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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • Well if you go by the BMW system and keep all your receipts, then if it blows up they just give you a new engine.

    Were it my car, I'd either do 7500 or oil analysis, either one.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,011
    As noted above, use a BMW filter element. I recommend that you use an oil that meets BMW's LL-01 specs. The most readily available LL-01 oils are BMW 5W-30 synthetic, Castrol Syntec 0W-30, and Mobil 1 0W-40. I change the oil every 8000-8500 miles and used oil analysis shows that to be a safe interval.

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

  • Is BMW dealer the only place to purchase the BMW filter element?
  • BMW filters aren't that expensive.. The last time I bought 7 qts of BMW synthetic and a filter (from the dealer), it came to less than $40.. This is not the thing to cheap out on, with your car...

    Join the BMW CCA (car club), and a lot of dealer parts departments will give you 10%-20% off your purchases, and you'll get a cool monthly magazine from the club..


    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • No matter what car I own, I buy my oil filters and my various gaskets from the dealer (because they FIT), or from a specialty independent shop that sources equivalent quality, based on their repair experiences with that make of car.

    some German cars are so sensitive to oil filters that if you use an off-brand, the hydraulic valve lifters will start to malfunction and the car won't start! (certain Audi models).

    So yeah, it does matter.
  • Just a quick question:

    Since most of BMW cars are rear wheel drive, are those two rear tires consumed more than front one? Thus, should tire rotation performed every 5000 miles?

    Thanks for the advise!
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,379
    I find that tires on my E39 wear pretty evenly, but then I do rotate every 5-7K.

    Bimmers have good weight distribution which helps and not many have enough torque to really chew up the rears (M s excepted). That said tires should be inspected regularly for signs of poor wear or misalignment. In the past, BMWs had a tendency to wear tires on the outer edges, particularly the rears.
  • I just purchased a BMW 528i. A couple of issues have arisen with this car. First, I believe there is a problem with the thermostat. It takes forever to heat up when I drive it short distances, but on the highway it heats up fast. Secondly, it run rough for a few minutes when iI first start it, after it has ran a few minutes, it runs perfect. Also, I noticed it has strong exhaust oder when running rough. Thirdly, the wiper fluid is not coming out of the wipers, should I hear the pump running and if I dont could it just be a fuse? Or it needs a new pump? I was wondering what the cost would be to fix these problems if I need to take it in for repairs?
  • You may be right about the thermostat. BMWs of this era have notoriously tempermental cooling systems.

    As for the strong exhaust odor, it sounds like your plugs are fouling on start up---either due to a dripping injector, or leaking valve stem seals. Do you burn some oil, or you don't know yet?

    Probably the pump is shot, another typical problem. You can test the pump with some wires off your battery or putting a test light on the connections and flipping the switch.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,379
    No doubt you have a bad thermostat; I have a 2000 528i and it warms up very quickly
    even in winter driving. That's a cheap fix and so is a replacement wiper motor but check the fuse first.

    Don't know why yours runs rough on startup, perhaps the EFI isn't making the mixture rich enough, could be a bad sensor or bad coil. If the odor you're getting is sulfurous, you might have a plugged catalytic converter.
  • No, I dont think it's burning any oil...I'm taking it in for an oil change and to have the thermostat replaced on Friday...and I'm going to check the fuses for the washer pump first and my mechanic said he'll check the pump. How do I tell if it is burning oil?
  • Well if you have worn valve guides or hardened valve stem seals, what happens is that overnight some oil left on top of the engine, in the cylinder head, drips down past the valves and the seals (which it normally should not do) and then collects in little drops on top of the piston.

    So you start up first thing in the morning, and your spark plug momentarily fouls due to the oil on it, and you'll get a few puffs of blue smoke. Once the engine runs for 30 seconds or so, it smooths out and the smoke disappears, because the oil has burned up.

    Can oil still drip from the valve stems while you are running around town?

    Yes but only under conditions of "high vacuum", which generally means letting off the gas while in gear and letting the engine drag the car's speed down---then, when you step on the gas again,----POOF!---another quick burst of smoke.
  • I dont think the odor is sulfurous. I'm going to have it checked out, just to play it safe. Winter is right around the corner and I want my car running smoothly when the snow finally starts here. I'm just curious, why would it be rough just on start up, but not when I'm driving it?
  • What exactly will my mechanic do to check this issue? And if this is the problem, is this a pretty expensive repair?
  • If you wanted to check for worn valve stem seals or valve guides?

    A cylinder leakdown test tells you a great deal about the internal condition of an engine.

    Generally on a car as old as yours, you live with it. It can be an expensive repair (the valve guides themselve I mean). Replacing just the valve stem seals is a lot cheaper to do, but on an older engine, perhaps not as successful.

    If you aren't seeing lots of blue smoke on start up, this is probably not your problem anyway.
  • I havent seen any blue smoke, so maybe it's just the EFI. I think I can just live with it. I do have a questin about the washer pump fuse. Is it just one fuse or is it two? Can you tell me if I can use regular ATC fuses or do I have to have special fuses for it? Can you tell me what amperage I need for the fuse? Thanx
  • Also is it wise to have the oil changed? I bought the car from a private seller and I have no idea when and if the oil was changed...If the answer is yes can you tell me what kind of oil, it does say 5w30, but would that be a sythentic oil? I appreciate any help, Thanks again
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,379
    If you have no idea when the oil was changed I recommend you change it ASAP but first you should check with the dealer to see if they have that information. Also you should acquire an owner's manual from a dealer, if it did not come with the car. This will tell you what type of oil to use and how to interpret the service indicator lights (those green dashes that come on when you start the car).

    You have enough questions and enough problems that I strongly recommend that you locate an independent BMW Specialist in your area (after acquiring a manual and service info.) ; will give you that information. These cars can can be expensive to maintain at dealer rates but they are reasonable at most indies but regular maintenance is a must.

    Good luck
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,011
    I had the washer pump fail on my 1997 5er. It's an easy -if a bit fiddly- DIY. It took me @45 minutes to R&R the pump.

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

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