Preventative Maintenance Program? [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: Preventative Maintenance Program?

12-03-2004, 09:52 AM
I'm a new BMW owner as of this year and I just can't wipe the smile off my face. However, this means I have a lot of stupid questions to go along with my big smile.

Like this one; Does BMW have a preventative maintenance program? Meaning, should I be taking my car in for check-ups/service at regular intervals? Or do I just wait for the car to talk to me and tell me it needs service? For instance, my SUV is at the dealership every 5000 miles for regular service (oil, fluids, belt checks, etc.).

BMW's seem like they go forever between oil changes and I'm just wondering if there are other things I need to pay attention to so I can extend the life of my sweet ride.

Thanks in advance for your help.

12-03-2004, 01:37 PM

BMW's suggested service is based on the green service light indicators on the dash, but once the car is no longer within the new car Maintenance Program coverage, most enthusiasts will do it on a more regular basis. (The BMW Maintenance Program only covers the work when the car's lights indicate it's necessary, so you can imagine why the intervals are so long...)

Many do synthetic oil changes every 5000-7500 and Inspections at 30K intervals, alternating between the smaller (Inspection I) at 30K, then the larger (Inspection II) at 60K, etc. You can see what is on the Inspections here:
Inspection I and II lists (

And you will see alot can be done yourself. An independent shop that specializes in BMWs can also do the work, for generally a slightly lower cost.

If you are getting closer to 80-100K, other things may come up like the rear differential fluid and (if so equipped) the auto transmission fluid.

If you change oil yourself, it's pretty easy. Scroll halfway down this page for my oil change procedures ( for the 2003 540i/6.

12-03-2004, 02:38 PM
The lights depend on the amount of fuel you use. Gun it all the time so you get crappy gas mileage and you'll burn through the bars faster than someone babying their car all the time.

That said, I change my oil/filter at the BMW intervals AND at 2-3 green bars left. For me that is about 6-8k miles for changes.

12-03-2004, 09:27 PM
Thanks guys! I appreciate the detailed answers and links.

I've got about 60K miles on the car and when I bought it from the local BMW dealership I also purchased a 2 yr/24K mile extended warranty. I'm guessing the Inspection II is not a part of that extended warranty, right?

So instead of having this Inspection II done at the dealer you think it's okay to find an indie BMW shop and have them do it? Are there any tips or tricks to make sure I don't get "taken" with unneeded repairs/fixes?

Thanks again!

12-04-2004, 02:57 AM
Double check, but a warranty generally does not cover maintenance like an inspection.

You can take your car to an independent shop that specializes in BMWs. You can ask here or on the regional board for some ideas of good shops in your area, if you don't have one in mind. Keep all receipts in case you have a warranty issue and need to show you are taking care of the vehicle.

A good independent shop should know what is covered under your BMW extended warranty. Ask them specifically to do the work you want, and tell them to document any things that need attention that will likley be covered. Then tell them not to touch those items. If there is a fluid leak, for example, and they clean it up, you will need to wait for it to show signs of problems again before the dealer has to attend to it.

For best results, call for Inspection II prices from an independent shop or two, as well as the dealer. If the numbers don't come out close, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. My indie will do spark plugs at 60K miles but the dealer will not, unless you ask. So when the two had similar price quotes, it turned out the indie's included a bunch in parts that the dealer did not.

Also, look at the list and do some of those things yourself if you want to save some money. My key FOB takes a $3 battery but the dealer will charge two or three times that.

Hope this gives you some ideas. I am no expert, and my DIY skills are limited to oil changes and brake pads, but much of the Inspection list is pretty easy stuff.

12-04-2004, 11:16 AM
Good stuff, thanks a lot for your help.

12-05-2004, 06:36 PM
That's a nice looking ride in all white. :thumbup: Not a common color in my part of the world. It's difficult to find a car that is not silver with a black interior.