Synthetic Oil

Page 1 of 3  
Hi guys,
Earlier this year I bought a brand new 550i. I know, I know.... spoiled brat. My last car was 1993 MB 400e and I bought it a year old with 12k miles on it and changed the oil every 3k without fail. It was
the best car I ever owned and still ran great when I sold it with 200k miles on it. I'm still kicking myself for getting rid of it. But I digress.
The new car uses synthetic oil like many cars these days. It's the first car I have had that takes synthetic lube oil and BMW is telling me I don't need to change the oil until it hits 11,000 miles (or something like that). This just seems wrong. I know this new synthetic stuff is supposed to pretty slick stuff (no pun intended) but it makes you wonder so I asked my old MB mechanic what he thought about it.
Now, this guy is a Master Technician for MB who has been on his own for 15+ years and seems to know his stuff. He says that BMW is leading you down a primrose path. Since routine maintenance in included, they have a say in how often you change your oil. My old mechanic advised me to pay for additional oil changes (at $105 a pop) at least once between every BMW scheduled oil change. While the new synthetic stuff is pretty amazing, he says that while getting double the regular duty cycle of conventional oil is reasonable, pushing it from 3k miles between changes to 10k+ miles is just asking for trouble. He thinks it's a plot by BMW to make you trade in the car for a new one once the included maintenance is done.
Any opinions on this topic?
Thanks,
Jake
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

changes might be reasonable with today's synthetic oils. However, if you drive stop and go in the city, then I would change it more frequently like every 6-7K miles. If its mix, then every 7-10K is right depending on how much stop and go you're doing.
Don't forget the oil filter too!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Why bother asking? You obviously didn't believe the maker's oil change intervals with your old car if you changed every 3000 so what's changed?
--
*When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Are you sure it is a BMW - mine has a little light that comes on when it is time to change the oil.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Nov 8, 12:30 am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

A good topic. BMW has a light that goes on, IIRC.
3k mile oil changes are pretty frequent. My car (non performance) says 7,500 or 6 months.
If BMW has a way of testing contaminants and remaining protectants, then I could see it being OK to change when they tell you to. I could see synthetic lasting twice as long as regular oil.
What happens if the oil sensor breaks though?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

On the older BMWs, they went on after a fixed number of miles. On the newer ones, it's a derived value based upon the engine logs.

I always follow the "extreme conditions" section in the manual. Apparently driving 40,000 miles a year, even on the highway, is considered an extreme condition.

They don't, but they do have a pretty good way of predicting it under ideal circumstances.

That's why you have a dipstick and an odometer... oh yeah, I forgot not everybody has a dipstick now. I find that shameful... --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My first BMW was an E28 - and that didn't work on a fixed mileage. Indeed reading about them when they were first fitted I remember they computed a number of factors.

I think it's universally acknowledged that the type of use or driving a car gets effects the useful life of the oil.
--
*Even a blind pig stumbles across an acorn now and again *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Nov 8, 12:30 am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I've used synthetic oil in a number of cars with excellent results. However, I have to agree with your mechanic, in general. I think synthetic oil (with a premium oil filter) is easily good for 7500 miles or one year so long as you are fully warming up the car (20 minutes or so) each time you use it. If you use the car for short trips water can accumulate inside the engine and more frequent oil changes should be performed. You can buy Mobil 1 synthetic for your car at WalMart; under $30 for a 5 quart jug (BMW Longlife 01 spec., 0W-40) YMMV
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Goof grief. I have a 20 odd year old car that specified 10,000 (or once a year) oil changes using dino oil and a standard filter. It's still running well despite leading a hard life with lots of town use. As well as spirited driving on the open road. What is it with you guys and changing oil so often? Is the quality of your oils so poor?
--
*He who dies with the most toys is, nonetheless, dead.

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 08 Nov 2007 14:18:32 +0000 (GMT), "Dave Plowman (News)"

I don't worry about the mileage. I just change the oil and filter before each track day.
-- Larry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It is interesting that as soon as BMW started offering free maintenance for the first four years, the maintenance schedules changed to remove a LOT of service that used to be considered necessary.
Change your oil every 3,000 miles. I don't care HOW long the synthetic can last under ideal conditions, I'd rather err by changing it out too early than too late. New transmission and differential fluid every 50,000 miles. Brake fluid every two years, maybe every year. I tend to do power steering and coolant at the same time as the brake fluid.
I'm currently driving cars with 350,000 and 260,000 miles on them, and my last car had 480,000 miles on the odometer when I finally got tired of rebuilding the transmission all the time. I don't like buying new cars. So I may be more paranoid about maintenance than other folks. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

May have been the case in the US, but here in the UK 'free' maintenance is much more recent.
Longer oil change intervals happen as oil is improved. The biggy happened with the specifying of fully synthetic. If you have evidence BMW increased service intervals without changing the oil spec I'd like to see it.
--
*Caution: I drive like you do.

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Do an oil analysis after say 5k miles. That will tell you whether the oil is suitable for further use. Of course the lack of oil dip stick will make it hard to draw a sample without actually draining the oil, but still... at least you'll know if it's safe to go longer on the next interval.
Generally, I agree with others though - if you do mainly hwy driving, then 10k miles may be OK. If it's mostly city, stop-and-go traffic, then less.
It also depends on how long you're planning to keep this car. If you're going to trade it in once the warranty period is over, then obviously you can just follow the oil change light on your dashboard and not worry about more frequent changes. But the fact that you're even asking this question in the first place leads me to believe you're planning to keep this car running for a long time. And in that case, considering the price of the car, is the extra cost of in-between oil changes really that much?
Pete
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My last BMW was an E34 525 - the first 24 valve without VANOS. And as you probably know had to be revved hard to get any real performance. Which I did. It was serviced purely when the indicator said so, using only factory approved oil, and when I traded it in at 140,000 miles, the engine was if anything better than new. Pity about the rest of the car. ;-)
--
*Be more or less specific *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Dave Plowman (News)" wrote

So, on average, how many miles between changes?

What kind of oil was it?

Right. And the car instead of consuming fuel actually started producing it.
Pete
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Roughly 8-10,000 miles.

Duckhams Hypergrade.

;-) It was as quiet as new, used no oil and slightly more powerful. Subjectively. I didn't actually make any measurements.
--
*I brake for no apparent reason.

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I don't know if it's being an old git but I really don't like these extended service intervals
I read somewhere its to keep the bean counters in countries where the majority of buyers are companies and don't care about the long term effect. pennies per mile over 60/80k miles or 4 years
I'd personally get the 1st service out of the way (going by the computer/service indicator) and then maybe an independent oil change in between services without touching th/reseting the service indicator?
I'd also get the sealed for life autobox 's fluid changed as well :) - the box going is usually what kills the older 3 series i know
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Easily checked by having a sample of your oil analysed near the factory indicated oil change time. Many have and report it's always ok and fit for more miles. Unless you think the labs are in on this conspiracy...
--
*The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

As the engine wears the friction losses reduce and performance actually increases until leakage past the rings and valves becomes predominant.
Indeed there was a famous 70' or 80's Ford? rally engine which had had a crankcase repair (and so was called "patch"), which for some reason won races*.
* this might have been the April edition of the car magazine I read it in, for instance the thrown rod had come out through the engine number...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

As you can see, oil change threads bring out everyone's "expert" opinion. Fact: BMW doesn't recommend 11,000 mile oil changes, instead the dashboard miles 'til service readout will call for service roughly every 13,000 to 18,000 miles, depending on how you drive - or you should change oil at 1 year, whichever comes first. And if you are in the US, BMW will pay for it.
Personally, I also prefer more frequent changes (but not every 3k!), so I have what BMW terms an "Interim" change once in between each scheduled service. If you decide to go that route and have a dealer do it, be sure and request an "Interim Oil/Filter Change" (roughly $100) rather than an "Oil Service" for $250.
Tom K.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.