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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • ndegroatndegroat Posts: 8
    Which type/ brand of oil should be used when having the oil changed in my 528i at the mechanic(nondealer)? They say I have a choice, which is great. Synthetic? Brand?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I use Mobil 1 0W-40 with SuperSyn, which is available at many Porsche and Mercedes-Benz dealerships, at AutoZone (I have not yet confirmed this), or over the internet at Park-Place Motors: which is where I buy mine.

    I hope this helps.

    Best Regards,
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    My recommendation is to hand wash the car with soap and water - I use Palmolive, although I am sure others will cringe that "dish" soap is too harsh. I don't think so, and given the acid content of rain in the eastern half of the country, it's mild by comparison. I'll also date myself by stating that if Palmolive is good enough for "Madge's" hands, it's good enough for my M5. If you don't get that one, ask someone over 50 to explain.

    For those stubborn bug and tar spots, I then rub in a small amount of wax (Maguires Professional) to loosen and remove the residual spot before waxing the entire car. I have my car detailed about once every six months and the "professionals" do pretty much the same thing.

    I would stay away from bug and tar remover, as some brands contain petroleum distillates that can break down or fog the clear cost finish. My rule is that if it is flammable, it doesn't go on my car.
  • As current owners of a 03 Lexus LS430, GX470 and 03 Honda Accord EXV-6, me and my "partner" are thinking of upgrading the Accord to a 03 525. The current rebates, ($4000), make this a sweet deal. Here is the traditional asian owners, can we expect the same type of reliability from an 03 5-series?, we will most likely keep the car to about 40k? We are ready for a different car and think the 5 is it. any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,395
    As many here on the board have stated before, the '03 5 series has been around in the US since late 1996 (as a 1997 model). You should get japanese type reliability from an '03 5er. If you only plan to keep the car for 40K miles, any small hiccups that may come up along the way will be covered by BMWs 4 year/50K mile bumper to bumper warranty as well as all scheduled maintenace (something you won't get from Lexus) for the same time period.

    Another suggestion, since you 2 already have 2 fairly large vehicles (the GX470 & LS430), might I suggest a 3 series coupe, convertible, or Z4 roadster?

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I also have only owned Japanese cars but am considering upgrading our Maxima to a 2003 530i. My research indicates that up to about 100k miles, the 5-series is about as reliable and low maintenance as any car out there, Accord included. It seems that it's only after 100k miles that "routine" maintenance and replacement items become more expensive than Japanese counterparts.

    Also, since you are only planning on keeping the car for 40,000 miles, resale value is a consideration. In my area, it appears that the low added cost of going from a 525i to a 530i would be nearly fully made up in added resale value in 40,000 miles. That's not the case when you jump from the 530i to the 540i. The 525i is a fine vehicle, but the added power of the 530i is more comparable to the Maxima SE I would be upgrading from.

    P.S. nyccarguy has a point if you are looking for a "different car". Obviously I don't know your transportation needs, but there appears to be a lot of redundancy in an LS430, GX470 and BMW 5-series.
  • You both made great points. We originally started looking at the 3series but felt it was a little too tight on the interior, even compared to the Accord. I would love a convertible, but our lifestyle (hate that word!) /transportation needs, we feel the convertible is the wrong way to go. We live in upstate NY so winter is also a factor to rule out a convertible. We both commute daily in the sedans and use the SUV on the weekend to transport our Goldens to our home on the lake.

      I will look into a 530 vs. 525 though.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    DW, Germany's public news service, posted a story yesterday (7/7/03) on BMW's progress during first 6 months of year. BMW marque sales down but Mini marque sales making up the difference. 5 sales still slow. Excerpt:

    "BMW on Monday posted an 0.2 percent increase in unit sales for the first six months of the year compared to last year... combined sales for the month of June of both BMWs and Minis were up 2.7 percent... The company also said it sold 454,970 of its luxury cars in the first half of the year, 5.5 percent fewer than by the same time a year ago... attributed the drop to decreased demand for its 5-series... company is hoping its new 5-series, which will be available in markets by autumn, will boost sales in the second half of the year... sales of the new Mini increased by 44 percent, with the movement of 89,880 units during the same period."
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    BMW uses a 15w40 mineral based oil and a 5w30 synthetic, both produced by Castrol for BMW. If your car is a 1999 or later I strongly suggest synthetic, because engine tolerances changed in that model year. Castrol Syn-Tech 5w30 is the same as the BMW synthetic, so it is a good choice.
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    It is not. BMW syn is ACEA A3/B3 certified, the European standards as is the US's API certification. Castrol SynTech is NOT ACEA A3/B3 certified.

    I would use a synthetic that is ACEA A3/B3 certified. BTW, many BMW owners use Mobil 1 0/5/10W30. Those oils are not ACEA A3/B3 either.

    I'd give the dealer $3.80 for a qt. of BMW Syn 5W30, or use an ACEA A3/B3 oil.

    Happy motoring,

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, I just checked the ACEA web site, and discovered the following:

    ACEA A3: Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use in high performance gasoline engines and/or for extended drain intervals where specified by the engine manufacturer, and/or for year-round use of low-viscosity oils, and/or for severe operating conditions as defined by the engine manufacturer.

    ACEA B3: Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use in high performance car and light van diesel engines and/or for extended drain intervals where specified by the engine manufacturer, and/or for year-round use of low-viscosity oils, and/or for severe operating conditions as defined by the engine manufacturer.

    Given the very general nature of the above specifications, I do not find them in the least bit compelling when it comes to what oil I select for my car. That said, my owners’ manual states "Only use oils with the API SH specification or higher." The oil that I use in my 2002 530i is Mobil 1 0W-40, which carries the API SL specification (which is in fact higher than API SH).

    Another thing to consider is that the Castrol “Synthetic” oils sold under the BMW name as well as their own are NOT true synthetic oils, they are in fact "Hydro-Cracked" crude based oils. Mobil 1 is a true synthetic. Does this matter? In my case is does.

    Prior to buying my 1999 328i, I had used Mobil 1 for many years, with great results. Among other things, a by-product of using Mobil 1 is that the inside of my engines always looked perfectly clean, regardless of miles driven. When I opened the oil cap on my 328i at 30,000 miles, I was stunned by 1) the smell, which was a crude oil based smell (I used to turn a wrench for a living, and know that smell very well), and 2) the crud on my valve train. I knew instantly that the BMW/Castrol oil was not a true synthetic, and upon further research, this was of course confirmed.

    With my 530i, I have gone to a mid cycle change at about 6,000 miles, and am using Mobil 1 0W-40 for that change (which leaves it in for about 8,500 miles before the "Oil Service" indicator lights).

    Best Regards,
  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    It is true that there are some differences between BMW and Castrol Syn Tec. There are more additives I believe in the BMW Syn that BMW has requested be put in. That I believe is the difference in the rating.

  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    Requirement 1.3 of the A3/B3 spec is:
    Viscosity at high temp. & high shear rate using test CEC-L-36-A-97 with a result of > 3.5. Many, myself included, believe this is a very important property of an oil to be used in a high performance engine. BMW syn passes, Mobil 1 x/30s doesn't. IIRC, Mobil 1 0/40 meets this spec.

    I'm not bashing Mobil 1. I think it's a good oil. My point remains that I believe BMW syn to be better than x/30 Mobil 1. You have the added advantage of compatability if your dealer ever changes the oil.

    Why use an oil other than dealer recommended without a compelling reason?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    For me, it's very simple, for my airplane engine, I want genuine Dino Juice, for my car, I want a genuine Synthetic, BMW/Castrol is neither.

    Best Regards,
  • karmikankarmikan Posts: 116
    Shipo is on the money with his post. Castrol is not a true synthetic, they have replaced synthetic polyaphaolefins with hydroisomerized petroleum base stock. As this comprises 70% of the content it means that Castrol is dino oil at its base (highly refined but still dino oil). As the BMW oil is based on Castrol, it doesn't matter how many additives BMW puts in, it's still dino oil.

    There are very few true synthetics available - Mobil 1, Amsoil and Red Line (I think) are the ones that come to mind.
  • Mr Shipo, I always enjoy your postings. and since you own (or have owned) 3-series and 5-series, i would like your input on a purchase i am contemplating. i was pretty set on getting a 325Coupe with manual and SP until i test drove 2003 525sedan with manual tranny last week. it had a SP few other things.. anyways, i was very surprised at how well it handled corners and surprising amount of power(we had 4 adults in the car). what made it more pleasant was the fact that interior was very quiet. so in your opinion, how does 325C fare vs. 525i ? (of course, both will have manual, SP) in terms of handling, power, interior noise level, cost of maintenance, etc?

    Waiting for your thoughtful input.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Thanks for the kind words. ;-)

    Regarding the difference between a 325Ci and a 525i, I guess the most relevant question you need to answer for yourself is, "How often will you Auto-X your car vs. carrying 4 adults in your car?"

    If you intend to autocross frequently, and carry more than two adults very rarely, clearly the 325Ci is the car for you. That said, from my point of view, the 5-Series is the better daily driver. I have found that the extra 209 (330Ci vs. 530i) to 253 (325Ci vs. 525i) pounds the 5-Series carries around has little effect on handling and acceleration. The flip side is that the 5-Series is considerably quieter, and even though the specifications don't reflect it, it is noticeably larger inside when compared to a 3-Series.

    Other differences to consider:
    - The 5-Series has dual zone climate control, whereas the 3-Series has a single zone (my wife and I NEVER agree on where to set the temperature)
    - The 5-Series Premium Audio is much nicer (sounds better and has more options) than the Harman-Kardon system
    - The message center on the 3-Series insists that you clear a message (such as the below 37 degree message every time you start the car), while the 5-Series simply displays it for a few moments and then returns the display to its previous state.
    - The power window controls for the 5-Series are on the arm-rests where GOD himself/herself intended them to be, on the 3-Series, they are located around the shifter.

    Regarding maintenance, given that both designs are fairly mature (to say the least), I doubt that there will be any appreciable difference between the two.

    I hope this helps.

    Best Regards,
  • ndegroatndegroat Posts: 8
    Wow! I thought my question might have slipped through the cracks, but apparently not. I am very new to this BMW world, my last two cars were pre 1998 Americans for which I relied on Havoline, for what that's worth. I'd like to keep my 5er for a while and want to sound reasonbly intelligent when I take it in for service...
    So, I will be asking questions and listening for resposes for a while.....this lesson was very intersting!
  • corkdsp1corkdsp1 Posts: 9
    put in order on E60 last week 530 w/ manual trans, orient blue, premium, sport, logic 7, adaptive headlights and dealer called me today to advise they want a $2,500 deposit that is non-refundable. Reason they stated is if I were to back out at delivery they would have trouble moving a Manual.

    I replied with it does not make sense for me to put down a non-refundable deposit on a car when they can not even tell me what the car will cost.

    Anyone else been required to put down non-refundable deposit down on ordered car due to being manual rather than automatic?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I would be inclined to find a different dealer. The norm is more like $500, and it is refundable.

    Best Regards,
  • I am with Shipo- find another dealer. If he can't sell a new model 5 with a manual when it first comes out, he shouldn't be in the auto sales business. He is trying to take advantage of you. Don't let him.
  • 330iii330iii Posts: 71
    I know it is too late for a Euro Delivery 530i since the factory closes in August and reopens in September to produce the E60,but was the 1.9 APR and or 4000 dollar incentive available for Munich pick up? 34785-4000=30785 base price?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282

    I had the same question. According to my dealer, the $4,000 incentive was never available for ED. It did not come out until after they stopped production and/or were not taking any new build orders. I'm not sure about the 1.9% financing.


    A "non-refundable" deposit of any amount cannot be legally binding unless it is a valid "two-party contract". Since the dealer cannot guarantee you an outside delivery date or even the price of the vehicle, there is no way the deposit would be deemed non-refundable in court. However, on the practical side, I agree with Shipo and would find another dealer. The fact that this one would even ask for a $2,500 non-refundable deposit not only shows ignorance of the law, but disregard for integrity and customer relations. I wouldn't give them my business.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I haven't followed the current incentives too much as I am not currently in the market for a car. ;-) That said, habitat1 has always proven to be a great source of information, and it seems that he has already answered at least part of your question.

    Regarding scheduling an ED for a 530i in E39 trim, I am not sure if the factory has stopped producing the E39 yet (something in the back of my head says that E39 production was stopped in June so BMW could start the re-tooling process). If it is still in production for the remainder of this month, there might still be a chance of you getting a car ready for an August or September ED trip. What you would have to do would be to find a dealer that has a car in the pipeline and not yet built, and then have them arrange to swap that car with the ED pool. Given the timing, even if the E39 is still being produced, my guess is that the chances of setting this up are very small, but it might be worth a try.

    Best Regards,
  • enjoyed your extensive post on my question regarding differences b/w 325 vs. 525
    i won't be autocrossing even if i were to buy 325 but i feel as though i need to drive 3-series before i move up to 5-series... maybe it's a stupid reason but i don't want to be in my 40's or 50's and wanting to drive 3-series in retrospect... but then again, there seem to be so many good deals on 5 series(2003 that is) that it is really tempting...
    well, guess i need to sleep on it and make the decision. : )


  • ryokenryoken Posts: 291
    Don't worry about tomorrow yet. Get what you want to drive today, today. Wait until tomorrow to decide what you want to drive tomorrow. :)
  • hoopsrefhoopsref Posts: 140
    Great quote...who said that Yoda? or was it Yogi Ya know like..."No one goes to that restaurant anymore because it is too crowded"

    to 330iii: I can't remember if Shipo already said this but from I have read the 5er's are also more reliable (see Consumer Reports... fro what it's worth. I am in the same boat as you now, except I am in my late 40's already. When I 30, I had a BMW 528e. I was looking at the 3er's mainly on price issue and they seemed like they would be more fun to drive. I have not driven a 530iA yet, but I can't imagine it will be a let down. I still am concerned about the reliability after warranty as well as the trips to dealer even for the stuff that is covered. Closer dealer will be 20 minutes away, where as my Toyota dealer (which I only visit to get an oil change and a free donut) is 2 miles away from my office! My wife thinks I am absolutely out of mind ("What's your point honey?") getting rid of a reliable 2001 Camry at half the payments of the BMW, with a daily commute of 5 miles with a top speed of 40 mph (vrrooooom).
    Is there any other confused old farts out there, or is this a bunch of young wild & crazy guys who still hair to blow in the wind?
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    Yes, there are some old farts out here, but not confused (I think). I'm 55 and in March '03 traded my Chrysler 300M for a 530iA. Best car thing I ever did. I loved the Chrysler; I'm in lust with the BMW. I know about the 40 mph commute too, but this weekend I'm headed to the hills for some fun.

     I can't help you with the 5 vs. 3 question, as I'm almost too tall for the 5 and the 3 is out of the question. Nevertheless, if you can swing the BMW price, lose the Camry (yawn).
  • driller2driller2 Posts: 7
    I guess I'm almost an old fart at 48, but I just bought my first BMW , a 530ia with sport package. I test drove one last year and fell in love with the handling. The car is a pleasure to drive. It was a no brainer given the incentives. I'm glad I got one before production ended. Go for the 530, you won't be disappointed.
  • 530bmw530bmw Posts: 130
    I did more research on the $4000 and low financing. At one time you can have either $4000 or 1.9% financing but not both, but I am not sure if either one is still offered to consumers. I hope that they will offer both altogether in the future so I can trade in my 02 for 03.
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