Dear Tom and Ray:
I drive a 2000 Nissan Sentra GXE, and it seems that my engine-oil dipstick has broken off. The part you grab came off in my hand, and the dipstick and rubber seal at the top of it are still stuck in the tube. With a pair of pliers, I've managed to lift the dipstick up to about an inch and a half shy of the top of the tube, but then it just won't move any more. I've tried everything I can think of. How can I get my dipstick out? -- Kerri
TOM: Kerri, you brute! You clearly don't know your own strength. The first thing I'd do is start laying off the pull-down lat machine at the gym.
RAY: If you want to get your dipstick out, here's what you have to do. First, go to your Nissan dealer and buy a new dipstick. You'll need one of those. The bottom of the dipstick probably hit the crankshaft and got bent. That's why you can't get it out now. What you have to do is remove the whole dipstick tube.
TOM: At the bottom of the dipstick tube, you'll find a bracket, with a bolt that secures the tube to the engine block. If you remove that bolt, you should be able to work the dipstick tube out of the engine block. You might need to twist it with a pair of pliers or Vise-Grips. And when you remove the tube, one of two things will happen.
RAY: Either the dipstick will come out with the tube, or the tube will come out, leaving the dipstick still there but exposed. And once it's exposed, you'll be able to get much better leverage on it, and you should be able to yank the broken piece right out with your pliers.
TOM: Then you can work the tube back in, insert your new dipstick and go on with your life, Kerri. Good luck.