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3 Series Oil Consumption

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by sjz1983, Sep 10, 2010.

    sjz1983 guest

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    Is it normal for a BMW to use/consume oil? Newbie BMW owner.

    '06 330i w/sport, premium, cold weather packages, (N52 engine?)...bought the car CPO in April '10 and after roughly 6,000 miles I was a quart low, this was MAYBE 2 months ago that I got the warning light and roughly less then 2,000 miles later and the oil level is reading lower then when I topped it off (expecting the light to come on probably in 2 more months. Car is a daily driver, decent amount of stop and go traffic but nothing out of the norm for South Eastern PA.

    I also noticed the car has a noticeably rough idle to it, when the oil was topped off last, the rough idle went away.

    Any advice, tips, possible causes are greatly appreciated.

    sjz1983 guest

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    I was also told this was perfectly normal by the dealership
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    Pyewacket1

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    I can't say whether or not that is considered excessive oil consumption by BMW (I personally condsider it to be), but what is the total mileage on the car? You only told us how many miles you have added...

    The rough idle went away after adding oil because the hydraulic lifters were being starved for oil, which you resolved by topping off the oil level.

    If I were you, I would not wait for the low oil lite to come on, but would check the oil level frequently. Relying on an "idiot" lite may end up costing you an engine.... and several $$$$$.
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    CRKrieger

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    One quart between changes is not considered excessive.

    ForcedInduction guest

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    All engines consume some oil. For years a qt. in 2,000-3,000 miles was considered excellent. Now days with tighter engine clearances and better oils some folks go 5-7.5K without adding oil though the engine may in fact be a qt. low at the time they decide to change it.

    There are many factors that determine engine oil consumption including normal engine wear, oil viscosity, operating conditions, etc. As an example 2000 city miles is much more engine run time and open/closed throttle than 2000 hwy. miles. I'd expect more oil consumption from city miles than hwy. miles. In addition most engines develop small/slow gasket/seal leaks with age. Due to the many variables I would not consider 1 qt. in 2,000 miles to be unusual or excessive in my experience.
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    mtechnik

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    This is an interesting topic for me. I owned a 06 CPO 325i E90 that I bought with 32,000 miles and sold with 50k. My guess is the previous owner didn't do a break in or regular oil changes (per Mike Miller's maintenance guide). I did my oil changes every 7500 miles with Red Line, but it would still require occasional top offs between changes. I later sold the 06 325i and bought a new 08 328i E90. I did a break-in oil change at 1200 miles with Red Line 5W30, and one every 7500 (dealer does it free per maintenance plan every 15k, or one year). I now have 30,000 miles, and it hasn't needed a drop of oil since I bought it.

    My wife also has a 09 328i with 20,000 miles. I followed the same maintenance procedures, and it hasn't required a drop of extra oil between changes. Same story for one of my other friends 328i with N52 engine.

    My guess is how newer engines are broken in may have something to do with if they need oil top offs...Just my two cents.
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    Pyewacket1

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    I tend to agree with you. I religiously change the oil/filter in all my vehicles every 5K using synthetic oil, and NONE of them need additional oil between changes. However, 1 quart every 5K, IMO, would not be excessive. I also follow the manual's instructions on break-in procedures, keeping rpm's low, etc.

    The last vehicle I owned that used oil was a 2000 Chrysler Concorde, and the #6 cylinder was a real "oiler". It was that way from the get-go (purchased new), and Chrysler refused to replace the valve seals (the problem), even after it started fouling the spark plug at about 10K miles. Cheaper to replace a plug than oil seals, I guess...

    Because of that treatment, I no longer drive Chryslers, but the Blue Z4 Coupe in my "icon" picture to the left is what I got when I traded the Chrysler, so IMO, it all worked out in the end....

    sjz1983 guest

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    wehlitzj...I bought the car CPO in April this year with roughly 36,000 miles on it and as of today I have 45,000 miles on it.

    I plan on changing the oil every 7,500 miles instead of 15,000 miles or 1 time per year that the dealer said.

    sjz1983 guest

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    I've also been checking the level frequently (1-2 times per week maybe) which seems to be OK so far on level (still has a little bit of a rough idle though).

    Has anyone ever SeaFoamed a BMW before? I just did it to an 04 Silverado I own and that had significant improvements on idle and what not.
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    scottmac

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    I bought a Demo 2011 550i with 8K miles back in December.

    A week after I bought it, I got a "At your convenience, please add a liter" message (and I did).

    Just about a month later, I got the message again. When I took it to the dealer for a top-off, I was told (I believe it was a porter, not a mechanic) said that a liter every 1000 or so was normal. Since that top-off, I've been watching the vehicle info display ( "I ain't got no dipstick no mo'") and it still reads at "max" after 1500 miles.

    I could probably live with one liter per change or 5000 miles. However, one liter every 1000 miles, I believe I'd go for "this car is a lemon" and work to dispose of it ASAP if the dealer can't fix it.

    I have 20 year old lawnmowers that use less oil; I'd hope BMW can make a better, tighter engine than Briggs & Stratten.

    cwbiii guest

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    probably no top off since purchased

    I'd guess that the car just got over the 1 qt low mark with the first qt and then because of some consumption asked for the 2nd qt soon after... especially considering what you've seen since. Doesn't appear that dealer did a good job of taking care of its demo's though. Might be worth while doing an oil change just for safety's sake. It might just be still working with the break-in oil if they were so lax... and this would explain the high consumption rate as well.

    Chuck
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    Steven Otto

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    I had an E30 325 that I bought with 30K on the clock. I knew the original owner and he, like me, changed with synthetic every 5k. When I sold it with 250K on the clock, it did not require any top off in between all those 5K oil changes. I then had an E36 328 that I bought with 45K on it. It too had regular oil changes and when I sold it at 200+K, it never burned a drop between 5 k oil changes. I now have an E60 550. Bought it with 34K. Based on dealer service records, it had an oil change at 12K, another at 24k, then I changed it when I bought it at 34, then again at 40K, 45K, 50K, and I just changed it today at 55K. Like my past vehicles, it does not use any measureable amount of oil during that 5K interval (Thank God, my 550 has a dipstick).

    No one will ever convince me there isn't merit in changing oil more frequently, WAAAY more frequently than what the rubes who designed CBS would have us believe.

    I would be quite ****ed were the dealer to tell me it was acceptable for my 2011 car with 8K on the clock to burn a quart in 1000 miles. I also would not be trusting of the oil level sensor. Depending on your driving habits and any moisture at all in the oil and it could be lying to you.
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    GELSO

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    I changed the oil on my 2008 328XI last Sept. after the dealer told me BMW had changed their once-a-year oil change policy, unless the car accumulates fewer than 6,0000 miles since its last change. Since then I added about 3,000 miles. Last week the electronic gauge,which I check almost every time I drive the car showed a slight decrease from full. I added just a few ounces and the gauge now is up to max. I was surprised at how sensitive the electronic gauge is. I would not wait for "add a liter" message but watch the gauge.

    sjz1983 guest

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    Update: I changed the oil and filter around Oct/Nov 2010 have not had to add additional oil since and is still reading full. I used BMW full synthetic and filter from Bavarian Auto Sport (Bavauto). Ended up getting an extra quart and travel bag for the trunk and have not had to use it...go figure lol.

    The car has sat for a week at a time several times over the course of the PA winter while I drove my truck not sure if this has anything to do with less oil consumption since the oil change in Oct/Nov.

    unboringuy guest

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    My 2001 3 series used oil from day 1. I had the dealer run a compression test, and it continued to use oil. I complained, and they whipped out a technical bulletin from BMW saying that consumption of up to a quart every 750 miles is acceptable. Neither I nor my mechanic agree with that.
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    Pyewacket1

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    I wonder if that is some sort of industry "standard", as I had a 2000 Chrysler with oil useage issues, and was told the exact same thing.

    What they couldn't explain away, in my case, was why the #6 spark plug had to be changed every 10K miles due to oil fouling. Turned out to be leaking valve seals.

    cwbiii guest

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    I would say quite unacceptable and are they going to replace the cats for free when they fail before 100k miles? And where is it acceptable? In Germany? Certainly not in California... I'd have escalated that all the way up the chain asking for that opinion in writing so that I had a leg to stand on when the real problem emerged. Any dealer that would treat me like that would not see me or my money again. And I guarantee that their reputation would suffer as well at every opportunity.


    Chuck

    sjz1983 guest

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    @cwbii I agree with you...I will be taking my car back to the dealer for something I thought was wrong several months ago and complained about which has now gotten noticeably worse. I'm going to tell them I don't want the "industry standard answer" which was:

    Oh that's totally normal, it could be because of the engine type you have, they all run different"

    The issue was a rough idle and they said it's normal.

    west76 guest

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    no one has suggested german castrol synthetic? huh

    cwbiii guest

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    Generally isn't that what you get in an BMW (oem) container of oil?
    I've had very good luck with manufacturers oil... I use BMW brand fluids & filters in my BMW's, Kubota brand fluid & filters in my Kubota's, Caterpillar brand fluids & filters in my Cat, etc. I have used the highest quality oils and filters I can find in most of my equipment for the better part of my life, and never suffered an oil related failure save one that was my own technical fault ( didn't check a gasket for leaks before I took the car for a test drive...)... I'll only make that mistake once in my life.

    The OEM's of course have these oils packaged for them by a major supplier but specify them for their products... and can't point fingers anywhere but to their supplier if the product fails to perform as required.

    Its just extra insurance to use their products wherever reasonable. Cheeping out is not necessarily the best policy if you plan to keep things a long time.

    Chuck

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