How often should you change your oil? When is it really necessary? Well BMW has, since the ‘80’s, provided their drivers with an “Oil” and a “Service” indicator. The “Oil” part is pretty self-explanatory, and the “Service” part generally includes an oil change, so anytime that indicator is on, the “system” thinks you need an oil change.
These indicators look at other factors aside from just mileage. The earlier units looked at gallons of fuel used over time as another way to gauge how the car was being used and, therefore, estimate mileage. More sophisticated, modern systems look at things like Idle Time and how hard the vehicle has been driven to determine the interval. Factory intervals may be as much as 15k miles.
With modern, synthetic oils, the oil remains stable for much longer than most people think. 15-20k down the road, most modern synthetics will still test well in the lab. Where we have seen issues is in the filtration. Even the factory filters typically look pretty bad at 7-8k, and by 15k they are scary looking. With recent warranties, you’ll get your 100k miles out of a BMW, even with the extended intervals. The problem starts when the second owner (maybe you) gets the car with the sludge buildup already in place. Couple that with any service that may have been done somewhere other than a dealer or a quality garage like EDGE Motorworks, and you may have a recipe for disaster.
EDGE recommends that you change your oil every 7500 miles or so. This effectively splits the indicator interval in half for most drivers. We have found that this method keeps the valvetrain and oil pan/baffles clear of the nasty buildup you see in the pics. So, if you value your investment, when you see the indicator reach the halfway mark, make an appointment for an oil change. Five years down the road, you’ll be glad you did!
Filed under: BMW Oil Change, Mini Cooper Oil Change, Oil Change Interval, How many miles between oil changes?