Add oil [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: Add oil

02-06-2012, 09:14 AM
6k miles on my 550ixGT and computer says to add a quart of oil. Is the addition on me or does the service take care of it? What oil is everyone using?

02-06-2012, 12:07 PM
Not sure if they'll pay for oil between changes...

They really prefer that you use the Castrol, but in a pinch, there are other oils that can work. From the official website:
BMW Long-life rating LL-01 Approved Synthetic Oils for the US Market:

Castrol Syntec European Formula SAE 0W-30

Mobil 1 SAE 0W-40

Pennzoil Platinum European Formula Ultra SAE 5W-30

Valvoline SynPower SAE 5W-30

Luckily, I've not needed to add any yet...this seems to be more a V8 thing verses the I6.

02-06-2012, 12:27 PM
I was passing by my service center and decided to stop in. They added the oil instantly, no wait, no charge. Very impressive.

02-06-2012, 07:13 PM
Nice to see that level of service. After all, we paid some serious dough for the car.

02-06-2012, 08:55 PM
I intend to do an early oil change to my 535 to be safe. I have a conservative philosophy - the BMW interval is too long, synthetic oil notwithstanding....

The independent BMW specialist shops around here recommend half the interval. Of course that may be self serving to a degree...

I thought I heard that some dealers will do such a breakin change as an accommodation.

Any thoughts out there about the interval - or about a complementary first oil change?

02-06-2012, 09:24 PM
I believe that if you intend to keep the car for a longer period, as I am, it is a good idea to do it every 7.5K. That's what I've been doing with my 95K E60, and had no problems on that end so far. Worst case scenario, you are out some oil change money, but you gain some peace of mind (even though according to BMW you may be overdoing it it). You're definitely not gonna hurt the car, just doing some extra pampering.

02-07-2012, 03:14 PM
On my last car, I did some periodic oil anaylsis. This was on an Infiniti M35x. That engine/transmission ran on average twice as fast as the BMW does with its higher torque and better transmission. I determined that with Mobil 1 anyways, I could easily triple their recommended oil change interval (which was a paltry 3750miles) to 10-12K and still have the buffers and antiwear addatives within the safe zone. the big thing to watch is the TBN (total base number) - this must remain above zero, or the oil will start to eat up the engine since it has become acidic. Watching it go down as the test samples are taken is a very good indicator of when the oil needs to be changed. On that same vehicle after 11-12K miles, the TBN would typically drop to a value of 2, still okay, but getting low. You could also see the wear inhibitors getting used up, but they were still plenty concentrated enough to continue to work. The amount of wear metals never peaked. On one of the later tests, it did show the vehicle was leaking coolant into the oil long before there were any deleterious effects, so it saved a potential engine rebuild because it was fixed quickly. So, even just for general info, it's not a bad idea to do this, at least occasionally. I'll probably do it on mine after the warranty runs out - it's kind of a pain taking a sample except when changing the oil. There are pumps that would work through the dip stick, but the BMW doesn't have one!

The Castrol BMW uses has a higher load of addatives, the sump is larger by a couple of quarts, and the engine rpm is a LOT lower on cruise (1200 rpm verses 3000 at the same road speed), so I don't have any qualms about the extended change intervals. If you do lots of stop and go, or short trips, the computer adjusts to tell you when you need to drain it. They call for an oil change at 1-year intervals if you don't reach the calculated interval, and for many people, that's MUCH lower than the computer would have you do it.

02-07-2012, 06:37 PM
good points, jad
I had not made the correlation with the surprising low rpms of my I6 engine and the work the engine oil must perform. I guess I was still in the V8 mode of my 4.4X5 where I was very uncomfortable with the oil change interval. Plus, as it was a 2001, the computer was probably not as sophisticated to schedule out the maintenance.
I think I will do the first one early due to breakin concerns, the scheduled at approx 15000 and I might do a spectrochemical analysis later at about 22500 to see how it is doing...
I used to do spectro on oil in the very old days as my company did it on the fleet...and I just piggybacked my car into the system.

02-23-2012, 04:24 PM
I was told todays' engines tend to burn oil faster due to the FSI. any truth to that?

03-16-2012, 07:31 PM
I had BMW change my oil at 7500 mi on my 2008 535xi Wagon. They charged me, but it gave me peace-of-mind.

I was surprised to have to add oil occasionally, but the service folks told me it's normal.

03-16-2012, 07:54 PM
Humm, guess I've been lucky...over 10K on mine, and it still reads full. I hit 12-months in April, and will have it serviced then. I've heard more stories of the V8 using more oil, but the I6, not so much.

03-17-2012, 09:41 AM
Just 1300 miles so far on the 535i GT, computer says its still full.