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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I got my 2001 530i about 6 weeks ago, 131,000 miles. Immediately I checked the oil and thought it was full, because it covered the arrow tip of the dipstick (#1 in the pic), and the previous owner had a receipt from an oil change a month before. It was only last week when I was reading through the owner's manual that I saw the dipstick diagram, and discovered that the oil was actually verging on critically low, and the "full" line was actually much higher (#2 in pic).

So I went to the dealership and bought a couple quarts. Added one immediately, measured, was satisfied. It was about midway between low and full. I checked it a couple more times over the following days to be sure I was getting an accurate reading.

Since there was still a good bit of room on the dipstick before "full" was reached, I added about 1/3rd quart more to top it off, measured and it was slightly below "full", so I was satisfied.

Now here's where it gets weird. Today after driving for about 15-20 minutes, after it sat for about 10 mins I checked again – but this time, the oil was ABOVE the "full" line. Like WAY above, #3 in pic, so now I'm like crap, I way over-filled it.

The owner's manual says DO NOT add too much oil as this "will damage the engine".

So I'm wondering how bad too much oil is, and if I should drain some out immediately?
I drove around town probably about 20 miles (checked again after to be sure, same result).

It seems that it was good until I added the extra 1/3rd quart to top it off, but that made a big difference on the dipstick. What should I do, anything? The oil level (before I did anything) had remained consistent for the last month, so it doesn't appear to burn much if any oil, like I've heard older BMWs can do. So I don't expect it to go down any on its own. Advice?

👉UPDATE: Ok I'm super happy that it was a false alarm, phew. I Googled it, and it turns out there's an explanation for why the dipstick showed it was over full. From Overfilling Engine Oil: Will it damage my Engine & What to do? :
"If you noticed that your engine oil is above the max-sign on the dipstick even if you are sure that you did not overfill the engine oil, there is one big reason for this.
If you are only driving short distances, the fuel in the combustion chamber will slowly fill up the engine oil pan with fuel and therefore increase the oil level.
When you drive long distances and the engine becomes hot, this fuel will evaporate out from the engine oil. This can be solved by taking your car out for a long drive." :LOL: :LOL::LOL:

1030500

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If your m54 likes to blow out oil, I wouldn't worry about it. Run it. It'll be on the add mark in no time

Sent from my ONEPLUS A6000 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, that much over is no big deal. Your fine.
It turns out I didn't over fill after all. Apparently this can happen when you drive a short distance, something to do with the chamber filing up with gasoline and pushing the oil level up temporarily, as I read in an article (link is in update if interested). I just rechecked the oil level, and it's perfectly normal, between the high & low marks.
 

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Maybe you were already doing these, but: Two other things to make sure you are checking oil correctly: 1) Park on level surface; 2) Wipe the dipstick off and re-insert it, as the initial pull may be inaccurate.
 

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gasoline and oil dont (or shouldnt) mix in the oil pan. either the link you read is hokey, or it was misinterpreted. if you didnt pull the dipstick and wipe it before checking the oil level, you could just be seeing splash on the stick. when checking the oil level, shut off the engine, wait 5 minutes, pull the stick, wipe it, then re insert, pull and read the level.
if you ever do overfill unintentionally by the small amount that you read, it wont cause a problem.
just read your link...what it said there is pure bull-loney.....theres not that much gasoline left in the combustion chamber after shutting the engine off. well, there shouldnt ever be, if there is, thats a problem in itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Maybe you were already doing these, but: Two other things to make sure you are checking oil correctly: 1) Park on level surface; 2) Wipe the dipstick off and re-insert it, as the initial pull may be inaccurate.
gasoline and oil dont (or shouldnt) mix in the oil pan. either the link you read is hokey, or it was misinterpreted. if you didnt pull the dipstick and wipe it before checking the oil level, you could just be seeing splash on the stick. when checking the oil level, shut off the engine, wait 5 minutes, pull the stick, wipe it, then re insert, pull and read the level.
if you ever do overfill unintentionally by the small amount that you read, it wont cause a problem.
just read your link...what it said there is pure bull-loney.....theres not that much gasoline left in the combustion chamber after shutting the engine off. well, there shouldnt ever be, if there is, thats a problem in itself.
I figured the article was worded weirdly when it suggested that the gas & oil mix, but otherwise it checked out with what happened. After driving a short distance, the oil appeared to be over full. Then after being parked for a while (after having been driven for a longer period), it was back to where it had been all along, between low & full.
 

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Constantly Learning
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when checking the oil level, shut off the engine, wait 5 minutes, pull the stick, wipe it, then re insert, pull and read the level.
This, after driving long enough to get engine oil fully warmed.
 

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Some BASIC rules when checking for oil level:

- Car off for at least 2 minutes, best is at gas station when you fill up with gasoline.

- As flat as you can, again best is inside your garage, although most home garage floors are a bit inclined to drain water (building codes). A tiny slope is fine. However, the M52 and M54 dipstick is at the REAR side of the oil pan, so a "mid-way" (between min and max) on a perfectly flat surface maybe "close to full" inside your garage.

- Another basic rule is: put the car in neutral, as long as the car does not roll, it is good enough as far as a flat surface goes.

- I have overfilled up to 1 cm above max w/o issues. But no more than 1 cm above max.
 

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2001 BMW E39 540i Automatic Sedan, 195 K miles
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I'd check the oil level when the engine is stone-cold in the morning, car level parked on a flat surface.
 
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