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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 10-24-2009, 04:07 PM
ChocolateLab ChocolateLab is offline
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Opinion on used X3 oil light, please..

Hey guys, I'm on my third 3-series, but it's getting long in the tooth. So I found a good deal on a used X3. Wasn't sure how I'd like the X3, but it was still fun to drive and I think it would be a nice change and give me a little more room for when I might need to carry something.

Problem is, the oil light (yellow) came on when I was test-driving it, and this was in the first couple minutes of driving it. Granted, maybe they just didn't put enough oil in it, but this is a high-end luxury car dealership, so I can't imagine that would be the case. The salesman just said, "Oh, it's been sitting there so long, that's probably the reason. We'll just top it off." Well, I've had BMWs for the last 10 years and I've never had to add oil to one (other than when I changed it, of course).

The car didn't drive strangely and the engine seemed to run fine to me, so maybe it's nothing. But it's enough to make me suspicious.

Not sure what to do short of taking it to an independent mechanic for a check-up.

Anyone have any advice for me? Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2009, 04:32 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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No, never needed to add oil to my 2004 2.5i between changes.

For cars coming into a dealership's inventory, whether a BMW dealer or not, they seem to do an oil change right away - as a selling point, maybe.

Possibly a recent change was done and they didn't fill it enough - looking on the optimistic side.

Agreed, the salesman's explanation doesn't make any sense. Unless there is a big leak which oil flows out of even when cold.

Finding out who did the last oil change, and when, might be the best step.

(On a separate note, I'm alway surprised how dealers tend to have so little gas in their used cars.
Photo galleries of X3's often have a shot of the speedometer, to confirm the mileage, and there's the tank at way less than 1/8th. and the yellow light on.
The next test drive will be sucking up tank sediment on the way to fill up.)
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2009, 08:24 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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It is normal for modern BMWs to consume about 1 litre of oil every 2000km or so. I change my oil every 12,5tkm and it's not unusual for me to have to add maybe half a litre of oil perhaps once or twice in between changes.
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  #4  
Old 10-24-2009, 09:42 PM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChocolateLab View Post
and this was in the first couple minutes of driving it.
If it comes up AFTER you start driving, the oil sensor level is faulty. If it comes on after you TURN THE ENGINE OFF, then is low on oil.

If you follow the 15000 miles interval, some oil consumption is normal.
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  #5  
Old 10-24-2009, 10:56 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
It is normal for modern BMWs to consume about 1 litre of oil every 2000km or so.
You meant to say 1 litre of oil every 20,000km rather than every 2000km?
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  #6  
Old 10-25-2009, 07:18 AM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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I think that was he meant, a litre every 2000 kms sound like somthing is wrong.
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  #7  
Old 10-25-2009, 07:47 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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So what is that about a quart every 1800 miiles or so? Sounds like it is burning oil to me. I would not be happy with that oil consumption in any car.
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  #8  
Old 10-25-2009, 09:06 AM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Originally Posted by UncleJ View Post
So what is that about a quart every 1800 miiles or so?
No, that's about a quart every 1,200 miles.

So what AzNM meant to say was a quart every 12,000 miles - which would be an acceptable consumption, showing that the oil was doing its intended job.
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  #9  
Old 10-25-2009, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
You meant to say 1 litre of oil every 20,000km rather than every 2000km?
Mine's a tad thirstier than every 20tkm. I guess it really depends on driving habits. I haven't been driving as many kilometres in "mountain" conditions the last couple months. During the summer when I was running AC and going up mountain gradients more often, I really was consuming some oil, usually a litre or so per oil change (for example, I had to add half a litre every two months or so since I frequently check the dipstick).

There is some BMW guideline that is like one litre of consumption every few thousand kilometres is considered normal. Even my mom's 325i consumes some oil.
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  #10  
Old 10-26-2009, 09:36 AM
ChocolateLab ChocolateLab is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X3-terrestrial View Post
If it comes up AFTER you start driving, the oil sensor level is faulty. If it comes on after you TURN THE ENGINE OFF, then is low on oil.

If you follow the 15000 miles interval, some oil consumption is normal.
Thanks, guys... Is this really right? So you're supposed to only see that your oil is low after you turn the engine off and before you take the key out of the ignition? What if you're on a long highway trip and your oil starts running low for some reason?

Or maybe if there's a problem while running, the light is red instead of yellow? Maybe that's what it is.

The salesman said that they put more oil in it and the light went off... So would you still think the sensor was bad? (Of course, who knows how long he ran the car to see if the light came on... Probably not long at all.)

Thanks again.
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  #11  
Old 10-26-2009, 09:49 AM
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It can light up yellow while driving too. If it comes one shortly after strating the engine the oil sensor is defective. Page 90 on the manual.
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  #12  
Old 10-26-2009, 10:39 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Super thanks for the clarification. Never could figure all that metric stuff out right. Still in all a quart every 1200 miles seems excessive to me, even for an M3.
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  #13  
Old 10-26-2009, 10:41 AM
enamoured enamoured is offline
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FWIW, I had to add about 500 ml oil after 15000 km last couple of times. I change my car's oil every 18000 km.
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  #14  
Old 10-26-2009, 10:46 AM
ChocolateLab ChocolateLab is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X3-terrestrial View Post
It can light up yellow while driving too. If it comes one shortly after strating the engine the oil sensor is defective. Page 90 on the manual.
Thanks, I will try to download the manual somewhere. The light didn't turn on shortly after turning it on, though... It was after probably three or four minutes of driving.
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  #15  
Old 10-26-2009, 11:57 AM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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You just had to check the dipstick. If the oil was correct on the dipstick, simply means your sensor was bunk. Its about 5min of extra work to replace if you doing a normal oil change.
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  #16  
Old 10-26-2009, 01:01 PM
ChocolateLab ChocolateLab is offline
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Originally Posted by bluskye View Post
You just had to check the dipstick. If the oil was correct on the dipstick, simply means your sensor was bunk. Its about 5min of extra work to replace if you doing a normal oil change.
You're right, I wish I had done that, but I didn't... And the car is an hour and a half away from me so I can't just run over and do it now.

He said they put more oil in it and the light went off, so I assume the oil actually was low. And the oil was changed only a month ago and hasn't been driven much since. So that tells me that either it's leaking or it's burning oil... Unless they just didn't fill it with enough to start with. But he said it was done by a BMW house, so I find it hard to believe they wouldn't know how much to fill it with.

I probably repeated myself some there.

And the sensor is only five minutes to replace? Good to know. I've never heard had this issue on any of my cars.
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  #17  
Old 10-26-2009, 02:04 PM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChocolateLab View Post

And the sensor is only five minutes to replace? Good to know. I've never heard had this issue on any of my cars.
Yeah, it's right there to the side of the oil pan. I would say 15-20 mins after you drain the oil, since you have to remove the metal thrust plate to get access to the sensor. The actual sensor replacement is just as easy as take the old one out and put the new one in.
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