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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 > Break-in Maintenance and Used Cars



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      01-22-2015, 10:20 AM   #1
raisingAnarchy
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Break-in Maintenance and Used Cars

Buying a used car is generally regarded as a smart decision financially for a number of reasons, but I'm curious about the long term effects of break-in maintenance (or lack of). With BMW scheduled maintenance no longer including break-in service for non-M cars and the first owners (likely a lessee) of these BMW's often not knowing or caring enough to do break-in maintenance on their own dime, are the second owners of these cars at a disadvantage?

In my case, I picked up a 328 that had one of the best maintenance records I had seen on an E90 for sale in my area, but it didn't have a break-in oil change or diff fluid flush. If I wanted to follow a maintenance schedule akin to Mike Miller's with the intent long-term ownership, am I at a disadvantage having a ~40k mile car that hasn't had the diff/tranny flushes yet?

Thanks in advance for any help or input.
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      01-22-2015, 10:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raisingAnarchy View Post
Buying a used car is generally regarded as a smart decision financially for a number of reasons, but I'm curious about the long term effects of break-in maintenance (or lack of). With BMW scheduled maintenance no longer including break-in service for non-M cars and the first owners (likely a lessee) of these BMW's often not knowing or caring enough to do break-in maintenance on their own dime, are the second owners of these cars at a disadvantage?

In my case, I picked up a 328 that had one of the best maintenance records I had seen on an E90 for sale in my area, but it didn't have a break-in oil change or diff fluid flush. If I wanted to follow a maintenance schedule akin to Mike Miller's with the intent long-term ownership, am I at a disadvantage having a ~40k mile car that hasn't had the diff/tranny flushes yet?
I've done break-in oil changes on my last two cars; didn't make any difference as the M54 in the E46 used a lot of oil once it got over 90K or so (notorious for that - valve guides and oil rings). My 335d is a different animal, of course - just at 90K and it uses maybe a quart in 10K, kind of hard to tell what with post-injection DPF contamination, etc.

Note that Miller recommends auto tranny fluid changes at 60K miles (no break-in). Diff changes, it's only a quart so do it if you like; I haven't seen many (really, extremely few) diff failures mentioned on all the forums. And my E46 front diff failed at ~110K after having had regular changes, so I doubt changing diff oil has any measurable effect.
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      01-22-2015, 10:53 AM   #3
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At that mileage you should be fine. Especially if you get on and change all fluids straight away. But, as Mike Miller says, if you're not intending to keep your Beemer that long, why bother anyway? Only future owners will benefit...
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      01-22-2015, 07:40 PM   #4
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My car is at 274,000 miles. I never did a break-in service on anything. Follwed BMW's OCI (for me it was 17,500 miles - I've since dropped to 10k) and driveline oils basically at 100K intervals. Coolant at 100K originally, than a few early changes for the t-stat and WP. Times change, chemestry of lubricants moves forward, use of tighter manufacturing tolerances get cheaper to achieve, use of higher-cost materials increase longevity and reduce maintenance requirements (my hoses were almost new at 240K when I changed them out). It's 2015, not 1986.

And yeah, I owned a '89 E30 since new too and did all the maintence per the old Inspection I/Inspection II method. That car when to 290K. My Wife's Z3 is at 165K using BMWs maintenance schedule for 1997-period cars.
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      01-23-2015, 09:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
And my E46 front diff failed at ~110K after having had regular changes, so I doubt changing diff oil has any measurable effect.
Just out of curiosity, was the E46 a xi? And what happened that made it fail?
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      01-23-2015, 09:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Phil325i View Post
At that mileage you should be fine. Especially if you get on and change all fluids straight away. But, as Mike Miller says, if you're not intending to keep your Beemer that long, why bother anyway? Only future owners will benefit...
Yeah I'm on the fence about the idea of long term ownership for this specific car. It's the smart thing to do financially to just hang onto the car and take care of it as best I can for as long as I can, but owning BMWs probably isn't the smartest financial decision in the first place.
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      01-23-2015, 10:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
My car is at 274,000 miles. I never did a break-in service on anything. Follwed BMW's OCI (for me it was 17,500 miles - I've since dropped to 10k) and driveline oils basically at 100K intervals. Coolant at 100K originally, than a few early changes for the t-stat and WP. Times change, chemestry of lubricants moves forward, use of tighter manufacturing tolerances get cheaper to achieve, use of higher-cost materials increase longevity and reduce maintenance requirements (my hoses were almost new at 240K when I changed them out). It's 2015, not 1986.

And yeah, I owned a '89 E30 since new too and did all the maintence per the old Inspection I/Inspection II method. That car when to 290K. My Wife's Z3 is at 165K using BMWs maintenance schedule for 1997-period cars.
Thanks for the information. I had always placed a lot of value on proper break-in procedures, but maybe I'll just reserve those procedures for a future M car or the like.

Btw, it's been really interesting and helpful following your other updates on the E90. 274,000 miles is impressive!
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      01-24-2015, 06:40 AM   #8
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So you can follow an oil change regimen of say 5,000 miles, or one that BMW via the CBS requires. And after say, 270,000 miles, your car is still running pretty good and getting pretty much the same fuel mileage as it did when it only had 30,000 miles on it, and only uses a quart of oil about every 5,000 miles (could be the oil separator - who knows), and you've saved over $3,000 and just over 50 hours of your time not changing the oil so often.

While most people get scared to own an E90 after the free maintenance/warranty period is up.
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      01-26-2015, 04:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raisingAnarchy View Post
Just out of curiosity, was the E46 a xi? And what happened that made it fail?
Well, a front diff directly implies 'xi. And there was nothing that made it fail - just threw a tooth while I was going downhill from Timberline lodge - had only gone a couple miles down road, no strain, no nothing. Jammed the driveline, left almost 100 feet of 4 wheel tire streaks.
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      01-27-2015, 04:27 PM   #10
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Does anyone know when BMW last recommended a break-in oil change on non M cars? I've purchased 4 new ones (Z3, E46, Z4 and 128i) since 1997 and none called for any service before 8,000 miles (for the Z3 which had non synthetic OEM oil).

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      01-30-2015, 02:12 PM   #11
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Ahh I remember when I was looking into getting my first BMW and was scared about everything I read on the forums. It sounds like the original owner did more than what is recommended from BMW. I say you shouldn't be scared about the original owner not doing a fluid change after the break-in period. Even BMW doesn't mention it as part of their recommended maintenance procedure. See this thread where someone wrote up an oil change DIY after he broke in his car:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4768

Even he thought it was unnecessary. I say if the car checks out and the original owner took care of it, I say do it!
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      Today, 08:21 AM   #12
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Oils have come a very long way in terms of change intervals. While the OCD in some will push you to change more often, UOA of quality synthetics show 10K+ oil change intervals being across the board fine for the average street car.

I recently picked up a X1 335 that to the best of my knowledge only had one BMW change in its 21K life so far. Lot of HWY miles on her from the born on date to when I purchased it.

I had no concern picking it up and had it been new would not have dropped oil quickly. I probably would do it in 1/2 the time that the computer seems to want to (ranges from 12-16K miles it seems) but that is just me.

Diff etc...is a 30-60K change vs 100K/lifetime that some folks wish to do. Again, that's just me

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