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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Mechanical Maintenance: Break-in / Oil & Fluids / Servicing / Warranty > Low Oil Question



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      01-28-2013, 10:40 PM   #1
RicheyBMW
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Low Oil Question

Okay, so when I check out the oil level in the dashboard. It's under the halfway point. The bar is showing 1/4 of it filled. However, the warning of add "+1 quart" has not popped up yet. My guess is since the bar looks low it will say low oil soon. My question is, can I go right ahead and add 1 quart right now even though it doesn't say I need to yet, or do I have to wait for the warning sign to pop up to add it?
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      01-28-2013, 10:52 PM   #2
ovaltine224
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You can add some if you want. I'd prob add about half a quart and drive around and check the levels then
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      01-29-2013, 06:09 AM   #3
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The car will indicate when the oil needs to be topped off with 1 full quart. BMW recommends only topping off the oil level in 1 full-quart increments. The e-dipstick measures the oil level under several different parameters over time. It measures the oil level with a sophisticated sensor using a concentric capacitance tube, not a float level as you might think. Right now your engine has approximately 6 and 1/4 quarts (out of 7 quarts) in it. It has plenty of oil to lubricate the engine parts and operate the VANOS system. What most people don't understand is the bar graph in the oil level menu screen just shows the top quart of oil in the engine i.e. the "7th" quart. The bar graph does not show the quantity of the entire load of oil in the engine.

If you try and top off the oil level using less than a full quart of oil you can possibly over fill the engine because the e-dipstick is not a direct-read device. The e-dipstick determines the evel of oil in the engine under specific engine conditions over time. Adding a partial quart (let's say 3/4 of a quart in your case) may be too much or not enough. You are really just guessing how much oil it may need to read full. When the car indicates a full quart is needed then that is what it needs.

The engine can safely operate with less than a full load of 7 quarts of oil. If you have ever read any owners manual of a car with a traditional mechanical, direct-read dipstick, it says to monitor the oil level of the engine and keep the level within the range of the hatchmarks (or two lines) on the dipstick. It is not necessary to keep the oil level at the very top of the dipstick mark.

Wait until the car indicates +1 quart then add one quart of oil to the engine.
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      01-29-2013, 01:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
The car will indicate when the oil needs to be topped off with 1 full quart. BMW recommends only topping off the oil level in 1 full-quart increments. The e-dipstick measures the oil level under several different parameters over time. It measures the oil level with a sophisticated sensor using a concentric capacitance tube, not a float level as you might think. Right now your engine has approximately 6 and 1/4 quarts (out of 7 quarts) in it. It has plenty of oil to lubricate the engine parts and operate the VANOS system. What most people don't understand is the bar graph in the oil level menu screen just shows the top quart of oil in the engine i.e. the "7th" quart. The bar graph does not show the quantity of the entire load of oil in the engine.

If you try and top off the oil level using less than a full quart of oil you can possibly over fill the engine because the e-dipstick is not a direct-read device. The e-dipstick determines the evel of oil in the engine under specific engine conditions over time. Adding a partial quart (let's say 3/4 of a quart in your case) may be too much or not enough. You are really just guessing how much oil it may need to read full. When the car indicates a full quart is needed then that is what it needs.

The engine can safely operate with less than a full load of 7 quarts of oil. If you have ever read any owners manual of a car with a traditional mechanical, direct-read dipstick, it says to monitor the oil level of the engine and keep the level within the range of the hatchmarks (or two lines) on the dipstick. It is not necessary to keep the oil level at the very top of the dipstick mark.

Wait until the car indicates +1 quart then add one quart of oil to the engine.
Sounds about right. I was worried about that too. I will wait till it indicates it needs +1 quart even though the bar level is low. Thanks for the advice.
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      05-19-2013, 07:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
The car will indicate when the oil needs to be topped off with 1 full quart. BMW recommends only topping off the oil level in 1 full-quart increments. The e-dipstick measures the oil level under several different parameters over time. It measures the oil level with a sophisticated sensor using a concentric capacitance tube, not a float level as you might think. Right now your engine has approximately 6 and 1/4 quarts (out of 7 quarts) in it. It has plenty of oil to lubricate the engine parts and operate the VANOS system. What most people don't understand is the bar graph in the oil level menu screen just shows the top quart of oil in the engine i.e. the "7th" quart. The bar graph does not show the quantity of the entire load of oil in the engine.

If you try and top off the oil level using less than a full quart of oil you can possibly over fill the engine because the e-dipstick is not a direct-read device. The e-dipstick determines the evel of oil in the engine under specific engine conditions over time. Adding a partial quart (let's say 3/4 of a quart in your case) may be too much or not enough. You are really just guessing how much oil it may need to read full. When the car indicates a full quart is needed then that is what it needs.

The engine can safely operate with less than a full load of 7 quarts of oil. If you have ever read any owners manual of a car with a traditional mechanical, direct-read dipstick, it says to monitor the oil level of the engine and keep the level within the range of the hatchmarks (or two lines) on the dipstick. It is not necessary to keep the oil level at the very top of the dipstick mark.

Wait until the car indicates +1 quart then add one quart of oil to the engine.
Makes sense, but I have another question. My car just indicated it needed the quart of oil, but what should I use? I called the BMW roadside assistance because the dealer is closed today (weekend) and it's a long weekend. They first told me it had to be BMW oil (which is BS since BMW just OEMs everything from Oil, to spark plugs to wiper blades and charges a premium for other manufacturers products); then they finaly recommend Castrol Syntec (which is actually marked on the oil cap). But they couldn't tell me what type. They said either 0W30, 0W40, 5W30, 5W40, 10W30 or 10W40 would work, but I would need a flush and oil change ASAP (which it's due for anyways, but my dealer is book appts 3 weeks out).

I picked up 10W40 because it was the only one with the "Made for BMW, MB and VW" marked right on the front, and had all the correct ratings/approvals on the back.

Is it safe to add the 10W40? will I really need a flush?

Thanks,
Brad
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      05-19-2013, 10:04 PM   #6
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Uh, there's a million threads on which oil to use and I believe only Castrol Fully Synthetic 0W-40 is actually BMW approved for use (Check back for LL01 approval). I normally change my oil at the 6000-7500 mark but apparently those with maintenance programs say their dealer only changes at every 15k. When you do it, change your oil filter as well. As for which oil, depends on your state temperature. Here in Florida, I use 5W-30 even though technically only the 0W-40 is BMW approved. I believe Mobile 1 has a 0W-40 that says European Car Formula that has the markings on the back that say it's BMW approved. If I were you, instead of paying the stealership over a hundred dollars for oil change, I recently did mine using Castrol oil from Walmart for under $40 in half an hour of work (cleanup took 20 minutes)
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      05-20-2013, 10:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowx360 View Post
there's a million threads on which oil to use and I believe only Castrol Fully Synthetic 0W-40 is actually BMW approved for use (Check back for LL01 approval).
fCs, the Castrol that's approved by BMW is Syntec European Formula 0W30. Also commonly known as German Castrol or GC (for short.)

http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...ngineOils.aspx

10W40 is too viscous (thick) for our engines (espec. in colder climates), don't use it, return it. No approved oils have a cold weight above 5 (as in 5W -- and 0W would help with cold starts in Canada during winter.) And you don't need a flush, adding other unknown chemicals to the engine is unwise. You may want to change the oil at 1/2 factory intervals (~7,500 mls) as many owners do.

Last edited by AlanAZ; 05-20-2013 at 10:44 AM.
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