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      09-10-2011, 01:02 PM   #1
RxCritical
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2011 First oil change

I just completed my first oil change at just under 5000 miles. I bought 7 quarts of the BMW oil and a BMW oil filter at the dealer. I used my BMW car club discount and it cost me $58 + tax. I also bought a BMW oil filter wrench for $27 using the same discount. It was very straight forward if you have ever changed oil before. The oil drain plug is at the very back of the engine which helps draining if you use ramps like I did. It is under the only removable cover on the bottom engine cover. (takes 2 screws to remove). My recommendation is to not remove the oil filter or oil fill cap until you have drained some oil out first to keep the oil flow managable. 7 quarts comes out very quick otherwise. I measured the oil that came out just because I was curious and it came to 6 quarts and 28 ounces. I understand this is not indictative of the oil condition but the oil looked and smelled like the oil from my diesel jetta. I have never noticed that smell from a gas engine before. The BMW oil filter was well worth getting as it came with the gaskets for the filter and a crush gasket for the oil drain plug. The BMW oil filter wrench was perfect for the job of removing the oil filter cap as it fit perfectly and did not mar the surface of the cap at all. Remember to oil up the new gaskets prior to replacing them. Again if you have ever done any oil changes before this is nothing to be afraid of doing.
YMMV,
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      09-10-2011, 10:34 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing!
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      09-11-2011, 09:30 PM   #3
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Well you tacked me into doing mine. I just can't see waiting till I get 15,000 miles for the first change. I am at 3,600 right now and thinking of changing at 5,000 miles.
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      09-11-2011, 09:32 PM   #4
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Perfect timing thread.. BMW's oil change intervals are nuts long. What do you think is best?
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      09-11-2011, 09:38 PM   #5
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Interesting question, before BMW offered free maintenance they recommend every 3,000 miles now they it's comes out of there pocket it's every 15,000 miles! I am of old school and given the oil is synthetic I am thinking every 5,000 miles. But that just me.
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      09-11-2011, 10:11 PM   #6
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Is there a better oil than BMW, i would think they would be less quality to cut costs..

maybe Mobil1
Castrol sythetic
???????
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      09-11-2011, 11:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Powerrunner View Post
Interesting question, before BMW offered free maintenance they recommend every 3,000 miles now they it's comes out of there pocket it's every 15,000 miles! I am of old school and given the oil is synthetic I am thinking every 5,000 miles. But that just me.
You're right. I once saw a post by a former BMW mechanic who posted the maintenance schedule that was used prior to free maintenance. As soon as they started offering service for free the interval immediately doubled or became, 'lifetime'.

I've read somewhere else (don't recall where) that someone had the BMW oil tested professionally. It breaks down after 10,000 miles.

They recommended that if you plan on keeping the car more than 3 years, you should change the oil every 7,500 miles. I plan on following that recommendation. This kit is the best deal I've found so far. If anyone has seen a better deal let us know.

Same goes for all those "lifetime" fluids, like transfer case, transmission, brake, etc. I've been told if you will keep your car, have all those fluids changed at 50,000.

Last edited by Dukat; 09-11-2011 at 11:14 PM.
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      09-11-2011, 11:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XRP View Post
Is there a better oil than BMW, i would think they would be less quality to cut costs..

maybe Mobil1
Castrol sythetic
???????
They use Castrol..
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      09-11-2011, 11:55 PM   #9
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An old but interesting post about oil.
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      09-12-2011, 06:22 AM   #10
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I'm going to go with the BMW service intervals. I change oil in my '96 Porsche every 15,000 miles. I'm at 277,000 miles with no major engine work! Most of my miles however are on the highway.
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      09-12-2011, 09:22 AM   #11
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This is only about the 10,000th time I have seen this thread over the last 3 years. This starts about every 2 months for every vehicle BMW makes including Mini. Let me get to the end so I don't have to read this for the 10,001 time. Those that don't beleive in the Oil manufacturer of synthetic oil and the auto manufacturer will change their oil every 5,000 miles for a piece of mind. All the others will just follow the manufacturer and oil company standard. There is no proof that the more frequent oil change does anything other than make you feel good and costs more money. I actually got my oil changed early for my Mini Clubman S and the dealer basically told us we were idiots. Unless your going to put well over 100,000 miles on your X3 I wouldn't waste my money. The Porche standards are the same and I think they know a little bit about engines as well.
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      09-12-2011, 10:11 AM   #12
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It's surprising that as the "how often to change the oil" thread is re-started, ad infinitum, people seem to only concentrate on using mileage as a metric of when to change.

Usually (as in this particular thread) no mention is given to the BMW Condition Base Service (CBS) system (pp. 219 BMW NA Owner's Manual) that has been engineered into our X3's by the people who designed them.

Surely, anyone can understand that the useful life of a sump full of oil will depend on the use the vehicle gets. Unless you're willing to send samples of your oil to a well respected laboratory like Blackstone Labs, you really have no idea if you're changing way too soon (and wasting your money and valuable natural resources) or you're risking extra engine wear by driving with oil that's been degraded.

BMW (as well as other manufacturers) has addressed this by incorporated a system of sensors, timers and "special algorithms" to efficiently optimize the oil change intervals. Although the current BMW computational algorithm is not published, its characteristics have been pretty much derived by owners. Apparently it projects the “mileage to the next oil change” by starting with a maximum possible mileage interval and then subtracting “miles” using different weights for miles driven under different conditions. It also records the number of “cold” starts and “warm” starts and uses that data.

Miles driven when the engine oil is cold are given more weight (apparently up to 2.5X), mileage driven at high engine rpms are given more weight, and mileage added when the engine is cold and also revved (apparently above 4500 rpm) is given much more weight. The “weighted” miles are subtracted from the starting number and the result is the projected optimum change point.

On my X3 35i, we’ve been doing a lot of “short-hop” drives and only a few highway trips. Even though I always try to drive long enough to get the oil warmed up, that’s not always the case. Right now our X3 has about 5000 miles on the odometer and the CBS display (visible every time the car is started, or accessible via iDrive, indicates that the oil should be changed in another 2800 miles.

Considering the very high quality of the BMW spec oil and the way my vehicle has been driven, that change (at about 7500 miles) seems perfectly reasonable. However changing oil on a NASCAR racer that's driven 500 miles at 8000 rpm, or changing at 15,000 miles on a salesman's car that only accumulates highway miles in long steady cruises at 1800 rpm, and is only started once a day, also seems perfectly reasonable.

Just my 2-cents.
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      09-12-2011, 10:18 AM   #13
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I had no idea our oil change interval changed automatically per our usage. Very cool!

If the car indicates an oil change is needed sooner, will BMW do the oil change under the maintenance plan or will they still require you to wait until 15,000 miles?

If you do the oil change yourself, is there a way to reset the meter? My old car had a button combo to remove the 'maintenance required' message.

Lotus, as always you're a wealth of great info. Thanks!
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      09-12-2011, 10:34 AM   #14
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My loaner 35i that I had driven since it had 2 miles on it told me it would be due for service at 4,500 miles (after putting 2,000 miles on the vechicle). I do a lot of short trips and city driving. What's strange is I am driving my "for keeps" 35i no different than I did the loaner, yet this one is saying my next service won't be due for 13,000 miles and I have 2,000 miles on this one. I keep waiting for it to change but it hasn't.
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      09-12-2011, 10:38 AM   #15
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I drive a VW Caddy for business and when I picked it up in Jan 11, the dealer told me the service interval "special algorithm" has an additional factor to those described by Lotus; a contact switch on the bonnet (hood (imperial)) records how many times you open to inspect. Therefore, if you dont open the bonnet, the algorithm assmes you have not checked the fluid levels and will deduct an unknown number of miles before the next service indication is announced by the CBS indicator. The van is used for highway travel and is on target 'to max out' the longest service interval permitted at 30,000km. I pop the bonnet every couple of weeks but don't check the levels as often. I have seen the contact in the bonnect catch, I know the F25 has an electronic oil level gauge but does it have the bonnet catch contact as well?
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      09-12-2011, 10:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tank531 View Post
... I know the F25 has an electronic oil level gauge but does it have the bonnet catch contact as well?
The X3 does have a switch that trips if the hood (bonnet) is opened. It will flash a warning on the display screen if the hood is not completely closed, so it does know.
Have no idea if that is taken into consideration, but have not heard it mentioned in any of the threads that have attempted to "reverse engineer" the maintenance algorithm.
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      09-12-2011, 11:16 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Want the thrill View Post
My loaner 35i that I had driven since it had 2 miles on it told me it would be due for service at 4,500 miles (after putting 2,000 miles on the vechicle). I do a lot of short trips and city driving. What's strange is I am driving my "for keeps" 35i no different than I did the loaner, yet this one is saying my next service won't be due for 13,000 miles and I have 2,000 miles on this one. I keep waiting for it to change but it hasn't.
I remember my X3 seemed to follow the same pattern (i.e.: showing 13,000 remaining at 2,000 miles). I think it must also consider the absolute mileage. It probably projects the maximum possible mileage, assuming you're going to do all highway miles. One it determines you're going to continue with the "short-hops", the "miles remaining" will drop faster.

I also believe the algorithm is different for the 28i and 35i. The oil in the 35i is subjected to higher stresses because of being pushed through the [hot] turbocharger bearings, and the engine is also stressed more, plus there is typically more "blow-by" in a boosted engine leading to oil contamination.
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      09-12-2011, 11:54 AM   #18
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I think that the key to engine longevity is a proper break in period (as described in the manual) and then a proper warm up each time you start out cold. Until the engine warms up (about 1 mile or so of driving) I avoid heavy throttle inputs and keep the rpm's under 4000. As has been stated above, there is more wear on the engine when it is cold, so warming it up will minimize this.
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      09-12-2011, 05:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky13 View Post
This is only about the 10,000th time I have seen this thread over the last 3 years. This starts about every 2 months for every vehicle BMW makes including Mini. Let me get to the end so I don't have to read this for the 10,001 time. Those that don't beleive in the Oil manufacturer of synthetic oil and the auto manufacturer will change their oil every 5,000 miles for a piece of mind. All the others will just follow the manufacturer and oil company standard. There is no proof that the more frequent oil change does anything other than make you feel good and costs more money. I actually got my oil changed early for my Mini Clubman S and the dealer basically told us we were idiots. Unless your going to put well over 100,000 miles on your X3 I wouldn't waste my money. The Porche standards are the same and I think they know a little bit about engines as well.
Well I wasn't intending this thread morph into a "Oil Change Interval" thread.
I just wanted to throw a little info out there for those of us who did want to change it at some interval less than the 15K mine is currently indicating.
YMMV
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      09-13-2011, 12:43 AM   #20
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I'm thinking it's time to become "scientific" about BMW Oil changes. I propose that we (this Forum's members) "take the bull by the horns" (and I do mean “BULL”) and settle this once and for all.

All we need are a few volunteers (at least three or four in each group to insure statistically significant results).

Please sign up here noting which group you’d like to volunteer to join:

Group A: Members of this group will follow BMW’s Condition Base Service recommendations to the letter. BMW brand oil only and changes only when the digital display says to do so.

Group B: Change oil every 5000 miles no matter what type of driving you do.

Group C: Change oil every 1000 miles “just to be safe”

Group D: Never change the oil; just add when it gets low.

Group E: Change the oil at random intervals determined by an on-line random number generator to select the change interval, the brand of oil, and the viscosity rating.

Everyone must keep and drive their vehicle for 250,000 miles and then report back. 1/(1000/(cost of repairs)) = a figure of merit of how effective each strategy is.

Last edited by Lotus7; 09-13-2011 at 02:40 AM.
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      09-13-2011, 09:56 AM   #21
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I'll join group C just to keep busy on a Sunday and out the house
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      09-13-2011, 06:04 PM   #22
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How about Group F: I like Pie!
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