DIY oil changes

Are they easy to do on BMWs?
Is the oil drain plug easy enough to get to or do you have to "jack the car up"? On my car (non BMW) there is about 6-8 inches between
the plug and the ground which is enough space to stick an arm in there and undo the plug.
How many quarts does a 3 series take?
Also is it true there is no dip-stick on newer BMWs? I wonder why they would skip that.
Is there any difficulty in doing your own work, tools needed, etc?
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If it is hard to pull your floor jack out of the corner, the oil change is far too much for you.

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I change my own oil now, done it dozens of times.
But for some reason the BMW stuff I read makes it sound harder....why would you NEED a floor jack, is the car that low to the ground? Taking away the dipstick is a sign that they want you to do everything through the dealer, I would think.
I don't actually have one, I have kind of a mini one that comes with the car I have...haven't had to use it though.
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Yes. And the plug is blocked on the sides by the tires, and is far from the front. I can't reach my drain plug while the car is on the ground, and I can't fit the catch bucket under the car and operate the wrench at the same time.

OR, it's a sign that the engineers think they have devised a system that can accurately detect that the car is low on oil, and turn on a warning light to alert you of the fact.
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Jeff Strickland wrote:

...but that doesn't explain why the removed the dipstick. They could have has (God forbid) redundant systems!!!
The sensor is superior to the dipstick because it will passively warn you of a low oil condition (ie without the driver having taken any action). How many people do you know that drive modern cars and actually check their oil dipstick on a regular basis.
Simple answer: They removed the dipstick to save manufacturing costs once they devised the sensors.
--
-Fred W

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Unfortunately, the sensors do not alert an overfill condition, as a dip stick does.
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Why would it be over filled - assuming DIY servicing and topping up? If you're the type who gets a garage to top up the oil would you ever use a dipstick anyway?
--
*I went to school to become a wit, only got halfway through.

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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wrote:

I suspect the system suggests you add oil when it determines you're a quart low. Of course, if the system develops an error, it may do it at 1/2 quart low or ??? I like to keep the oil level near full service (hot climate, a little more oil = a little more cooling) and will often add 1/4 quart to keep it there. Not much chance with the new system.
R / John
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BMW are already pretty generous with their oil capacity compared to others.
--
*Virtual reality is its own reward*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On Sat, 22 Sep 2007 18:48:03 +0100, "Dave Plowman (News)"

That's not the point.
The point is that the sensor-based method of determining oil level does not provide all of the information that a dip stick does.
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It tells you if the oil is low - which a dipstick doesn't, unless you use it. Which 95% of drivers probably don't.
--
*Don't squat with your spurs on *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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wrote:

And as us olden die off the new drivers coming along will have no idea of what to look for on a dip-stick like metal particles, water contamination, colour etc so what's the point of having one. I bet 90% of new car BMW drivers have no idea how to open the hood/bonnet or what the engine actually might look like when all the plastic is removed.
--

Sir Hugh of Bognor

The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.
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On Sun, 23 Sep 2007 22:20:38 +0100, snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk wrote:

Kind of like how the ignition advance/retard dial on the steering wheel went away? Damn! I miss being able to set the spark timing just the way I wanted it.
--
Dan.

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On Sun, 23 Sep 2007 19:45:10 +0100, "Dave Plowman (News)"

Nice dodge. :)
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Jeff Strickland wrote:

Floor jack? Floor jack? We don't need no steenkin floor jack. That's what they make curbs for...
--
-Fred W

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Assuming an E46, the oil drain plug is on the passenger side of the pan facing outward. Takes a 17mm socket. Capacity is 6.9 Quarts US (7 won't hurt). The filter is in the housing on the front of the engine with the 36mm hex head. I have a 36mm socket, but you can use a strap wrench around the filter housing cap. The plug takes a new copper washer and the oil filter housing takes a new O-ring, both supplied in the OEM filter kit.
The DIY is simple, but reaching under the car without jacking it up a bit is an example of gluttony for punishment.
There is no dipstick on the newer engines. They have an electrical oil level sensor. The sensor turns on an "add oil" mesage on the instrument cluster, presumably when a quart low.
As there was already an oil level sensor in the engines, I assume BMW thought it might save a couple bucks to eliminate the dip stick. They also have been pursuing a path of reduced owner involvement in vehicle maintenance over the past few years. Those of us who actually check fluid levels and periodically even drain and refill them are not the market BMW seeks today.
R / John
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Not on mine it isn't ;-)

...or after a while whenever it likes. My E38 came with 2 quarts extra oil because the PO was getting false low oil warnings.
As for the engine cover underneath, you only have to remove it if it hasn't fallen off already.
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wrote:

On my '02 E46 coupe, I thought the cover had fallen off. Went to the dealer, was told there never was a cover. It just looks like there was a cover. Hmmm.
Joe
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Depends. Some have canister filters, which make things a little harder But none of the more recent (post 1970) ones require regular chassis lube.

Maybe, although on some it is easier to get to the filter from underneath.

Which one?

Because there is an electronic level control system, and BMW is currently going berserk over fancy electronic systems that take twice the number of components to do things the old mechanical ones did.

Not really. I mean, for the most part these are cars that are designed for easy maintenance. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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None of the others have mentioned that you *first* have to remove the bottom front engine cover - which is 3' wide by about that long, stretching from behind the bumper to the cross-member/steering rack - before you can get to the drain plug. It's very hard to do all that without jacking it up.

None of them have mentioned that the AWD xi models take 8 quarts rather than 7.
And we haven't even gotten into the subject about what oil to use (synthetic).
FloydR
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