BMW 3-Series Oil Questions

bmwlov3rbmwlov3r Member Posts: 8
edited December 2013 in BMW
Hello all, I'm a new BMW E46 330i owner. I bought my car used at a Ford dealership and I am concerned about if they put Castrol Synthetic oil in it or not. My service indicator says i still have about 2,000 miles left. Does the oil really last for 15,000 miles on the right oil? How often should I get the oil changed in this type of car?

Thanks in advance!
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Comments

  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 207,889
    What makes you think the Ford dealer changed the oil?

    Try to get a look at the filter and see what brand it is.. If it is Motorcraft, then head straight to the BMW dealer and pay for an oil change.

    What year and how many miles?

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  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    The BMW branded oil is OK, but I would use either Castrol Syntec 0W-30 or Mobil 1 0W-40. On my BMWs I change the oil at 7500 mile intervals, using a BMW filter and Mobil 1 0W-40 oil. It's an easy 30 minute DIY task.
  • bmwlov3rbmwlov3r Member Posts: 8
    It's a 2003. The car had about 39,000 miles on it when I bought it back in mid-August. There was a "next oil service due" sticker on the window is why I think Ford may have changed the oil.

    Thanks for the advice!
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Member Posts: 2,698
    My local dealers only carry BMW 5W-30 and 10W-60. If I went with 0 weight as you recommend, I'd have to buy Castrol or Mobil 1. Do you run 0W-30 during the Summer and 0W-40 during the Winter? If I understand this correctly, the first number indicates the viscosity of the oil at cold temperature, while the second number indicates the viscosity at operating temperature. Since it's hotter during the Summer, you'd want the lower viscosity number (30) and the higher number (40) during the Winter, no? Also, 5W is for better fuel economy strictly I guess?
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Hey Brave,

    When reading an oil label, the first number means that when the oil is cold, it flows like a straight weight oil of the same number when it too is cold. The second number means that when the multi grade oil is warm, it will flow like a straight weight oil of the same number when it is also warm. Said another way, 0W-40 is still thicker when cold than when it is warm, it just doesn't thin out as much as it warms as a straight weight oil or another oil that starts with the same first number but has a lower second number.

    Regarding fuel economy, the first number only affects the fuel economy for the first few minutes following a cold start. The real benefit of a lower first number is that since it is less thick when cold (especially when it's REAL cold), it pumps up into your engine faster during a cold start and as such, keeps engine wear to a minimum.

    Relative to the oils that carry the BMW label, the 5W-30 is the Castrol oil made for BMW for their non-M cars while the 10W-60 is for the Ms.

    As there is some question as to the true quality of the BMW/Castrol oil, it seems that the best choice for a certified BMW LL-01 oil is either Mobil 1 0W-40 or German (as in says "Made in Germany" on the label) Castrol Syntec 0W-30. As I prefer a spotless engine (on the inside at least), I lean toward Mobil 1 which seems to be unmatched at keeping the innards clean.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Shipo beat me to it, Brave. I think Mobil 1 0W-40 is a better oil overall.
  • lehrer1lehrer1 Member Posts: 54
    Does anybody know why air intake should be restricted at low RPM?
    Why VANOS are better than air intake butterfly at low RPM?
    Lehrer
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    One word: Turbulence.

    If the intake system of an engine is too free breathing, then said engine will be gutless until the RPMs come up to speed. Why is turbulence so important? It aids in creating a uniform distribution of air and fuel within the combustion chamber. The better the air and fuel is mixed and the better said mixture is distributed around the combustion chamber, the greater the amount of power that can be derived when said mixture burns.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Member Posts: 2,698
    That was helpful, I'm sold on the Mobil 1 0W-40.

    Div2, you run Mobil 1 0W-40 year-round?

    Shipo, you know quite a bit about turbulence. Still flying that little Cessna?
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Div2, you run Mobil 1 0W-40 year-round?

    Yes. That said, my 1995 318ti owners manual states that I can run conventional 15W-50 at ambient temps of 0F and above- and if the car was going to see significant track time I'd probably switch to M1 15W-50. FWIW, I used to run it year-round until the Mobil introduced the 0W-40 grade.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Actually I'm spending my flying time these days in a fabric covered 1948 Piper Cub "Taildragger" out of a 2,100 foot grass strip. This plane is such a throw-back that it doesn't even have any "electrics". Said another way there is no radio, no navigation and no starter, meaning that you have to yell "Contact" out the window after you've turned on the "Master" so that someone up there can "Hand-Prop" the engine. :shades:

    How's Brave Junior coming along? I'll bet he's getting big. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    I'm taking early retirement in a couple of years and and if things work out I'd like to find a nice Ercoupe to piddle around in.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Member Posts: 2,698
    Brave Jr will be 5 in January, time flies by. He is all into sports - we play football, soccer, hockey or baseball every night - it's part of his bedtime routine :o) He has an imaginary friend called Winner Racecar and he goes racing with him a few times a day - it sounds like someone just fired up an engine and is revving it up loud right in the middle of the playroom. I tell him stories about my own everyday encounters with Winner Racecar who always surprises me when I least expect it with a "Hey, buddy, wanna race?" He wants to go to race camp the day he turns 5 and I think you know what he'll be dressed like for Halloween. My wife had a bear of a time finding a race suit his size :o)
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Funny you should mention the Ercoupe, there are a couple of them at the Nashua, NH airport, and I happened to see one of them flying low and slow over our house last weekend. Nice toy. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Geez, I remember the bedtime games when Shipo Jr. was 5. Pretty much anything went as long as there was lots of yelling, bumping, rolling around on the floor and such. ;-) He's now 12 and graduated to full time Soccer. He's currently on two different teams that are both nicely positioned in second place, and both of his teams have already managed to beat the first place teams once each heading into the playoffs starting next week. He'll be insufferable if both teams win the championship. :shades:

    BTW, good choice on the Mobil 1 0W-40, I've been using the stuff in all of our cars since 2001 and have had the odd UOA performed on it. It not only holds up very well (per the UOA results), it keeps the innards of our engines literally spotless as well.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    FWIW, I run Mobil 1 10W-40 year round in my M3. Of course, it rarely goes below freezing in Seattle.

    BTW, I'd never heard of an Ercoupe before. I checked the web and it looks like a fun weekend runabout - kind of like a Miata for the sky (where the Piper Cub would be like an MGB)!

    Someday, maybe I'll have the time and money for more toys like those...
  • lehrer1lehrer1 Member Posts: 54
    Thank you, Shipo.
    Lehrer
  • mcerwinmcerwin Member Posts: 1
    Hi, new here. Bought a 1991 318i --- took out both oil pans got repaired. Either son or husband drove the car and took out the lower oil pan. What if anything can be done to prevent this from happening? (Can't afford to keep replacing the oil pans). I know its operator error the dealer suggested putting a skid plate over the lower oil pan? How do others avoid this issue? My first thought was to sell it and cut my losses hubby won't hear of that.

    Thanks and I appreciate any advice you can offer
  • toolmaker1toolmaker1 Member Posts: 7
    Have a 328xi with 800mi and it's down a quart.
    Is this normal ? I added 1/2 qt.but it did not register on the I DRIVE. BMW forgot to put a simple dip stick in !!
    could it be the oil sensor? I have never had a brand new car burn oil.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Relax, many new cars use oil while they complete the break-in process. That said, your sensor should have registered the oil you put in it (BTW, what kind of oil did you use?), so you might want to have your dealership check it.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    I have never had a brand new car burn oil.

    Many BMW engines will use a few quarts until they are broken in. It's no big deal; I've had some BMWs that didn't use oil and I've had some that did. In every case the engines have run past 100K with no problems.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    If you don't mind me saying so I think you guys are a bit too blase about this...you may be totally correct as I've observed the same thing you have, but if I were in his shoes I'd definitely keep a close eye on oil consumption this early in the game....if it doesn't clear up by say 3,000 miles, he's got a problem I think. At his current rate of consumption that about 3.5 quarts in 3,000 miles.

    You know how the odds go in mass production....there's always that .5 of 1%.......
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    If you don't mind me saying so I think you guys are a bit too blase about this...you may be totally correct as I've observed the same thing you have, but if I were in his shoes I'd definitely keep a close eye on oil consumption this early in the game....if it doesn't clear up by say 3,000 miles, he's got a problem I think.

    Well, he's covered by the BMW warranty to 50,000 miles, so I wouldn't worry until there was at least @10,000 miles on the clock. At that point I'd be concerned if the oil consumption was greater than one quart every 2,000 miles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    True, true...but I'd get the complaints written down early in the service record history so there is at least a paper trail. You know the dealer is going to give you the "acceptable limits" song and dance...what is it they claim...that down to one quart per 1,000 miles is "acceptable"? Is that correct?

    so my concern for the owner is that they'll stall him past warranty if the oil consumption isn't "bad enough" (by their standards).
  • circlewcirclew Member Posts: 8,666
    A quart in 800 miles is NOT normal. Go to your dealer immediately. Let them clear this and register your visit as well as your concern.

    Rgards,
    OW
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    A quart in 800 miles is NOT normal.

    Oil consumption of 800 miles/qt during the break-in period of a BMW is a bit on the high side, but it's certainly not that unusual. It's wise to report the matter to the dealer, but I'd run the sled several thousand more miles before I'd start to worry.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    It's also possible that the engine left the factory a half quart low. There's no way to know for sure since Munich has eliminated the dipstick.
  • circlewcirclew Member Posts: 8,666
    True, but it doesn't hlp much if he doesn't visit the dealer to log the issue.
  • kominskykominsky Member Posts: 850
    Eliminated the dipstick?! Is that for real? I haven't been paying much attention to the new BMW's since I plan on keeping mine another couple of years at least. Why did they do that?
  • circlewcirclew Member Posts: 8,666
    Technology Marches On! Yes,I lost mine, too!

    I think it's just like the plastic covers they put over the engine, so it's harder for us to service on our own and need to take it to the dealers.

    Regards,
    OW
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I thought eliminating the dipstick was a BAD idea when I first saw it and I still think so. You really lose information on many levels by not having a stick to read. I had a client who backed right out of a new BMW when she heard that the car had no dipstick. Just left the showroom and bought a super low miles 2005.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    I thought eliminating the dipstick was a BAD idea when I first saw it and I still think so. You really lose information on many levels by not having a stick to read.

    I don't like it either. BMW's powerplant engineers just hate the thought of anyone laying a wrench upon one of their internal combustion masterpieces. Ever since the eighties I've heard that their ultimate goal was to be able to weld the hood shut.
  • toolmaker1toolmaker1 Member Posts: 7
    Dearler found the problem to be the oil sensor. drained the oil and retrieved 7-1/2 qts. They replaced sensor ,new oil and filter ,good to go. Thanks for your intrest in my problem.
  • circlewcirclew Member Posts: 8,666
    My oil sensor acted up at 5K miles, showing a low reading but after "rebooting" the car, the sensor reset and the warning went out. This glitch never showed up since.

    Good that it's fixed now.

    Regards,
    OW
  • kaiopect8kaiopect8 Member Posts: 12
    Well, I'm going to clamber on board this thread, because you seem lucky -- our brand new 328xi now has had oil sensor/low oil messages THREE times, with less than 3K miles on it, and I'm here looking to see if others have had similar experiences. (The manual advises that the low-oil-sensor message is a serious warning which you must deal with immediately, by the way.) First time was 45 minutes after leaving dealer. Service decided it was a defective sensor but had none in stock. I'll skip the details but the same thing has happened twice since. You'd think they'd at least keep a few extras handy! ;-)

    Service has offered a few unlikely explanations already, the MOST probable being that we've had the totally fluky two-bad-sensors-in-a-row experience -- "It can happen!" Just our bad luck. Only, now it's three. Whatever the cause may be, it seems highly unlikely that ours is the only car experiencing the problem. We love the car, but you can't just ignore its serious warning lights. I'm thinking: NHTSA Defect Report, and Lemon Law claim.
  • m3guym3guy Member Posts: 6
    royal purple or mobile 1?
  • edmundstest1edmundstest1 Member Posts: 1
    royal purple!
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    For a late model BMW? Are you serious?

    - EOM Mobil 1 0W-40 is certified to meet the BMW LL-01 oil specification.
    - Castrol Syntec 0W-30 is certified to meet the BMW LL-01 oil specification.
    - Which Royal Purple oil is certified to meet the BMW LL-01 oil specification?

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • toolmaker1toolmaker1 Member Posts: 7
    Well did I say "Good to go" after changing my oil sensor.
    NOT! It lasted about a week. Now I've had low oil warning,Max oil level,Halfway oil level.Been back and forth to dealer four times now. Not a nice way to use up your lease miles.
  • kaiopect8kaiopect8 Member Posts: 12
    See #37 in this thread. You are having the same experience that we've been having. Ours has not malfunctioned for 9 days, during which we've had a warm spell, though, and I'm wondering whether it's affected by very cold weather.
  • discostewdiscostew Member Posts: 29
    My 2007 328xi Coupe with 550 miles just gave me the low oil message yesterday. Now I am betting that it is a bad sensor. I put 1.5 quarts of oil in trying to follow the owners manual and now I am afraid I might have overfilled it. :cry:
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Yup, most likely it is a bad sensor and you over filled it. You might want to think about getting some of that oil out of your engine.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • kevink5kevink5 Member Posts: 2
    May not be the sensor. My 2007 328xi showed the oil light at 90 miles. Went to dealer, they added a quater. 3 miles later, still oil sign. 30 miles later, the same. About 50 miles later, oil sign disappeared.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    What was BMW thinking?!?!
  • circlewcirclew Member Posts: 8,666
    They were thinking on the same bad trip with the RFT's! It's OK for the sensor but leave the dip stick....HELLO!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Must have been to save weight :P
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    Very funny Shifty, very funny.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well I have friends who are bicycle fanatics and they talk about drilling their cable stops to save weight for gawd's sake.

    I think BMW did this to achieve the elusive "no maintenance required" summit that many automakers seem to be striving for. It seems they are designing cars so that you will never have to touch them someday. They'll be like TV sets in terms of maintenance. You use it for years and one day it goes PHZXXT! and you throw it away.

    If I believed in conspiracy theories I'd also say things like no dipstick and no drain plug and proprietary diagnostics make the owner more dealer-dependent.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    They put a plastic cover over the engine to make it look like some kind of fusion power unit. Add a "stop/start" button on the dash and create the unconscious feeling of no moving parts, no maintenance, no vibration, and no noise.

    The shade tree mechanic is gradually going the way of the dodo bird.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well maybe that's okay. I don't want some monkey working on my new 3 series...so perhaps with these "all included" maintenance packages, my wrenching days are over, except for old cars. No sense even changing my own oil on a 3 series if it's already paid for.

    I've seen some sales resistance, though, to this "no dipstick" thing.
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