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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 Counter: Negative Numbers



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      07-29-2013, 11:14 PM   #23
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      07-29-2013, 11:22 PM   #24
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First, when driving, you will see an empty bar and ticking clock until the engine has reached full temperature. As stated a
few posts up, usually about 15 to 20 minutes.
If you are concerned about running it low on oil check it before you start the engine.
Get in, put key in, with foot off brake or clutch, push start button to turn ignition on without starting. Then check oil level. This is how we check oil in a cold E90 engine.
BTW, change your oil.
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      07-29-2013, 11:31 PM   #25
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uhhhh go get your oil changed immediately after reading this if you still haven't already
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      07-29-2013, 11:42 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titanium3er View Post
Hmm...
Just to be on the safe side: OP, get a bottle of BMW oil from the BMW parts counter it will cost you $8.00 - $12.00 and drop it into the engine oil hole. Yes just one quart is all you need and will hold you over a couple weeks until your next oil change. And since BMW is likely the only place you can get the oil you need in a matter of minutes, why don't you just get an oil change if you're going there anyway?
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      07-30-2013, 08:32 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
Okay so first off the CBS oil change indicator is telling you that you are 300 miles past due for an oil change., How long are you waiting for the oil level to be read? It takes about 6 - 10 miles of driving for the engine to reach operating temperature and other requirements for the e-dipstick to read properly. If after 15 minutes of driving the e-dipstick will not measure the oil, then the sensor is going bad and needs to be replaced.

Second, the CBS should have been counting down in increments of 10 miles that the oil was due; did you notice the chime and yellow service icon each time you shut the engine off. Once it goes negative, you get a (red) warning only at engine start.

Third, if the engine was too low on oil, the low oil pressure warning would appear and stay on.

When was the last oil change? It should have been anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000 miles ago.

Any chance you read the owners manual that is in the trunk? It tells you all the answers to the questions you have asked.
After driving for 10 minutes the oil reads "OK" with the bar being 25% full.
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      07-30-2013, 08:58 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snow King View Post
Just to be on the safe side: OP, get a bottle of BMW oil from the BMW parts counter it will cost you $8.00 - $12.00 and drop it into the engine oil hole. Yes just one quart is all you need and will hold you over a couple weeks until your next oil change. And since BMW is likely the only place you can get the oil you need in a matter of minutes, why don't you just get an oil change if you're going there anyway?
$220 for a Oil change. no thank you.
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      07-31-2013, 03:05 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by KeepitClassy View Post
$220 for a Oil change. no thank you.
Don't know what dealer you go to - but mine charges $79 for an oil change...

And yet I still just do it myself, it literally only takes 20min max from the time the car hits the ramps.

I have always done my own oil changes @ 7000mi in between the free changes given under maintenance plan. 15000 mi oil changes is just crazy IMO.

There are several BMW approved oils you can use that are less expensive than the BMW branded oil & available @ auto parts stores.

Personally, I use Castrol Edge with Syntec European Formula 0W-30 which is actually the very same oil as the BMW oil from dealer - all they do is rebrand the bottle and charge more
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      07-31-2013, 03:18 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepitClassy View Post
After driving for 10 minutes the oil reads "OK" with the bar being 25% full.
You are not low on oil and you do not need to add any.

You are just overdue for the oil change, that's why it's red. Just go get it done? Are you that far from the dealership or something? I'm assuming you're still under warranty.
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      07-31-2013, 06:54 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepitClassy View Post
After driving for 10 minutes the oil reads "OK" with the bar being 25% full.
Okay, now we are getting somewhere. The engine in your car hold 7 quarts of oil.

I'm assuming you don't know much about cars, so I'll try to explain the oil measuring system. All oil dipsticks read the same way, whether they are the traditional mechanical dipstick you pull out of the engine block (which we don't have in our car), or the electronic kind like we do have in our cars. All mechanical dipsticks have a marked area near the bottom of the shaft that is either two lines separated by an inch or so (like BMWs dipsticks are) or a hatch-marked area that is an inch or so long, which measures the level (amount) of the top most quart of oil in the engine. Think of it like this: if you have a marked measuring cup that holds 7 ounces and each line on the cup represents a full ounce, the dipstick only measures from the line at the top of the cup (i.e. the top of the 7th ounce in the cup) down to the next line (i.e. the top of the 6th ounce of liquid in the cup). So for example if the dipstick in the engine has oil on it 1/4 up from the bottom of the marked area, then the engine has 6 full quarts plus 1/4 quart left of the 7th quart of oil; meaning the engine has 6 and 1/4 quarts of oil in it. The bar graph in the gauge cluster is analogous to the marked area on a mechanical dipstick.

So in your case the engine has plenty of oil in it (6 and 1/4 quarts out of 7 total); you just need to get the oil changed because it is passed due. Don't add any oil, just go to an Independent BMW mechanic and have him change the oil for you.

Last edited by Efthreeoh; 07-31-2013 at 05:16 PM.
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      07-31-2013, 12:00 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepitClassy View Post
$220 for a Oil change. no thank you.
This is why some engines die young. This is why people have to be really careful when buying second hand. If you would rather save a few dollars over giving your engine the proper maintenance it needs, you will pay the price in multiples later. Changing and maintaining the right oil level are two of the most critical factors in engine health. It's cheap and simple. Why gamble?

BTW, assuming everything is OK until the oil pressure idiot light comes on is like saying a morbidly fat person is perfectly OK to pound Big Macs all day as long as you bring him in after the first major heart attack. Oil pressure idiot light = heart attack. Don't let it get to that!
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      07-31-2013, 04:29 PM   #33
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The oil warning light is not some magic number. When your car tells you to change the oil you should do it, but driving it over a little is not going to harm your engine. Its not like there is a sensor that is saying your oil has suddnely gone "bad".

I never wait for the oil change light myself, but I don't mind going 5000 miles between changes.

A few years ago people would jump your case for not changing your oil every 3000 miles now BMW recommends what, 12000 miles?


Get yourself a couple of low-profile ramps and a large oil drain pan and you can do it yourself.

I get mann filters from advance auto, and oil from wally world (Mobile 1 european).
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      07-31-2013, 05:04 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepitClassy View Post
$220 for a Oil change. no thank you.
wtf. oil change costs about $120 at the local dealer here and $100 at my trusted indy shop.

and even if it did cost $200, get the damn oil changed already. if a $200 oil change will break your wallet, get a cheaper car.
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      07-31-2013, 05:07 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecadman99 View Post
The oil warning light is not some magic number. When your car tells you to change the oil you should do it, but driving it over a little is not going to harm your engine. Its not like there is a sensor that is saying your oil has suddnely gone "bad". I never wait for the oil change light myself, but I don't mind going 5000 miles between changes.

A few years ago people would jump your case for not changing your oil every 3000 miles now BMW recommends what, 12000 miles?


Get yourself a couple of low-profile ramps and a large oil drain pan and you can do it yourself.

I get mann filters from advance auto, and oil from wally world (Mobile 1 european).
Actually there is an oil quality sensor that does determine when the oil has a contamination level that requires it be changed. It is built into the oil level sensor. BTW, BMW has had extended oil change intervals since the mid '80s.
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      07-31-2013, 05:11 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
Okay, new we are getting somewhere. The engine in your car hold 7 quarts of oil.

I'm assuming you don't know much about cars, so I'll try to explain the oil measuring system. All oil dipsticks read the same way, whether they are the traditional mechanical dipstick you pull out of the engine block (which we don't have in our car), or the electronic kind like we do have in our cars. All mechanical dipsticks have a marked area near the bottom of the shaft that is either two lines separated by an inch or so (like BMWs dipsticks are) or a hatch-marked area that is an inch or so long, which measures the level (amount) of the top most quart of oil in the engine. Think of it like this: if you have a marked measuring cup that holds 7 ounces and each line on the cup represents a full ounce, the dipstick only measures from the line at the top of the cup (i.e. the top of the 7th ounce in the cup) down to the next line (i.e. the top of the 6th ounce of liquid in the cup). So for example if the dipstick in the engine has oil on it 1/4 up from the bottom of the marked area, then the engine has 6 full quarts plus 1/4 quart left of the 7th quart of oil; meaning the engine has 6 and 1/4 quarts of oil in it. The bar graph in the gauge cluster is analogous to the marked area on a mechanical dipstick.

So in your case the engine has plenty of oil in it (6 and 1/4 quarts out of 7 total); you just need to get the oil changed because it is passed due. Don't add any oil, just go to an Independent BMW mechanic and have him change the oil for you.
This guy wins Best Answer Reward! thanks man!
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      07-31-2013, 07:35 PM   #37
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i say do engine oil asap
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      07-31-2013, 07:38 PM   #38
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Thanks guys, let's leave this thread up for people who also need to be educated on how the oil works. I think this thread turned out great. Thanks for the support.
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      07-31-2013, 07:51 PM   #39
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lol @ -300 psi oil pressure.
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      07-31-2013, 10:17 PM   #40
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      07-31-2013, 10:37 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepitClassy View Post
Thanks guys, let's leave this thread up for people who also need to be educated on how the oil works. I think this thread turned out great. Thanks for the support.
Most questions of this magnitude can be answered in the car's manual.

There really isn't anything cosmic about changing the oil or understanding when/how the oil needs to be changed.
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      07-31-2013, 10:42 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
Actually there is an oil quality sensor that does determine when the oil has a contamination level that requires it be changed. It is built into the oil level sensor. BTW, BMW has had extended oil change intervals since the mid '80s.
You are correct that it has a sensor, but I don't think the sensor measures contamination, or particles, but the conductivity (more for condensation) of the oil.

I don't know though, if there is a separate warning light for "oil change past due" vs "oil condition warning".
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      07-31-2013, 10:59 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecadman99 View Post
You are correct that it has a sensor, but I don't think the sensor measures contamination, or particles, but the conductivity (more for condensation) of the oil.

I don't know though, if there is a separate warning light for "oil change past due" vs "oil condition warning".
Our cars have so many sensors. I wonder if there's a sensor for checking if the girl in your passenger seat has any STDs or not. haha!
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      08-01-2013, 06:11 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecadman99 View Post
You are correct that it has a sensor, but I don't think the sensor measures contamination, or particles, but the conductivity (more for condensation) of the oil.

I don't know though, if there is a separate warning light for "oil change past due" vs "oil condition warning".
It measures contamination of the oil (i.e. its inability to resist the formation of sludge due to the depletion of oil conditioners that prevent sludge formation). Sludge formation is what damages an engine due to oil passages getting clogged up and casing oil starvation. The contamination of the oil is determined by its dielectric strength not its conductivity.

Last edited by Efthreeoh; 08-01-2013 at 06:24 AM.
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