Called BMW, their recommended brands of 5w-30 are not surprising...

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425
"hello, BMW customer service" hi, what's your updated list of recommended motor oil? "Well, you ~definately~ want a SYNTHETIC 5w-30 in there and our brands are: Mobil, Castrol and Valvoline" how is that determined? "I dunno, it's just in here as the approved brands, 5w-30" any references to European specs like ACEA? "Nope" (thinks to himself, "what the freak is ACEA, guy MUST be a nut") Then the guys says, "Look for the BMW approval on the label"! ok, thanks What surprised me is: 1)No mention of Mobil 1 0w-40 2)No mention of what the OCI would be with brands other than the actual BMW-branded Long-Life 01 spec oil 3)He strongly recommended 5w-30, almost to the exclusion of other classic Euro weights, 5w-40, 0w-30, etc. 4)I could have pressed him on that "look for the BMW approval on the label" thing. The only oils I know with it are GC and m1 0w-40, THEY aren't even 5w-30s anyway!!! Do you think they would add GC to the list on MY say-so? [I dont know] Frankly, those brands are ok, but BMW is not knocking themselves out looking for in-spec oil for customers. They could use a quick survey of what oils are out there, someone should shoot them an EMail. On a side note, I hear VW/Audi is not happy with the dealer Syntec...5w-40, US-made VW-spec in a drum, I assume. Also that VW is looking for a replacment for it. The 5w-40 Belgium-made Syntec is supposed to be awesome, I know people who use it...not in a drum though. Perhaps M1 0w-40 in a drum is too expensive for dealers. [ November 19, 2003, 09:17 PM: Message edited by: TSoA ]
 
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50
Location
eastern, Pa
That sounds familiar. You could almost parallel that conversation with a VW/Audi customer service rep. In all fairness to them, they're trained more towards customer relations than the technical side of things. But still, obtaining the correct oil specs is the issue at hand. I'm unaware of VW/Audi attempting to do away with the Castrol Syntec 5W40 through the the dealer network. I can tell you that it is not a hot selling item at our dealership. Its simply too expensive. Most of our clients who want synthetic oil in thier cars just bring thier own(BYOO?? [Big Grin] ). The new Castrol 505.01 oil is going to present an entirely new set of problems since it will be a required product. [ November 19, 2003, 11:40 PM: Message edited by: Volkster ]
 

TSoA

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425
Hey Volkster, I am in Eastern PA too, Poconos and Phila area. Where are you located?
 
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2,480
I still think the manuf.'s job is to sell new cars. Not to recommmend the best oil so that you can go 1 mil. miles on your current engine. Not to update your current dash to a nav-sat tel. system. Not to provide you with retrofit parking sensors, tire pressure monitors, etc.. Bottom line is if what's currently being done works, then there's no need to change it. ie. every BMW gets 5-30, the M's get 10-60. Why? Because of the blow-outs and customer complaints. Likewise, the standard diffs. get a 75-90, the limited slip require a 75-140. You guys draw your own conclusions...which viscosities do you think are "better"?? Next year, we may be seeing 0-10 "because it gets better fuel ecnonmy". Interstingly enough, the 5-30 is sourced from Castrol N.A.. I really don't think they import this stuff into Germany....especially now that I've seen the "offcial BMW oil"...it's a 0-40. This is probably more along the lines of what the customers get in Germany in their 'regular' BMW's.
 

TSoA

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425
DrT- one important issuse is the OCI with these OTC oils. Mercededs is grappling with their mistake of not recommending synthetic oil in the manual. I believe it IS the manufacturers job to inform on maintainance issues. Remember, Moss-Magnuson Act reads differently for cars where maintainance items are provided free, if you use non-oem parts they CAN void you warranty.
 
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233
Location
Midwest
Let's be realistic here, were you really expecting a BMW tech to answer their "Customer Service" line? If you really wanted an answer, that meet your satisfaction, you should have asked if someone from the tech line could contact you regarding proper oil viscosities or contact a dealer. He told you the answer, 5w-30, synthetic and meets BMW approval. All is these are printing on oil labels. He gave you what BMW recommends, not what is best in UOA listed on this site. Some of these replies are clearing people tring to "catch" BMW so they can say "look how useless they are" If you have the manual, use it, why call just to see if you could make them look bad? I never understood how people here that just need to prove how knowledgable they "think" they are. [ November 20, 2003, 01:45 PM: Message edited by: dagmando ]
 
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St. Charles County, Missouri
"On a side note, I hear VW/Audi is not happy with the dealer Syntec...5w-40, US-made VW-spec in a drum, I assume. Also that VW is looking for a replacment for it. The 5w-40 Belgium-made Syntec is supposed to be awesome, I know people who use it...not in a drum though. Perhaps M1 0w-40 in a drum is too expensive for dealers." My VW, Nissan, Hyundai,Suzuki, Isuzu dealer uses Castrol dino 5w30 all year long for everything. Only got one oil change there as even Hyundai which allows just about every weight of oil including 10w40 SH (in a 2001) does not want 5w30 if the temperature exceeds 100f.
 
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47,693
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Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
I'm sure there are some gear heads in the Engineering dept of car manufacturers that can speak oil.....but I think the car companies could do a LOT better than recommending specific brands. But there's money in endorsements, don't kid yourself. Funny thing - That dude should check who is the sponsor for BMW F1, and drop M1 and Valvoline from the list... [I dont know]
 
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184
Location
TN
If you're really interested in what oils are approved don't call the Customer Service, go to your local dealer and find a friendly tech that can access the BMW Technical Information System and then you can pull out the oil list. BMWTIS is also available on a CD. Both Mobil1 0W-40 and Castrol Syntec 0W-30 were listed in last years TIS (November '02) as BMW LongLife-01 oils. The only weights that are on the list are 0W-30, 0W-40, 5W-30 and 5W-40. 10W-60 is on a special oil list and only 2 oils are approved: Castrol TWS Motorsport 10W-60 and Veedol Synthetic Z 10W-60.
 
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3,593
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Outside smalltown, IL
quote:
Originally posted by Dr. T: I still think the manuf.'s job is to sell new cars. Not to recommmend the best oil so that you can go 1 mil. miles on your current engine. Not to update your current dash to a nav-sat tel. system. Not to provide you with retrofit parking sensors, tire pressure monitors, etc..
[Off Topic!] But I'll disagree. The quality of after sales support is one of the things that separates a good manufacturer form a poor one. Remain clueless about your product, or treat customers like you don't care about them once you get their money and they'll soon be someone else's customers IMO...
 
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656
Location
Massachusetts
Haha - Try a Ford dealership! Honestly I wouldn't take any car back for service at any dealer. I just don't trust them. Sometimes it takes a litle extra effort on the owner's behalf to decide whats best. We shouldn't have to go throught the effort, but we do too. Guess it stings a little more when you pay a premium price for a better car.
 
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998
Location
Lexington, SC
JohnnyO is right. The car manuf. are sqeezing the dealers. That is why there is so much 'push back' from the dealer on warranty work. They get very little from any warranty work compared to regular work. There were several web sites esp. about Ford Motor Co. They are in a financial bind and really reduced the allowed manhours for any given job. The dealer mechanics also get caught in this crunch. This is why I am always glad when my warranty runs out. It is the end of a frustrating experience.
 
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310
Location
Northern California
I am sorry but BMW NA, is perfectly useless. I asked them what oil they recommended for my Wife's 94 525i and they said 5w-30. When I pointed them to the manual stating 5w-30 was only for temps below 40F and asked if they could explain the change, they couldn't provide an answer except that I should now use 5w-30. I asked if this applied to my 320i also, they couldn't answer. I would look at what is recommended in Europe and stay with an A3 BMW LL-01 approved oil unless your BMW specs the 10w-60. I believe that BMW figures the cars are not drive hard enough to make a difference. **** , even their own 5w-30 oil is borderline 40 weight. Cary
 
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2,533
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
[Cool] FWIW, radio talk show here yesterday had a lawyer on who specializes in Lemon Law cases. As a side note, he said that the mfg's are mostly all losing money so right now they're squeezing the dealers and paying them next to nothing for warranty work. I heard a while ago that a certain British carmaker quit selling cars in PA because of the Lemon Law. I think it's Lotus but I'm not sure and I couldn't get through to the radio show to find out.
 

jaj

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1,060
Location
Vancouver, Canada
I did a lot of research on the BMW High Performance Synthetic Oil SAE 5w-30, and eventually stumbled on the EOLCS site that the API runs. It turns out that the only company with a license from the API to use the brand name "High Performance Synthetic Oil" on their label is Valvoline. They can use it without any reference to the Valvoline name. Any other names, like "BMW", on the label are not an issue. My conclusion was that Valvoline makes BMW HPSO and it's bottled for BMW in the US. If you look up Valvoline's HPSO on the Valvoline site, it's a good quality product for automotive OEM's, and it's not available in the retail channel. I've used the stuff in my BMW and it's great. Of course, I could be totally off the mark, but I don't think so - the BMW owner's manual says "BMW Recommends Castrol", which is a pretty weak statement, if you think about it. What BMW really recommends is their own branded HPSO, at least in North America. Just a little more food for thought... Cheers JJ
 

TSoA

Thread starter
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425
quote:
you really expecting a BMW tech to answer their "Customer Service" line? If you really wanted an answer, that meet your satisfaction, you should have asked if someone from the tech line
FYI- this was a follow-up whereas the BMW manual it's self gave this number to call for an "updated list" of oils. I played it just like an average Joe who is going to call the one number given in the manual. Also, I see American-car owners chiming in. I would not take my car to a Ford Dealer either, but that standerd narely applies to Euro car dealers where service is inclusive and training goes beyond backyard tear-downs.
 
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267
Location
Rhode Island
I just recently bought a 325i. I took a bottle of Amsoil 5W-30 ASL to the dealer (a new bottle) and it stated on the back ACEA A3 and meets BMW specifications. The service manager told me it was OK to use and wouldn't void the warranty. Not sure if he looked it up, checked the bottle or looked at a list to make this decision.
 
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2,480
Valvoline supposedly used to make BMW's synthetic oil (that was the 5-40) back in 1997-8. After the switch to a 5-30, it is being supplied by Castrol. Their US address is on the back of the bottle. As far as customer service knowledgeability? We're talking oil here...as far as most people outside this board (and some on it) believe a 5-30 is a 5-30. BMW recommends a synth. 5-30, so whichever synthetic 5-30 you choose should qualify just as the BMW 5-30 (remember: or else they have to provide it...blah, blah, blah). This is the extent of the customer service knowledge data base. Don't expect to get an engineer on the other end to describe the rigerous testing that differentiates a ACEA A3 vs. A2 vs. BMW L-01/02 etc...heck, most U.S OTC oils DON'T even do this for the customer, let alone a customer service rep.. Ever check out the back of Q.S./Castrol bottles...you'd think they qualify for everything under the sun. Penzoil? They don't like anything other than qualifying for API specs...
 
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