 

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All I know is that the electric dipsticks in my Alfas have all failed. Now, maybe the newer ones are better, but still, you just CANNOT end up with a mechanical dip stick which will fail on you, and the reading one gets from them is probably withing 1/4 qt at worst. Good enough for the engine for sure, and for all of us who are not anal about new electronic doodads, just because they are new. They needn't be all that precise (kind of like trying to get 4 or 5 places on a slide rule, you could always tell who was the newbie, lol).
 

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All I know is that the electric dipsticks on my Alfas have all failed. Now, maybe the newer ones are better, but still, you just cannot end up with a defective mechanical dip stick, and the reading one gets from them is probably withing 1/4 qt at worst. Good enough for the engine, and for all of us who are not anal about new electronic doodads, just because they are new.
I will let you know if mine fails. My 164 failed 1 time in 22 years. I replaced it and it still works fine ever since. I still rather have simplistic ways to check crucial things like oil level on a motor. Unless digital is becoming more reliable than analog (not really) then I can see moving towards all this but otherwise give me a **** dipstick.
 

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I expect eventually that the electronic oil level sensor will feed its input to the ECU and inhibit engine starting before the level drops to critical. That would be a no brainer. An engine kill function on loss of oil pressure seems as logical but presents potential problems. A car refusing to start because it knows the engine may have insufficient oil would be a good innovation.
Sure, until you're stuck in the middle of nowhere with a properly-oiled engine and a faulty sensor. That sounds like an awesomely good time and not frustrating at all.
 

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I remember some older cars which would shut the engine off if the electric oil level sensor read low for one reason or another. Seem to remember one was an old Chrysler of some sort my boss had, and another was the infamous Vega, owned by a friend. They had steep driveways, and they could end up with an engine which would not start, being maybe a qt low. They didn't know about this function, and thought maybe they needed an engine rebuild, not being car people, lol.

Electric dip sticks are just not necessary in real life. If any engine is soo sensitive to oil level that misreading a mechanical dip stick by 1/4 qt or so makes or breaks the engine, I want absolutely nothing to do with it.

It's just "new product" foolishness.
 

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All I know is that the electric dipsticks in my Alfas have all failed. Now, maybe the newer ones are better, but still, you just CANNOT end up with a mechanical dip stick which will fail on you, and the reading one gets from them is probably withing 1/4 qt at worst. Good enough for the engine for sure, and for all of us who are not anal about new electronic doodads, just because they are new. They needn't be all that precise (kind of like trying to get 4 or 5 places on a slide rule, you could always tell who was the newbie, lol).
The 164 doesn't have an electronic dipstick. It has a minimum oil level thermistor. They eventually fail. Fortunately, Alfa assumed theybwoukdntbbe foolproof so fitted a steel, ape dipstick. SAAB used a more reliable float switch to indicate minimum oil level.

Electronic dipsticks show actual oil level including over filled. Overfilling is a very common fault caused by incorrect use of a dipstick and can destroy an engine.

Those Vega engines were ridiculous: cast iron head bolted to a liner less aluminum block....designed for self destruction.
 

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Electronic? Really, you know what I said, electric. And I do not believe that newer "electronic" versions would be any more reliable, being more complicated, with an accuracy which is not necessary in the real world.

The all too famous Porsche brand also used the same type of high silicon content linerless engines in several models. Just because GM couldn't get it right... however, yes, the Vegas was a huge joke on the automotive world. Haven't seen one in many years now. No one keeping one as a classic car, insured by maybe Hagerty, lol?
 

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The electronic dipstick (oil level monitor) also tells the driver when it isn't working.

The sender units in these systems are very reliable. In fact the number one reason current cars are so reliable is solid state electronics. Modern engines run completely trouble free for tens of thousands of kilometres because of modern electronics.
 
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