2008 Smart Fortwo: Checking the Oil is Kinda Easy, Kinda Not
August 21, 2008
I realized this morning that the novelty (or more likely, my own lack of knowledge) of the Smart's rear-mounted 996cc three-cylinder engine was keeping me from checking the oil. So this morning, I went around the back of the car and ripped up the carpet, determined to engage in this gratifyingly simple act of basic car maintenance.
First order of business was to unscrew the metal panel over the engine compartment (shown above). There's only one screw, and there's a handy plastic tab on it, so no screwdriver needed.
Then, I moved the panel out of the way, but still had to hold up the carpet and padding, which seems to be fairly permanently attached. Seeing the three-cylinder engine for the first time was a pretty unceremonious occasion. However, the engine looks exactly as I expected it to -- based on how it sounds and feels under hard acceleration.
Getting the dipstick in and out is easy, because it's right up front and the tube is nice and straight. The dipstick is completely made of plastic, meaning a Smart hater could have snatched it from my hand and snapped it in two. Thankfully, none of you were in the area at the time.
After replacing the engine cover, I came to what's probably the most annoying step in the process: having to stuff the carpet piece back under the cheap plastic trim pieces.
Erin Riches, Edmunds Senior Editor @ 8,327 miles