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BMW 3-Series Oil Questions



  • Hey-

    I had the first oil change on my '07 328i done at about 13.5k. Just paid to have the second oil change done at 19.7k and had that oil sample sent in to Blackstone for analysis. Here's what they said:

    "Don, your BMW is still relatively new, so we are probably seeing some lingering wear-in, in these elevated metals. Universal averages show normal wear levels from this engine type after 61,000 miles on the oil. 7,300 miles will be a fine oil change for you, especially once you get the extra metal out of the system. We'll let you know what things look like next time around, but hopefully everything is going to improve. The TBN is still good at 3.4, and no moisture, fuel, or antifreeze was present. The viscocity was just a little thicker than expected. Try 7,000 to 7,500 miles again."

    Basically across the board, there were higher metal levels in my car than the universal averages. Looks like I'll be paying for the off-cycle oil changes since I intend to keep the car to at least 100k miles and quite frankly, oil changes are a small thing to pay for on this otherwise problem-free car.

    Just wanted to share with everyone, let me know if you have specific questions on the report.

  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,041

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,260
    that is great information. did you have you oil change done at the dealership? how much did it run you?

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

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,190
    You need more than one UOA in order to be able to establish a trend. In the case of my Mazdaspeed 3 the wear metals didn't really settle down until it hit 30,000 miles. My wife's X3 had high Pb numbers and required @72,000 miles to get close to the universal averages:


    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • I do 80 miles each day about 55 of it is highway. Computer estimates 18k miles per change and that's what I've done the first 2 free oil changes.

    My 2006 330xi has 65k miles now. I last changed at around 10k interval out of pocket. I don't rev or drive the car hard.
  • tngolfnuttngolfnut Posts: 2
    Hi, just bought this car with 76,000 miles.
    Can I use Castrol 5w-30 synthetic blend?
    Do I have to use BMW filters?
    Can I use Wagner brake pads and rotors?
    What tools should I buy?
    I am a mechanic, but never worked on BMW's.
    What should I be worried about?
    What recommendations do you have?
    Thanks for any information and recommendations for this vehicle.
  • js330xijs330xi Posts: 2
    I would stick with the factory parts to the degree you can - if you are BMWCCA member you can often get discounts, or shop from dealers with a large online parts presence for lower prices - most of the factory parts come with unlimited mileage 2 year warranties on the part and most of it is plug and play - as in the parts get replaced not repaired...

    If you want to keep the car performing "as new" I wouldn't go substituting after market parts... if the performance can be good enough, or for transportation and doesn't matter to you then give it a try - you can always go back to oem parts..

    The tools on the car are pretty simple - there are not a wide variety of fastener types... there is a special snap on trim tool for removing plastic rivets, there are a couple metric hex heads and bolts, but the main issue with tools is access - long tools to reach deep tight locations...

    My car has dissappearing oil (passed leak down tests etc) of about 1qt per 1000 mi, yet drives like new, and is very fun at 8 years and 110,000 miles. I have stuck with oem parts and find the repairs costs to be reasonable, more reasonable than your average US made car...

    I am not a mechanic, but I find these cars easy to take apart and put back to gether with my limited tools... but I have not gotten as daring as some...
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    You must use a BMW LongLife-01 (aka. LL-01) certified oil, and Castrol 5W-30 is not such an oil. The three most commonly available oils for late model BMWs are as follows:

    BMW 5W-30
    Castrol Syntec 0W-30
    Mobil 1 0W-40 (which is what I use)

    Best regards,
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,349
    German car, German parts.

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

  • idoc2idoc2 Posts: 78
    edited May 2012
    Shipo, does this change your opinion about the frequency of oil changes?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,190
    edited May 2012
    Here is what Blackstone said about my most recent run of Rotella T6 in my 2004 X3:

    Universal averages for BMW's M54 I-6 are based on about 6,400 miles on the oil. You ran this oil 8,352 miles, and wear read at or below average across the board. That's the best indication we know of that an engine is in good mechanical shape internally.

    The TBN was 1.7(below 1.0 is low). However, by 10,000 miles the TBN drops to 0.5-0.8. Consequently, I believe that 15,000-18,000 miles is not a safe interval for my X3 based on my UOAs. Also note that I have run LL-01 oils(M1 0W-40) as well as HDEO synthetic oils(M1 5W-40, Rotella T6 5W-40) in the X3 and they have all performed in a similar fashion.That said, 6,000 is a bit excessive; I run M1 5-30 in my Mazdaspeed 3 for 7,500 miles and I know that the turbo motor is harder on oil than the NA M54.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • i use 5/40 synthetic oil and always high quality premium gas. Runs like a top.

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