Dear BMW Experts,
I just purchased a 2003 530 and I absolutely love it. As noted by
others on this group, I'm not comfortable with changing the oil and
filter at 15,000 mile intervals and would like to reduce it to 7,500 by
changing the oil myself between visits to my BMW dealer (they want $100
to change the oil and they are not conveniently located).
How easy is it to do this? I used to change the oil on my previous car,
but I can't even locate the filter when I raise the hood on the e39.
Alternatively, is there anything wrong with buying some BMW filters and
Mobile 1 and having the work done at a local Jiffy Lube place?
Thanks in advance for your help,
The filter housing is located at the front top center of the engine, just
behind the radiator shroud. It has a black plastic cap with a 36mm
hexagonal fitting on it (requires a 36mm wrench or socket). The filter is a
replaceable unit within the housing. The filter kit comes with a new O-ring
for the filter housing cap (fits in a groove just above the threads.
There's also a replacement washer for the oil drain plug, located on the
engine sump passenger side (it faces to the fight looking forward). The
plug requires a 17mm socket or wrench.
It's a little awkward, but you can do this using ramps or jack stands to
raise the car. Much better if you have a lift. It's a 15 minute job.
Mobil 1 is fine and approved by BMW: 5W30 for the E-39. 0W40 is okay too.
OBTW, don't drain your transmission by mistake (sounds stupid, but if it can
be done wrong, someone will). The trans drain faces straight down.
R / John
Thanks for the information. I really appreciate the help.
Other than the dealer, is there a preferred place to buy the filter
kit? I understand that oil filters can differ in quality.
There are a number of on-line and mail-order companies that specialize in
BMW parts. Bimmer magazine has a great collection of advertisers and a good
place to start. Roundel is the BMWCCA magazine and truly outstanding
(membership $40/yr). Many dealers give a discount to BMWCCA members.
For a start http://www.bavauto.com /
OEM and Mann are both good filters.
R / John
There are a number of mfrs who make BMW filters: Mahle, Mann, Hensgt, Bosch,
Meyle and others. For my 1990 E34 535i, 5spd, 105K, my local auto part store
sells me Mahle OX41D oil filters and gasket/o-ring kit for $3 each when I
For parts, I've had mix success with bavauto. You may want to check out
www.alloembmwparts.com and www.bmaparts.com
Yes. The 0w/30 Mobil 1 is not actually approved for latest BMW engines. The
0w/40 is perfectly acceptable. This is not a result of the viscosity but
because the chemistry of Mobil1 at the 0w/40 viscosity happens to be
superior and it meets higher standards. Other brands may differ and indeed
So you're saying that you are comfortable with 15k mile oil changes?
I'm not, ...on *any* car that I own. The whole "extended" oil change
thing stems from manufacturers trying to reduce the mainetenance costs
for their new models. Yes, oil has come a long way, and yes, the
engineers have done a fine job in design, but 15k miles is just too long
in my books. 10k? Maybe if highway miles only, but 7,500 is a good
timing for mixed driving (city / highway).
Just out of curiosity, at what interval *do* you change your oil at?
So you just knew how to do it intuitively the first time, Jeff? A
beeter answer might have been:
"If you gotta ask ... get yourself a repair manual. Bentley's are
about the best."
Except that the Jiffy Lubes of the world are not likely to have either
Mobil1 0W40 or BMW brand synthetic (recommended oils) or the proper
filters for BMWs. Personally I would do the oil changes myself and
forgo the quick-lube places as they have been known to do some really
stupid things on occasion. Like overtightening the drain plugs and
stripping them out or leaving them loose. It's definitely worse on your
engine running with no oil (after it spills out on the road) than
running too long on old oil... ;-)
I drive a fleet of older cars and trucks, and I change the oil at 5000 mile
intervals. If (and, that's a huge IF) I bought a new car that could keep
track of such things, I'd not hesitate to change the oil at the suggested
intervals given by the engineers. The Company is required to provide
warranty services that result from not keeping up with the intevals, so I
suspect they short the actual intervals by as much as 20% to protect their
interest ( they don't want to perform warranty service, so they stretch the
intervals in the hopes that you come in "on time" which is really "early).
I like to think that BMW knows how long the oil works inside their engines.
If you used the recommended synthetic oil there is no advantage in
changing the oil and filter before the service indicator says it's due.
Modern engines running synthetic lubes do *not* require the frequent
changes of yesteryear. Trust the technology, it works.
The service indicator has a pretty good handle on the badness being bone
to your oil. It logs, at least, cold starts and fuel burned and will
suggest an oil change after very different mileages if you do long
cruises, mountain blats or short shopping trips... In every case the
oil will still be in spec with most but not all of its additive pack
If you do a very low mileage you might want to change the oil with the
other fluids every other year or annually if its all short trips.
It seems that changing transmission fluid more often than BMW's schedule
is wise for a keeper but the SI is your friend for other service tasks.
OK, I don't get it... Why do you *not* trust BMW engineers to tell you
when to change the transmission and diff oils (never), but trust them
completely when it comes to the engine oil? Is it the wizz-bang
electronic timer that gives you such trust?
I've got a secret to share with you: It's in the best interest of BMW
to have your engine wear out earlier. I'm not talking prematurely, that
won't happen from extending your oil changes. But instead of running,
say 300k miles, you might only get 250k. That would please BMW greatly
since they would get to sell you (or someone) a car 50k miles sooner.
Would that extra 50k miles be worth the cost of more frequent oil
changes to you?
BTW, I personally don't think that Royal Purple is all that great. I've
read some negative things about viscosity breakdown in testing and that
should never be an issue wity full synthetic oils. Redline is good
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