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?
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.
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
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.
...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.
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
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.
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
R / John
...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.
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
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).
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