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POLL: The Price of Oil Changes

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by GSMetal, Apr 26, 2010.

    BMWtoyz guest

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    " BMW does not recommend synthetics in older vehicles"

    What, who said that? If the car has been running synthetics since new (my 91 318is came from BMW with synthetics in it) why would you change later when it was older? When I purchased my used 91 750iL it had 89k on it and I had no idea what oil they had been using, however I used Mobil 1 like I use in all my cars and never had any leaks.
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    bcweir

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    I run Mobil synthetic in my 1988 750iL. I have no oil problems in my car

    Whoever told you that BMW doesn't recommend synthetics in older vehicles is trying to sell you swampland in Arizona (ie. a lie designed to manipulate a purchase decision rather than on facts).

    As long as the oil meets BMW standards and specifications, the oil is fine. I've been running Mobil synthetic in my car since January 2006. No problems at all. Furthermore, I have 223,000 miles on my car, which is 10,000 more than when I bought it. That's nearly THREE oil change intervals with no problems.

    Try to convince me there's a problem where there is none. What problem should I be experiencing that I'm not?

    railroader guest

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    One of the diesel guys chiming in...our specified oil is slightly different than the specc'ed oil for the gasoline engines. It's supposed to be Castrol "CF" rated, and my Center wants over $12 for a quart of the stuff! So even an afternoon of a DIY oil change- kinda spendy. What's the 335d hold?-- I'm not even sure of the capacity yet. On my upcoming X-country trip, I may let a local BMW Center do an in-route change; probably somewhere around Peoria, IL where I think I'll be...then I'll be good for the ride back to So Calif.:) Eventually as my car ages, I will definitely take over the OC duties. After my much-vaunted FREE SERVICE period expires. And no way will I ever let that car go 15K 'tween changes!:D 7500 max, or every year.
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    bcweir

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    Mike Miller stated in a recent issue that 7,500 miles is way too long an OCI

    3 OCI's @ 7500 miles = 22,500 vs. 3 OCI's @ 5,000 miles = 15,000 miles.

    Difference of 7, 500 miles. That's more than one extra OCI, halfway to two more.

    Perhaps you missed seeing this. Scroll down to the third picture in the link below and tell me if you still think 7,500 miles between oil changes is "good enough."

    http://bmwcca.org/forum/showthread.php?t=7314&highlight=notthestig
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    az3579

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    Brian,
    The third picture in that thread is a picture of a car that didn't have an oil change for 60,000 miles. OCI's at 7500 will not have the same results, and should be fine.
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    Zeichen311

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    Yes, and the first two pictures are of a highway-driven engine that did have changes every 7500 miles. Not only is it no danger of destroying itself because the oil was changed 28 times instead of 42, it looks almost new.

    The 5000-mile recommendation is conservative and based on average- to severe-duty (mostly short trips, not always up to temperature, city driving/idling, etc.) to safely cover the worst cases. There are no "one size fits all" recommendations for oil brand or oil changes, which is why Mike cringes whenever the subject comes up and tries to avoid discussing the topic in his column at all.

    For the record, it wasn't even Mike who advocated the 5000-mile interval, it was Mario Langsten of Vintage Sports and Recreation in Bow, NH (quoted by Mike in response to the reader's question). The photos of my engine provide concrete proof that blanket opinions such as Mr. Langsten's do not apply to all cases. Mike's own addition was as follows:
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    bcweir

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    Thank you both for the clarification.

    7,500 miles still sounds way too long between OCI's, especially on engines with advanced mileage like mine (223k). The biggest danger, IMHO, is that it's way too tempting to start neglecting proper maintenance. Going 50 miles past an OCI has a tendency to become 100, then 500, then over 1,000 miles past that OCI. The next thing you know, you're letting that oil sit in there way past its effective life.

    Human beings really are creatures of habit. This works both ways. The M70 in particular demands regular maintenance to maintain its performance and dependability.

    I believe BMW builds the best engines on the planet, when it comes to engineering and their lifespans, whether we're talking about the M10, M20, and M30 engines, all the way to the current N54/N55 engines and everywhere in between. All are capable of phenomenal mileages. I know of a friend of mine who bought his 77 320i brand new. He started his car one morning and he heard a loud bang. Turns out it had snapped two connecting rods -- at 440,000 miles. The man changed his oil every 3,000 miles as dependable as a preacher on Sunday for nearly 26 years. That car had the kindness to strand him at home instead of on the side of the road.

    Now that's truly a car doing unto others....

    thr33dviz guest

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    Going to attempt my first oil change next weekend. Decided that this time I would do as much work myself on her as I can or at least try to do it. Well off to find out what oil and what filter to get.

    Cheers all.

    Tony

    bmwdriver99 guest

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    Normally..at the dealer a regular oil change is going to run around $55-60.00 Synthetic definetely will bring it to the $80.00 area. (Most dealers just buy and truck in oil by bulk so ..you really dont know what regular oil you're really getting)
    The newer the car the more likely they'll find something to sell you ..or you'll just be stuck going there for Service because at times with these new cars anything can happen and you want them to take care of it. Again though ..for people like me that are die hard veterans and drive E34's..30's ..and 36's all day ..it's never going to be a problem :)



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    westech

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    Humor Time

    :DOur local stealer gets $129.95 for oil/filter change....$376. to drain & refill manual transmission fluid.....$269. to drain/refill rear end. THEN they lay on a "Disposal Fee" shop charge. :eek:
    Not all robbery requires a firearm.
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    bcweir

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    Seems kind of silly to expect firesale prices from a dealer parts counter.

    My first thought on this was "welcome to the high cost of convenience."

    My second thought is that I am trying to restrain myself from being excessively critical of the idea of paying dealership "rape" prices for something as basic as an oil change. Is this the first time you realized that the dealership service department is a multi-BILLION dollar profit center for the dealer? That's intentional, by the way.

    Multiply $150 an hour dealership labor times the thousands of BMW car owners who are possibly too clueless, inexperienced, afraid, or just plain lazy to invest the 30 minutes necessary to complete an oil change on their BMW, and you will get an idea of why BMW dealerships across the nation are only too happy to do what most white-gloved, white-shirted BMW owners won't do for themselves.

    In addition, don't get me started on the horror stories I have heard of these independent Jiffy-Lube style places. Everything from clueless lube technicians positioning the floor jack under the oil pan :eek: to using an AIR WRENCH on the oilpan plug!

    We Americans must seem to be a contradictory lot to BMW. On one hand, we gripe at BMW for not including oil fill openings or dipstick tubes on some models, yet we continue to feed the high-profit, dealership oil change monolith (what would these people DO with an oil fill cap if they're too afraid to take it off to put fresh oil in the engine ourselves?). We keep insisting on manual transmissions, yet non-manual transmissions outsell stickshifts by ration of 3 or 4 non manuals for every stickshift sold. We ask for cars between 2,500 and 3,000 pounds, then proceed to check every option box to lard up the car to 4 grand (not to mention our nanny government and private 'safety group' nannies pushing their own 'safety agendas' -- six, ten, or twelve airbags in all [those airbags aren't deflated latex balloons, people]), then we get ticked at BMW for designing such an 'overweight' machine to begin with!

    I was done with my oil change on my 750iL in just a few ticks under a half hour. Thank God my dad raised his children with understanding the value of a dollar -- particularly the couple hundred saved by avoiding the dealer 'rape' shop.
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    westech

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    bcweir...I agree.
    With the proper tools, parts & lubricants from Bavauto & Bobs BMW, manuals and common sense, we maintain a 2000 Z-3, a 2001 525 and a 1988 R100rs airhead.
    Paying the dealer is fine if that's what someone chooses to do. I like my cash closer to home.
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    The high cost of oil changes

    First of all, I try to change my oil every 5,000 miles or so. However, the engineers at Red Line have told me that with today's synthetics, you're really wasting money before 7,500---and that a 15,000-mile interval is not all that bad, depending on conditions.

    Since the roadster hit 30,000, I changed the oil at Carl Nelson's shop, La Jolla Independent, where I also changed the transmission fluid (Red Line MTL) and the diffy (Kendall limited-slip oil). For the engine, I prefer BMW's Castrol synthetic, since it was especially designed to keep S54 engines together. (Nelson has another oil he likes for this purpose, too.)

    Because the damned Castrol costs $11 a quart, and the S54 wants seven of those, the MTL costs $18, and the Kendall costs $10, the cost of fluids is over a hundred bucks. And worth every dime! The oil change I get at the dealer doesn't cost anything, but I have to pay for the "in-between" changes, of course.

    By the way, the oil, though dark, was clean. I also pulled the cone-shaped strainer from the center of the pan and cleaned it up; there was a small amount of sludge or "pre-varnish" that tells me the dealer doesn't bother with this step---one more reason to get intimate with my own car!

    As for the this-oil-versus-that debate, when Party A bought her 2007 335i, I insisted on Red Line 20-50. But it consumed oil until she went in for the free oil change, so she's been using the BMW product ever since, even for her in-between changes.
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    BMRDRVR

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    I just paid my dealer $88.82 for an oil change on the M Roadster and I couldn't be happier. I had less than 2,000 miles on the old oil, but the car was going into storage and I don't put it away with dirty oil. But for less than $90, the oil is fresh and clean, the fluids were topped, tire pressure checked and the car was fully inspected from above and below. And I got a 335i loaner for the day. I don't mind taking care of those who take care of me!
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    kotodama

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    You Get What You Pay For

    The owner of the top independent Honda/Acura shop in Tucson, AZ told me one day what he told his customers that complained that his oil changes were nearly twice the quickie shop prices. The same should apply to good BMW independents as well.

    His oil changes were done by his regular mechanics. When his boys did an oil change they were looking around under the car and in the engine compartment for all the typical wear items for the model being worked on just out of habit. Parts that were on their last legs were identified and scheduled for replacement before a catastrophic failure.

    I can change my own oil but I'd rather have a full time BMW mechanic wrenching on my car. He or she will see things that I'd miss and, more often than not, save me money down the road.

    David

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