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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 > 20,000 Miles before an oil change?



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      11-10-2005, 12:40 AM   #1
bblank
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20,000 Miles before an oil change?

I hit the 10k mark tonight in my 325i and decided to check the service menu to see when I needed to think about heading in to get an oil change / service. The iDrive screen shows that I have 9500 miles left before I need to go in for service. Can this be right???

There's some debate on what that mileage number actually means..

1) It is specifying the odometer reading of when the car needs to be serviced.
2) It specifies the number of miles remaining before it should be serviced.

The manual states it is #2, but I have my doubts. I drive it pretty hard, so I can't imagine it can go 19,500 before a service. I can bet though that if I take it in now, my dealer is going to tell me to go another 9500 before they'll change it for free.

Thoughts?
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      11-10-2005, 12:49 AM   #2
David328M-Sport
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Lots of discussion on this. Even changing the oil at 5000 miles.
The heavy duty synthetic oil is supposed to last as long as your service interval indicator says it will BUT you can change it more often if you wish.

My service manager was hesitant to change my oil anytime soon, so I may leave it for a while. Some members have changed the oil (and filter) themselves and found it quite easy. You do have to reset the oil filter cover and sump plug to specific torque levels after the change.

Its seems some members are happy they have changed the oil while others will wait. So the choice is yours.

Check out other threads and see what you think. No harm to change it though.

Cheers and welcome aboard.
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      11-10-2005, 12:52 AM   #3
CirrusSR22
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Change it anyways. Why risk a world-class car to save $50?
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      11-10-2005, 02:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CirrusSR22
Change it anyways. Why risk a world-class car to save $50?
The real question is why waste $50 on what was thoroughly tested to work as it supposed to until the end of it's life span.
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      11-10-2005, 03:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bblank
1) It is specifying the odometer reading of when the car needs to be serviced.
2) It specifies the number of miles remaining before it should be serviced.
All BMW's are definitely number 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblank
I drive it pretty hard, so I can't imagine it can go 19,500 before a service. I can bet though that if I take it in now, my dealer is going to tell me to go another 9500 before they'll change it for free.
Thoughts?
If Irish BMW dealers are anything to go by, you are betting correctly. The OBC is a sophisticated beast and is designed to adjust this figure automatically depending on driving style. Thus if you spend a long time motorway/freeway cruising, it will likely extend out past the initial 15,000 mile interval that it starts with. OTOH if you do a lot of stop-start driving or hard driving it will be less than 15k.

I truly saw this in action myself at a recent track day with my E46 M3. The service interval dropped by 500 miles in the course of the days session despite me only covering 67 miles on the track!!

The dealers view will be that the car is operating normally, and that it doesn't need a service (unless one year has elapsed in which case it should be done). It shouldn't do any harm to wait until the indicated mileage has elapsed before having the service done.

Having said that, if you are nervous about it it won't do any harm to change the oil.

But you might find that relatively speaking, you don't actually drive the card as "hard" as you think you do.

C
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      11-10-2005, 07:13 AM   #6
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Hmmm...That's doesn't sound right. Did u accidentially(sp?) reset the service indicator? Get a software update?

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      11-10-2005, 07:54 AM   #7
bblank
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No, I can't imagine that I would have reset it. I've watched this indicator drop from 15000 to 12000 to 11.. to where it is now. I would say that 90% of the miles that are on it are from my commute to work (150-200mi daily, 3x/week) so maybe its because a lot of it is highway miles that it will go farther than the 15k.
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      11-10-2005, 07:57 AM   #8
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Highway type miles will extend the service interval

The E90 does have a oil quality sensor that is also a factor in the determination of service interval
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      11-10-2005, 08:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CorporalCarrot
If Irish BMW dealers are anything to go by, you are betting correctly. The OBC is a sophisticated beast and is designed to adjust this figure automatically depending on driving style. Thus if you spend a long time motorway/freeway cruising, it will likely extend out past the initial 15,000 mile interval that it starts with. OTOH if you do a lot of stop-start driving or hard driving it will be less than 15k.
C
I second that...
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      11-10-2005, 09:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getopts
The real question is why waste $50 on what was thoroughly tested to work as it supposed to until the end of it's life span.
You have obvisiously not seen the Used Oil Analysis posted by one of the members after 7500 miles.
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      11-10-2005, 09:26 AM   #11
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I have 8,500 miles on my car and it says I have 9,000 more to go for a total of 17,500.

In addition to how the service indicator is affected by the type of miles you drive and your driving style, I wonder what the effect of inserting additional oil changes in between the recommended ones is doing, since the car also has an oil quality sensor I guess Theoretically, this means that the car may never ask for an oil change and keep adding 15,000 miles everytime you change the oil and not reset the sensor Of course that's the extreme case in which oil quality is the only measure used, which it doesn't seem to be.
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      11-10-2005, 09:47 AM   #12
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bblank

It is definitely the highway miles that are extending it. 150 - 200 miles of cruising and the engine is barely breaking a sweat.

Just like aircraft (with takeoff/landing), its starting and stopping with cars that cause the most engine wear. I unfortunately have to do lots of stop start traffic driving (only do about 8k a year) and my intervals are shorter.

In my last car (an E46 318ci) the mechs couldnt believe when I left it in for service; the oil dipstick was covered in gunk and I had only done 6k since the previous service.

Also, I have found with BMW's that they really should not consume much oil; those that find their car does should get it checked out. Its not normal.

C
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      11-10-2005, 09:49 AM   #13
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Silverado wrote in part, "...the car also has an oil quality sensor"
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Are you sure about this? This site is the only place I have seen this. I would think that BMW would advertise the fact if an oil analyzer is included. I suspect that the service interval calculations on 3 liter engines in E-60 and E-90 cars are made in the same way as on recent (previous) BMW engines based on operating periods and temperatures.

Extended drain intervals and free service during warranty are, in large part marketing tools. Under most conditions one could probably run one of these cars for the full warranty or lease period without changing the oil (toppintg off as necessary) without noticing a porblem. However, there is a great liklihood that internal engine wear would begin to show up soon after. BMW appears to be on safe ground by covering at most 3 oil changes in the price of the car. Based on service interval calculations, the likelihood is that a high percentage of buyers will only get two changes before the warranty expires. My MCS "said" it didn't require an oil change until 14,267 miles. The stated average interval was 10,000. Of course I changed the oil twice before taking it in to the MINI dealer for its 1st full service at 14,300.
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      11-10-2005, 09:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben1364
Silverado wrote in part, "...the car also has an oil quality sensor"
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Are you sure about this?
Only as sure as anything else E90Fleet has told us, and he has been quite reliable.
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      11-10-2005, 09:53 AM   #15
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Just for clarification, over here the servicing interval is always one year or the mileage indicated by the OBC, whichever is sooner. So if you don't do the stated mileage within a year, its generally serviced anyway.

Am I led to believe that in the US, if you only did 7,500 miles per annum you would only get the car serviced every 2 years?

C
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      11-10-2005, 10:01 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverado
Only as sure as anything else E90Fleet has told us, and he has been quite reliable.

Here is a bit on it from the BMW Mechanics literature on the N52 engine

Note it check oil level, oil temperature and oil condition
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      11-10-2005, 10:01 AM   #17
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My indicator give date and mileage.....currently down to 17,000mls from the 19,000 it started with......
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      11-10-2005, 10:04 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CorporalCarrot
Just for clarification, over here the servicing interval is always one year or the mileage indicated by the OBC, whichever is sooner. So if you don't do the stated mileage within a year, its generally serviced anyway.

Am I led to believe that in the US, if you only did 7,500 miles per annum you would only get the car serviced every 2 years?

C

BMW here says every 2 years, not every year


They used to say yearly with older models like E36, but changed it to 2 years with eE46 when full synthetic started to be used.

Your brake fluid and coolant is also every 2 years.


The car also gives the date by which you must go in, and youll notice its every 2 years
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      11-10-2005, 10:13 AM   #19
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The BMW warrenty is for 60K miles. If you are happy with an engine that lasts 60K, change you oil as per BMW specs.
If you would like it to last significantly longer, it will not hurt you to change the oil earlier.
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      11-10-2005, 10:14 PM   #20
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My car used to read at 15,000 miles. After 2 months, it was 12,000 miles and last week, it dropped to 11,000 miles for the first oil change. I would say the oil sensor did all those. Thanks for this information, guys.
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      11-26-2005, 12:58 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CirrusSR22
Change it anyways. Why risk a world-class car to save $50?
Exactly....it only costs $50-$55 to change the oil/filter once in between services...provides a piece-of-mind. In addition, the BMW syn 5w-30 is notorious for thickening up to a mid-high 40wt toward the 12K mark (provided that some of you folks are going almost 20K, the oil can thicken even further), which can compromise fuel efficiency. If that's the case, the regained fuel economy from installing new oil would more than pay for the cost of the oil change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by getopts
The real question is why waste $50 on what was thoroughly tested to work as it supposed to until the end of it's life span.
Well, it depends on the point-of-view. Since the BMW syn thickens so much, I'd personally change it out mid-way just from a fuel economy standpoint...as the thicker oil may reduce fuel efficiency. In addition, I personally don't like the way the BMW syn leaves some kind of nasty buildup in engines over long drains...if you look under the valve cover of many of those E46s run on 15K drains...you'll notice this nasty buildup on the oil filler cap and under the valve cover....some people say its sludge, but it isn't...its some type of weird buildup associated with the BMW syn 5w-30...it goes away or isn't as bad when you use a different oil.

On a side note...BMW's 5w-30 syn is a GrpIII based, ACEA A3/B3 rated syn produced by Castrol. An ACEA A3/B3 rated synthetic requires a High Temperature/High Shear score (HT/HS) >3.5, which may be required in some engines under high-stress conditions to provide optimal wear control. The HT/HS test calls for the oil to be heated to a worse-case senario temperature (150C), and sheared many times to determine the optimum viscosity, which is better correlated to wear as opposed to measuring the minimum oil film thickness. In addition, the reason why BMW uses a thicker, shear-stable 5w-30 as opposed to a 5w-40 is because they expect the oil to slowly thicken during the course of the drain.

Now, IIRC, BMW suggests Mobil 1 5w-30 as an alternative to BMW 5w-30....however, some claim that M1 5w-30 doesn't meet the Long Life 01 spec that the 0w-40 does. Although M1 0w-40 has a starting HT/HS of 3.6 and a viscosity in the mid-14cst range, versus the M1 5w-30's HT/HS of 3.1 and starting viscosity of 11cst, the M1 0w-40 thins to a 11.5-12.5cst oil within 5000 miles and ultimately has an end-of-test HT/HS in the 3.1-3.3cp range...thus, this oil does not stay in grade well at all and would be a poor choice if you plan on using it in an application requiring a stable 40wt at all times. (BMW engines rarely require a 40wt) Based upon the behavior of the M1 0w-40, the M1 5w-30 wouldn't be a poor choice at all as the oil does not thin at all; it stays at a solid 11cst and thickens slowly, but no where as much as the BMW syn (or thicken out of grade), thus, it won't significantly affect fuel economy.

Now, some people may say that M1 5w-30 is not thick enough, but the M1 5w-30 has a stable viscosity that slowly increases...in addition, BMW's guide recommends using M1 5w-30. Thus, I personally have a hard time believing those who challenge BMW's recommendations...why would BMW recommend the incorrect oil in the owner's manuals of many cars for many years and risk premature engine wear. From the oil analysis results I've seen, the BMW engines wear fine with a mid-upper 30wt. Lastly, some people may say that the 0w-40 M1 has a higher starting TBN for longer service life, but one can use the Mobil 1 Extended Performance 5w-30 over the regular 5w-30 (which I highly recommend as I've seen better results with the Extended Performance version).

Sorry about the slightly off-topic...I just wanted to add that.
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      11-29-2005, 11:10 PM   #22
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Unhappy Oil change

I've never let one of my cars go past 3000 miles before first change. You can just make sure that everything is has its supposed to be. Its a safety barrier, plus you dont have to worry about it till the "first" change. I think the only reason they leave it so long is because they are paying the bill!
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