Checking and Adding Oil - 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG Long-Term Road Test

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG Long-Term Road Test

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Checking and Adding Oil

January 9, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Before heading out on a road trip, it's always a good idea to do a simple spot check of your car, especially an older and infinitely complicated one like our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65.

Checking the oil in the CL-Class is not as simple as pulling out a dipstick. Instead, the car does it itself upon your command by way of the gauge-mounted trip computer. Unfortunately, this did not work for me. When I went to the oil check screen it told me to turn off the engine. When I turned off the engine, it told me it couldn't check the oil with the engine off. Um, make up your damn mind you crazy car. A reading of the instruction manual seemed to tell me to do exactly what I was doing.

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

So, I just assumed everything was OK and knew that if it wasn't, the car would tell me. Guess what? After about 200 miles into my drive to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, the CL ordered me to "Add 1.0L of oil at filling station."

Very well, sir. I popped into a Las Vegas Autozone, bought 1 quart (0.946L would have to do) of the car's required Mobil European Formula 0W-40 and fed the beast.

Perhaps I was doing it wrong. Perhaps there is something wrong with the oil check system. Something to look into either way, but at least the car knows what it needs and when it needs it.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 58,527 miles


  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    Older Benzes have the most inane oil check program. The engine does have to be on, but it cannot be hot or stone cold. You have about a 5 minute window after you fire the car up to get a good reading. It's endlessly annoying and thankfully addressed on their newer models.

  • mieden mieden Posts:

    No. Engine off, key in on position. Make sure youre on level ground and you have to wait a few minutes after you shut the engine off.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    No, it's not telling you it can't check oil with the engine off - it's telling it can't check oil with the IGNITION off.

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    @mieden, Yes, that is how it is supposed to work. That is NOT how it tends to work in practice. Overwhelmingly the darn thing just won't work. Obviously James had the ignition in the ON position or it wouldn't have given him any kind of message at all. Wh

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    And everyone who ever complained about the inevitable failure of electronic oil checks that replaced dipsticks have now been officially vindicated. Now give me my metal rod back and get off my lawn!

  • mieden mieden Posts:

    @mercedesfan, Ive owned three MB with this system, and serviced countless numbers more. Never had a big issue with it if you follow the instructions. And yes, if you turn the key back to "accessory" instead of "run" it will tell you

  • dgcamero dgcamero Posts:

    Still works almost perfectly on the ol' '98 ML with 209k miles...though it is freaking convoluted. Switch car off on flat ground, wait a minute or two if warm, 5 minutes if cold. Switch ignition to on, wait until ------ appears on odometer, then press odometer toggle button twice, and it will tell you that it is one liter low, when it is 1.5 liters low haha, or fine, or high.

  • jlooker jlooker Posts:

    They mean the key in the on-position, but the motor not running. Actually is it keyless? Digital dipsticks have a frustrating tendency to change their mind in the future. It probably needed oil, but never be totally trusting of the digital gauge because you can't remove the oil without doing an oil change. Be conservative then check the oil level a few more times before you are sure it's still low. Some of this is meaningless because the crankcase on that V12 can probably handle quite a large variance in oil volume. It's still a good policy.

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    @mieden, Obviously I have no idea what James tried or didn't try, I just gave him the benefit of the doubt because I had so much trouble with my own SL. I was simply providing another method that MAY work. I'm not trying to disagree with you (your way is,

  • mieden mieden Posts:

    @mercedesfan, I can come off a little coarse sometimes when my inflection cannot be heard... Like you, my goal was only to express the process that I have found success with. I fix MBs for a living and was working in the stealership when these cars were

  • kevm14 kevm14 Posts:

    This definitely wasn't the first application I've seen for the digital oil level system. Back in college, a friend of mine had an 01 330xi and unless my memory has failed, it was digital-only. Turned out to be quite the nuisance as that engine did use oil.

  • flunder flunder Posts:

    Wow, that's pretty bad localization design. 1L will require 2 bottles. I am sure dealers will have no issue to ring up two bottles where the second one will be barely consumed...

  • dgcamero dgcamero Posts:

    @flunder you just add a quart, and it's happy enough. Our ML only requires about 2 quarts every 10-18k mile interval oil change...none before 150k except for when the engine sludged before they decided it was necessary to use synthetic oil for said extre

  • quadcammer_ quadcammer_ Posts:

    please tell me, James, that you understand the difference between turning the ignition on and having the engine running. this is not hard. with the car warm, turn the car off, wait five minutes, then turn the key to position 2 without engaging the starter. if you are on a flat surface, you will receive your oil level check.

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