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BMW 3-Series Oil Questions

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  • As I mentioned in a previous post, I just bought a 2006 330i with 24,000 kms on it.

    I have heard conflicting opinions on how often I should have an oil change done. The service manager suggested every 12000kms, but I feel that is far too high.

    Thoughts?
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Every 12k-17k miles (19000-27,000 km) or one year (which ever comes first) should be fine. Your car will tell you when to take the car to BMW for an oil change.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,926
    Trust the factory engineers. They are real smart and went to school a long time.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,610
    Every 12k-17k miles (19000-27,000 km) or one year (which ever comes first) should be fine. Your car will tell you when to take the car to BMW for an oil change.

    The one year mark is not okay according to the dealer, Rather, it's when the car tells you the oil change is due.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    The dealer is lying to you. Who do you trust - a dealer who wants to make money off an out-of-warranty oil change - or a manufacturer that wants to protect their brand?

    Who loses by you getting an early oil change? You lose cash/time, the dealer makes extra money and BMW is none-the-wiser of the dealer's duplicity. Who loses if you don't get the extra-undeeded oil change? The dealer loses extra money.

    BMW has a multi-billion dollar product-line to protect. Do you think they'd advise you to avoid oil changes if they were really necessary? The e46 came out in 1998 and with it came BMW's engine system that monitors your oil and pushes you to get a change at appropriate times. 9 years later have you ever met an e46 owner/former-owner who had engine problems attributed to following BMW's oil change schedule? no, you haven't. BMW might know a thing or two...they did design the car and they've got about a decade of experience following the once-a-year oil change schedule.
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,610
    I'd be worried if I followed the advice of the dealer and the car itself. Frankly, I don't know who to believe.

    But... since I lease it may end up to be someone else's problem.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    If you leased, then follow the manufacturer's specifications to a tee. Your BMW should only cost you for the following during your lease:

    gas
    insurance
    tires
    payments

    That's it. You should not have a single dollar of maintenance expenses on a leased BMW. Follow the manufacturer. The dealer is a liar and he is looking to make money off you.
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,610
    ..........The dealer is a liar and he is looking to make money off you.

    Not sure I follow you, if the dealer is advising me NOT to have the oil change till the car "tells you" to.
  • I suppose I would agree then.

    Further to the oil change issue - Castrol Syntec Racing is reccomended.

    Though I have been told Mobil One is the way to go also. Opinions?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I'm not sure I know what "Castrol Syntec Racing" oil is (unless it's the 10W-60 stuff that the "M" cars use). For all other BMWs you have three basic choices here in North America:

    BMW Synthetic 5W-30
    German made Castrol Syntec 0W-30
    Mobil 1 0W-40

    I have heard (but not yet confirmed) that Valvoline now has a synthetic oil that has been BMW-LL01 approved. In addition, I have yet to see any UOAs showing that it is up the task and I personally won't be using any cars of mine as test mules. ;)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I think Voll-Synthese synthetic is considered acceptable for BMW's.

    http://www.dasautosport.com/khxc/ccp0-prodshow/Lubro2041.html
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,739
    Hmm, the link specifies VW and Audi but not BMW.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I didn't mean to say that there weren't a few others out there that at least in theory meet the LL01 spec, I just listed the ones that I know of that are certified to meet BMWs requirements AND are readily available at many local retailers and/or dealerships. ;)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Good point, the Lubro Moly only meets the BMW LL-98 spec and not the later LL-01 spec. I don't think any late model BMWs allow for the older spec.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Come to think of it, the friend that suggested I used that "racing" oil drives a 2001 M5. That makes more sense.

    The guys at the dealership suggested Castrol Syntec. How many bottles would likely be needed for a full change?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Most if not all recent non-"M" BMWs take seven quarts per oil change (assuming that you change the filter too).

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • idoc2idoc2 Posts: 78
    Shipo,

    You seem to speak with authority on many issues. I'd be like to use Mobil 1 0W-40 as its a few bucks cheaper per quart than BMW's branded 5W-30 oil and widely available but where did you learn it was an acceptable substitute? Also as its no where in my owners manual, aside from carefully measuring what comes out or asking the service department at my local dealer how can I find out how much oil to put in my 2007 328xi.

    Thanks,

    Idoc
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,848
    I'd be like to use Mobil 1 0W-40 as its a few bucks cheaper per quart than BMW's branded 5W-30 oil and widely available but where did you learn it was an acceptable substitute?

    I'm not Shipo, but I believe that I can provide the answer. Your car requires an oil that meets BMW's Longlife 01 specs. There are three readily available oils that meet this standard: BMW 5W-30, Castrol Syntec 0W-30, and Mobil 1 0W-40.

    how can I find out how much oil to put in my 2007 328xi.

    My understanding is that the sump capacity is 6.9 quarts; most people just put 7 quarts in.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • idoc2idoc2 Posts: 78
    Your car requires an oil that meets BMW's Longlife 01 specs. There are three readily available oils that meet this standard: BMW 5W-30, Castrol Syntec 0W-30, and Mobil 1 0W-40.

    Thank you, but does anyone have a reference to some source document from which this list comes?

    Idoc
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Yup, exactly what my buddy roadburner said, the three oils he listed are the only ones that I'm aware of that are available here in the U.S. that meet the BMW LongLife-01 oil specification. FWIW, the weights are Mobil 1 0W-40 (and no other Mobil 1 version), Castrol Syntec 0W-30 (which is made in Germany and is the only Castrol Syntec that qualifies), and of course the BMW/Castrol 5W-30.

    A few other points:
    - There are many other oils around the world that meet the spec, oils that may even be better than any of the above (although by how much, if at all, is questionable).
    - Both of my BMWs took exactly 7 quarts to bring the oil level up to the top hash mark.
    - BMW is one of the few manufacturers in the world that recommends an oil filter change for every oil change. New OEM filters are available via the internet and from your local dealer. Don't mess with Fram and other wannabe filters.
    - I'm surprised that your manual doesn't specify how much oil, both of the manuals for my cars listed 6.9 quarts in the "Capacities" section.

    Let us know how you make out. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • idoc2idoc2 Posts: 78
    Here's my problem. There seems to be a lack of real documentation that's been referenced in this and other forums with regards to what oil is acceptable.

    Additionally, as you know the E90's have no dipstick. The capacities section of my owners manual lists only gasoline and windshield wiper solution! The oil sensor only provides a reading after several miles of driving (the manual says 10Km) so without clear documentation one has to go on faith that 7 quarts is correct for a 2007 328xi. The guy behind the parts counter at my local BMW dealer said 8 quarts was required for an 328xi but only 7 quarts for an 328i. Seems unlikely. Perhaps a call to the service department will clear up the mystery.

    Idoc
  • idoc2idoc2 Posts: 78
    This answers my own question about source documentation for at least Mobil 1 0w-40 meeting the BMW LongLife 01 standard

    http://www.mobil1.com/USA-English/MotorOil/Oils/Mobil_1_0W-40.aspx

    Idoc
  • Hey Bimmer Buddies--

    I would love it if someone could give me some honest recommendations regarding oil changes! I purchased a 2007 328i in September and I'm quickly approaching the 5k mile mark. I've had no problems to date and I haven't seen any signs of oil loss - at least, according to the digital readout on the OBC! =) I typically drive a 60/40 mix of around town/highway driving and average about 20k miles/year. I intend to keep this car for at least 5 years.

    My dad always helped me change the oil of my previous cars at 3k intervals and acknowledged that it was an excessive, but inexpensive way to maintain a car. I've heard oil changes at the BMW dealership can cost about $100 so I'd rather not change the oil as often, but I'm also weary of waiting until 15k based on what my dad always said. I realize his school of thought might not be right in this case. =)

    I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts on whether I should change the oil on my car at 5k or if I really can wait until 15k this first time around. It's a big deal for me to own this car, I'm proud of it, and I want to take care of it.

    And I'd just like to say, it's a pleasure to be in the company of people who share in the enjoyment of this amazing piece of machinery! Thanks in advance for your help.

    Best-
    Don
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    With the exception of the 335i twin turbo engine, I've yet to see any concrete evidence that suggests that late model BMWs can't go the full 15,000 miles on an oil change. Think about it this way, I bought one of the very first BMWs that came with the 15,000 mile recommendation, and that was nearly nine years ago. Since then there have literally been MILLIONS of BMWs built and sold world wide, and if there was a problem with running oil that long, we'd definitely be hearing about it.

    Think about it this way:
    - Current oil technology (especially synthetic oil) is far superior to the oil sold just a decade ago.
    - The current crop of BMW engines are VERY clean burning engines. The cleaner the engine, the fewer contaminates that the oil will be called upon to hold in suspension.
    - BMW typically incorporates an oil capacity that is at least 50% larger than that of similar sized (or similar output) engines from other manufacturers. More oil means that it circulates through the engine less often and that means that it gets exhausted at a slower rate.

    With the above in mind, there is only one definitive way to PROVE to your father and yourself that your oil is good to go for any given number of miles, and that is by having a Used Oil Analysis (UOA) preformed. In your case, I'd probably wait until about the 7,500 mile mark, take a sample and send it into Blackstone Labs. Regardless of what they say (i.e. "Change it now", or "Wait until 15,000 miles"), you'll have scientific proof of how long your oil will last. With that kind of data in hand, ain't nobody can say nuthin' to you about "change it early and change it often" or "wait until the Oil Life Monitor (OLM) says it's time for a change".

    FWIW, you might want to consider having it tested roughly once per year so that you can build a trend history and so that you can see how your engine is performing once it is fully broken in.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo

    P.S.
    If you do get a UOA run on your oil, please be sure to post the results.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,398
    One tiny little issue...how the heck to you get a sample on these new tech, no-dipstick engines without pulling the DP or the OF??

    Can you get some from the oil filler cap? I am skeptical!

    Regards,
    OW
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Were it me trying to take a mid oil change cycle sample, I'd loosen the drain plug and ease it out until the threads were clear. I'd then hold a small picnic style paper bowl below the DP and tilt the DP so that a small stream of oil was allowed to run out. Screw the DP back in and you're good to go.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,398
    OK..a little sloppy but the job will be done.

    Thanks.

    Regards,
    OW
  • Thanks Shipo! I was hoping you would write back! =) I'm going to wait it out until the car says its ready (projecting to be at 15k), and will post UOA findings in a few months. Fingers crossed!
  • idoc2idoc2 Posts: 78
    I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. Quite frankly it has nothing to do with "knowledgeable or trustworthy". I'm sure you are both. It has to do with providing documentation of items presented as facts. In any serious publication one must always site references. As we all know, whether in discussion groups or even at sites like Wikipedia often facts get presented that turn out to be wrong. Documentation of facts like which oils actually meet the BMW's LL-01 standard are actually important otherwise misinformation is easily propigated. For instance, I cannot find (it may well be out there) documentation that German Castrol Syntec actually meets the spec.

    Don't take this so personally but if one "knows" something to be a fact then why not provide the source document? It simply adds credibility and if nothing else enhances your image as "trustworthy and knowledgeable".

    Idoc
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