gizmos and gadgets - Kevin Alder
I had a rare night tonight in front of the telly with a few beers and I have a recollection of an advert for a Renault which would tell you if your tyres were soft.

On the Mercedes Actros HGV units you can call up a display which will tell you exactly how much oil you need to add or remove to bring the oil level in the engine to within normal limits.

Why can't cars tell you when the oil level is low?
Re: gizmos and gadgets - david stone
They can. It's just that not all model have low oil warning gauges.
Re: gizmos and gadgets - John Slaughter

David's right. A number of cars have engine oil level indication systems, which carry out an oil level check when the ignition is switched on. It's common in Renaults and Peugeots for example. Even back in 1984 my Escort had such a system.

I'm not aware of a system which continuously checks though. With a standard wet sump oil level is continuously changing - oil is being pumped up into the engine, cornering, braking etc are making it slop about so it would be difficult to accurately detect small losses without getting numerous false indications. I imagine it would be possible to detect significant loss though - much like a low fuel system.


Re: gizmos and gadgets - Chris
Many Citroen BXs dating back to the early eighties have an oil level gauge on the dashboard, but as John says, most Peugeots, Renaults etc have a system that at least checks the oil level on start-up. Does this say anything about the French public's interest in checking under the bonnet?

Re: gizmos and gadgets - Martin
I seem to remember running a 3 litre Rover which had a push button to check the oil level (when the engine was NOT running). It then showed on your fuel gauge what your oil status was.
Re: gizmos and gadgets - dafydd tomos
my 1990 merc 200TE has a warning light when the oil level falls below the minimum (there is no oil pressure light - a dial indicates the oil pressure between 0 and 3)
Re: gizmos and gadgets - steve paterson
The subject of oil pressure crops up time and again on these pages. (assuming that your interest in oil level is related to it's pressure)
The only answer is a proper oil pressure gauge. Not a new fangled electric device, just a simple dial connected via a pipe to the engine oil gallery.
But, this might not solve the oil level problem.
Re: gizmos and gadgets - Kevin Alder
Thanks for all your comments.

The question in my mind is about the rather abitrary selection of driver aids which car manufacturers provide. If they want cars to be perceived as requiring no driver input at all except to start and stop the engine as required, and to take the vehicle to an authorised dealer at ever-increasing intervals of time then why do they still need a chapter in the handbook (which many people don't read) about daily and weekly checks when the technology exists to do all these checks automatically?

Another illogical example is the way in which most, if not all, cars will tell us if an indicator bulb has blown, but not if there is a brake light missing. Both are vital for safety, but how many drivers check them regularly?
Re: gizmos and gadgets - John Kenyon
Kevin Alder wrote:

> Another illogical example is the way in which most, if not
> all, cars will tell us if an indicator bulb has blown, but
> not if there is a brake light missing. Both are vital for
> safety, but how many drivers check them regularly?

From my experience this kind of device needs retrofitting to all
recent Vauxhalls - the number of failed brake lights I've
seen on recent plate Corsas, Astras and Vectras beggars belief,
especially since I have still yet to replace any bulb in either rear
cluster on my Pug 306.

Re: gizmos and gadgets - Brian
Doing at least 500 miles per week on average, I am amazed at the number of vehicles with missing lights. I recon that something like 4% of vehicles have only one brake light and that two times out of three it is the left one that has gone.
Faulty indicator bulbs are not usually a problem to diagnose from the drivers seat since the flasher speed usually doubles when one goes on the blink.
The proportion with only one headlight is only slightly lower, disconcerting when you think that it is a motorbike coming towards you and it turns out to be a lorry. Even without a gadget any competent driver should notice a blown headlight when stopping behind another vehicle or at his/her garage door. Or do they wait until the MOT to change bulbs?.
On country roads vehicles with only one light tend to get a tailback behind them because te driver can't see properly and slows down, thus encouraging following traffic to overtake, usually at an inappropriate place.
Do the police ever stop vehicles with faulty lights, I wonder?.
And is there a standard for the visibility of rear lights?. Too many lorries have what appear to be lights filtched from bicycles (the small 2" circular type) fitted with a 4 watt bulb and covered in dirt, visible at no more than twenty paces.
Re: gizmos and gadgets - Mike D
">but not if there is a brake light missing.<"

10 year old Sierras (Ghia model) have a check routine for the brake lights, do new Mondeos?


Value my car