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That's what my dipstick looks like. Note that it's dry on the picture, there's no oil on it. It has that brownish area which I can't scrape off. I have had the car for a short time and was changing the oil for the first time. As far as I know it's been taken care of properly (have records), and a competent mechanic looked at it before I bought it. I don't remember seeing this stain, unless the mechanic brushed it off as not a big deal and I don't remember it.

Is that a sign of something bad?

enter image description here

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Your picture shows the normal staining and discolourment of the dipstick during normal operation. The staining is caused by the crankcase fumes and gases present in all vehicles.

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Stainless steel changes colors from silver to gold to purple as it is exposed to heat. The picture isn't clear enough for me to confirm that is what has happened here, but it would explain the uneven coloring pattern.

It will not change the performance of the dipstick or your engine.

Edit: I see that the above answer was accepted, so I thought I'd add a reference. I'd like to see a reference for the above answer as well.

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