Last Updated: 10.04.2022

Your car’s engine oil dipstick tube is constantly subjected to extreme temperatures and corrosion. So, it can break when pulling out the oil dipstick.

If you see any telltale signs of the tube getting damaged while you are trying to remove the dipstick, don’t risk breaking and leaving debris in the engine oil. Get it out immediately and replace it with a new one.

You probably don’t know how to remove a stuck oil dipstick tube. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with this detailed step-by-step guide. 

Keep on reading to get to the guidelines!

What Is an Oil Dipstick Tube?

mechanic holding the oil dipstick tube

Most vehicles have an engine oil dipstick tube. Original equipment engine oil dipstick tubes come in different shapes and lengths, depending on the car’s make and model. It has a hollow tube design for guiding the dipstick when you are checking the oil level and the condition of the oil inside the engine.

The engine oil dipstick goes inside the dipstick tube that is normally located on the front of the engine on cars with front-wheel-drive or the side of the engine on vehicles with rear-wheel-drive. The dipstick is typically equipped with an orange or yellow circular handle that is easy to spot under the hood.

Why Is the Oil Dipstick Tube Stuck?

An oil dipstick tube is a very important auto part in your car’s engine, considering how easy it is to read oil levels. But this auto part is not damage-proof. Several factors would render it useless at some point, including:

Extreme Temperatures

oil dipstick on the engine

One of the main reasons a dipstick tube can get stuck when you attempt to remove it is extreme temperatures. The tube is always exposed to high heat conditions. So, it can easily expand and get stuck. The o-ring could also melt and force the tube to get stuck. 

Grime and Sludge Buildup

All the grime and sludge buildup can make your engine oil dirty. At this point, an oil change is in order. But some drivers neglect to change the dirty oil. As a result, impurities in the oil, friction, and heat make the oil very viscous. 

Dirty oil tends to build up in the engine sump and parts of the engine where there is less movement like in the dipstick tube and the space between the tube and the engine block. After a long period, both the dipstick and the tube are likely to get stuck.


You might be wondering how moisture can get into the engine to cause corrosion. In cool weather conditions, it is highly possible for moisture to form around the dipstick tube. This will end up causing surface rust. In some old vehicles, the upper section of the tube may break off due to corrosion. 

How to Remove a Stuck Oil Dipstick Tube

A dipstick tube that isn’t stuck will pull out easily after undoing a bracket and a bolt. But it will not be so easy if the portion inside the engine block gets stuck because of heat and corrosion. Lucky for you, we’ve got a few tips that can help get the tube out.

What You Will Need:

  • Deep-set socket
  • Ratchet with extension
  • Open-end wrench head
  • Hammer
  • Flashlight
  • Penetrating oil

Step By Step Instructions

Step 1: Find the Location of the Dipstick Tube

find the location of the dipstick tube

The location of the tube depends on whether you have an inline or transverse engine. But the easiest way to locate it is to look for an orange or yellow handle under the hood. This would be the top of the oil dipstick, which is inserted inside a dipstick tube.

Step 2: Remove the Oil Pan

remove the oil pan

Removing the oil pan should allow you to access the bottom of the dipstick tube. Start by draining the dirty oil via the drain plug. You need to place something underneath the drain plug to collect the dirty oil from the sump. 

Next, you have to unscrew the nuts holding the pan in place. Then carefully loosen the sealant to easily remove the pan. You can achieve this with an oil pan separator. Make sure you clean all the grime and sludge from the pan before reinstalling it underneath the engine. 

Step 3: Remove the Tube from the Bottom

Start by spraying penetrating oil to help loosen up the section of the tube that goes into the block. Use a deep-set socket of the appropriate size and slide it onto the bottom of the dipstick tube. 

Then use a hammer to gently tap the socket, slowly pushing it out. This trick will allow you to push the tube to a certain point. Then you can use an appropriate size open-end wrench head and a hammer to drive the rest of the tube out.

How to Remove a Broken, Stuck Oil Dipstick Tube

A rusted and corroded oil dipstick tube will most likely break off, leaving you with a piece of a stuck tube inside the block. If that’s the case, then here are helpful step-by-step guidelines that can help you get it out:

What You Will Need:

  • Bolt or Screw extractor
  • Acetylene torch
  • Flathead pry bar
  • Self-tapping screw
  • Penetrating oil
  • Flashlight

Step By Step Guidelines

Step 1: Locate the Oil Dipstick Tube

locate the broken stuck tube

The first thing you have to do is locate the stuck oil dipstick tube. Its location depends mainly on whether your vehicle has an in-line engine or a transverse engine. 

If your car has an in-line engine, you can find the tube on the side of the engine. But, if your vehicle has a transverse engine, you can locate the tube in front of the engine. If you have trouble locating the dipstick and dipstick tube, check your owner’s manual for guidelines.

Step 2: Drain the Oil

drain the oil

It’s important you drain the oil from the engine since what you will be doing to get the stuck tube out would probably foul the oil. 

Drain the oil from the vehicle by removing the drain plug, which is in the oil pan. It’s good if you can use a socket so you don’t strip the drain plug. Select the appropriate size socket, slide under the vehicle, and take the plug out to drain the oil.

Step 3: Heat the Area Around the Tube

heat the area around the broken stucked tube

We recommend you use heat to loosen the tube. The tube usually has a rubber o-ring on the bottom end that keeps it from coming out. Heating that area will help melt the o-ring as well as loosen up some of the rust. 

The ideal heat source we recommend you use is an acetylene torch. Heat the area around the stuck tube for a few minutes. Apply the heat in a circular motion to distribute it evenly.

Step 4: Run a Bolt Inside the Stuck Tube

insert a bolt into the stucked tube

Then run a bolt or a screw extractor into the remaining piece of the stuck tube. You can tap the bolt with a flathead pry bar to push it into the tube. What we are trying to do here is force the bolt inside the tube, which will make it much easier to pull it out.

Step 5: Spray Penetrating Oil

spray penetrating oil

Penetrating oil is simply a low-viscosity fluid that is uniquely formulated to free nuts and bolts. The product you select should be a slow-evaporating seeking agent that is able of delivering the lubricant farther and faster than typical solvents. The penetrating oil contains ingredients that will literally eat the rust, freeing the tube from the engine block.

Step 6: Tap the Bolt from Underneath to Remove It

tap the bolt from underneath to remove it

Slowly tap the bolt you have inserted into the stuck tube using a flat head pry bar from underneath. The bolt and the piece of dipstick tube should come out gradually. 

While at it, make sure the part of the stuck tube doesn’t bend as you are tapping the bolt. If it bends, then use an extension bar to try and straighten the tube with the inserted bolt. Spray some more penetrating oil to continue eating the rust. You can keep on tapping the bolt until the remaining piece of the stuck tube comes out or you can use a ratchet to try and spin the bolt until it comes out with the rest of the tube. 

You can also use the acetylene torch to heat the area one more time to make the extraction much easier.

Step 7: Remove Any Remaining Pieces

remove any remaining pieces

In some cases, the bottom portion that is equipped with the o-ring may remain inside the block. You can use a self-tapping screw and thread it down into what’s left of the dipstick tube. 

Work the screw back and forth for a few minutes and then pull it out, hopefully with the remaining portion of the dipstick tube and the o-ring. In some worst-case scenarios, the o-ring may fall into the oil pan. If that happens, then you can drain it out via the drain plug.

How to Remove a Stuck Dipstick

The aforementioned steps will help you remove a stuck or broken dipstick tube. What about a stuck oil dipstick? The dipstick can get stuck if it hasn’t been removed for a long time because of corrosion, grime and sludge buildup, poor-quality materials, or swelling of the o-ring. So, here are steps you can follow to remove a stuck dipstick.

What You Will Need:

  • Deep-set socket
  • Ratchet with an extension
  • Penetrating oil
  • Heat gun

Step By Step Instructions

Step 1: Locate the Dipstick Handle

locate the dipstick handle

The handle (which could be yellow or orange) is usually visible under the hood. But you may have to remove a few components out of the way to gain access to the dipstick handle.

Step 2: Spray Penetrating Oil

spray dipstick with penetrating oil

It’s recommended you spray some penetrating oil into the space between the plastic handle and the dipstick tube.

The oil should help loosen any corrosion and/or sludge buildup. It also provides the necessary lubrication you need for easy removal.

Step 3: Use a Heat Gun to Loosen the Seals

use a heat gun to loosen the seals

Heat the metal portion of the tube with a heat gun and be extra careful not to heat the plastic handle. The heat gun helps loosen the seals that are holding the dipstick in place. Gently try to pull out the dipstick handle. If it doesn’t come out, spray more penetrating oil and use the heat gun to loosen any buildup. 


Can a broken dipstick tube damage my engine?

A broken oil dipstick tube will not damage your engine. But that means the dipstick will not stay in place as it should and that may lead to some oil leak.

Is it safe to drive without an oil dipstick tube?

You might be able to drive without a dipstick or a dipstick tube for a few weeks. But if the dipstick tube or the hole in the engine block is open, then dirt and other foreign elements could get into the engine sump. This may contaminate the oil.

What should I do if a broken dipstick gets into the oil pan?

The broken part of the dipstick will be at the bottom of the oil pan and will not damage anything. But it is a good idea to get it out when changing the oil. 

You can use a magnet to drag the broken piece towards the drain plug. Alternatively, you can uninstall the oil pan, remove the broken piece, and clean any grime or sludge. Once you have done all that, reinstall the oil pan with a new gasket and sealant.

Related: How Much Oil Does My Car Need?

Final Thoughts

The stock oil dipstick tube in your car’s engine is made of metal. So, it is not immune to corrosion, which means it could break or get stuck. That’s not all, the o-ring that holds the tube in the block could melt a little bit because of high temperatures, causing the tube to get stuck in the block. So, you need to know how to remove a stuck oil dipstick tube just in case that happens. It is also essential you know how to safely pull out a stuck oil dipstick.