1st Oil Change - at how many miles

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Jul 17, 2003
New York
My BMW X5 just hit 3,500 miles. I plan to keep this car past 150K miles.

In your opinion, is it too early to change the oil and just wait till it hits 5K miles ? I'm planning to use Redline 5W30 and change every 6 months.
This would be a good time to do the first oil change and to switch to the Redline oil as they suggest at least 3000 miles on petroleum oil before using their product. You can expect a little longer drain interval in the future though I would think using that quality of oil.
I thought that all BMW's got the "1st service at 1-2k mi." with oil change, tranny and diff. fluids....and then the 9-10k interval thereafter no? What does the owner's manual / dash indicator say?
Nope. I think the tranny is *lifetime* fluid and the green bar , depending on driving habits averages around 15K. There is a free oil change for the next 4 years, at 1 year intervals.
So what oil does BMW recommend? Why is it that Mobil says you can switch anytime but others say differently? Nice choice btw with Redline. Should be a good oil for this car.

All you need is a nice German blond in the passenger seat.

[ July 18, 2003, 08:53 PM: Message edited by: buster ]
BMW recommends 5W30 or 5W40. They use a Castrol OEM synthetic with their own special *additives* in their BMW/Castrol oil.

I was actually planning to run a thicker viscosity in lieu of the *recommended* figuring that possibly the while I may get less MPG, it may be better on the engine. What are your thoughts on this ?
I'd run Redline 5w-30/40, Amsoil 0w-30, Mobil 1 0w-40 or Delvac 1. These would be my choices for this car. I can't tell you which one will serve you better. All are top notch oils. Delvac 1 is too hard to find so I'd rule that out.
The average oil change frequency for most newer BMWs (based on the maintenance computer) is approx every 15,000 miles, even the first drain. I believe only the M3s get an early first oil change.

These newer BMW engines really seem to like the BMW/Castrol formulation; I'd change it every 7,500 miles though. It's a pretty good deal at $3.80/quart. (15,000 miles is overextending it--see the 528i UOAs I posted)

If you really want to spend more on oil I'd recommend the made in Germany Castrol 0W-30, or Mobil 1 0W-40. These two also meet BMW Longlife specs.

Redline hasn't always performed consistently.

As for your first change, you might as well wait until 5,000 miles--it's definitely NOT gonna hurt anything. 5,000 miles seems to be the "magic number" posted by Honda and VW TDi freaks.

Where in NY are you? Bayside BMW sells the BMW/Castrol oil at $3.80/quart; AutoZone in Flushing sells "red label" German Castrol 0W-30 for $4.29/quart, and Mobil 1 0W-40 for $4.99/quart.

Redline just doesn't seem to be worth the extra money.

I've got another case and a half left of Redline from my old beater.

If only there was a Walmart closer to NYC.....I've heard their Mobil One pricing is pretty cheap. I never checked Costco/BJ pricing.

The place where I order my Redline amount to $6.50 a bottle when I buy it by the case. Always figuered it was *great* stuff but after finding this board, there seems to be some mixed reviews.
Is the BMW/Castrol a better oil or the SLX 0W30 ?
So many choices...........

Anyhow, here's a good read:

I called around a couple of places for an oil change in my X5 (if it was reasonable) I would have them do it ..Average was $160 for an oil change. I'm located in Brooklyn and the dealship was out in Huntington, but they were only charging $65 but it just wasn't worth the drive up.
Not entirely a reply to the question, but I recall a guy with impressive odo readings on many cars and I asked how he got such life out of the engines. I was told he would get an oil change (plain) arranged at time of deliver. If that was 2 miles on the odometer, fine. Another one a day or week later. Just because of the 'flashings' from the manufacturing process.
This totally unapplicable for engines made in 2003? I think I'd STILL do that on a new BMW, I'm just that sort of oil nut
chefwong, I wouldn't rule out Red Line Oil. It does have a mixed history on this site ... but usually with engines which have used a variety of different oils and have a few years worth of use on them as well.

Engines running this stuff consistently since they were new do very well ... even sludge-prone Toyotas.

--- Bror Jace

Originally posted by chefwong:
BMW recommends 5W30 or 5W40. They use a Castrol OEM synthetic with their own special *additives* in their BMW/Castrol oil.


I find this comment intriguing...BECAUSE...I believe Mercedes has their own version of Helix Ultra (it's Ultra "AB") and in the US it is ONLY available through Mercedes dealers and maybe only in bulk...SO...are we seeing some OEMS starting to move to their own oils that are the only ones approved or recommended. I understand the provision that if they require a certain oil to keep the warranty in effect they have to provide it free...but what if they will only provide it free once a year and I want to change my oil more often than that? I realize we are not there yet but are we heading that way?

I understand the provision that if they require a certain oil to keep the warranty in effect they have to provide it free...but what if they will only provide it free once a year and I want to change my oil more often than that? I realize we are not there yet but are we heading that way?

I'm sure the dealer would sell you that oil (The price might make you shudder) I mean, after the warranty has expired, they still want you to come back for service, too. It's not like they would tell you to go look for some other oil after the warranty has expired. If car makers move to a "mandatory" oil choice, this will limit your options, though - and that's never good...

And that's what concerns me...are we going to see, in the interest of revenue or under the guise of being a green company, a subtle (or maybe not so subtle) pressure for dealer service on some things we do ourselves. I spoke with the Shell distributor in Denver and as I recall the Helix Ultra was currently only available to dealers in bulk, so you would not be able to do a "walk away" unless they'd pump into a container for you.

I'm not overly concerned about this "trend", YET, but it might be something to keep an eye on.


[ July 19, 2003, 12:47 AM: Message edited by: pscholte ]
chefwong, regarding BMW/Castrol 5W-30 versus Castrol SLX 0W-30:

SLX is probably better over longer intervals (but we don't have many UOAs on this stuff yet), however, if you're changing at 5,000 to 7,500 mile intervals, either one will be just fine. Plus there's the convenience factor of the BMW/Castrol 5W-30 if you'll be using the dealer for service. Might be worth the trip out to Huntington every so often, since they'd give you a free BMW loaner car to use for the day!

When you call around the various dealers, be aware that some price an intermediate oil change (service indicator is not reset) cheaper than an oil service (service indicator is reset, and other checks are done).

Since you have some leftover Redline, you might as well use it! And you got it for a decent price... out by me it's way overpriced, around $8 per quart.

I really do like Redline's MTL (I used it in a '94 Civic), and their D4 ATF is supposed to be very good in the E46 3-series manual gearbox.

Redline's water wetter and their fuel injector cleaner is said to be good stuff too.

pscholte, I thought MB is using M1 0W-40? Well at least the AMG models are...

rob-the-oil-nut, wow, that's something else! Plenty of people have achieved high mileage records without resorting to such extremes

Originally posted by ALS:
Volvo says 5000 miles for original break-in oil.
Techs at the Dealer say 1000 to 1200 miles.

I'm gonna make darn sure my dad changes the oil in his new Volvo long before 5k! I told him to do the first change around 2000km (1250mi) with dino oil, then switch to synthetic at 5000km (he'll use Mobil 1 as always)

I saw his new car yesterday for the first time, and man that oil in there is so clean we could barely read the dipstick!!
My initial oil change on wifes new car was at 74 miles. The next change was at 574 miles. The next one was at 774 miles and OEM filter was changed at the same time. I am leaving that oil in until it is time for first scheduled change. I think that it is important to get all the accelerated break in wear particles out of the engine periodicly. Worst case secanario you should at least get the initial breakin wear particles out of their within 1000 miles. You filter is only trapping the big stuff. Their is alot of sub 20 micron wear on breakin.

THis time around I tried to follow mototuneusa's break in advive. I usualy do my drains at 500 and 1000 miles. Things did not work out idealy for me this time around in reguards to milage.My first drain was based on Mototunes advice. I drained the OEM fluid out as soon as I made it home from dealership as this was my breakin drive(first 20 miles). I did one drain early becase I had a road trip coming up and did not want the oil in their past 1000 so I changed it early.
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