Old guy, New Car, Help Requested

Messages
7
Location
Northern VA
Hello everyone, I just joined the group and want to say this looks like a very informational and helpful site. Why I was hunting for such a place is that I recently picked up a new car and hope to keep it for a good long time, much like my previous Prelude that I drove for 16 years and 245k miles. Anyhow, I now have an '02 BMW 330Ci with a 5 speed manual. The owner's manual and the car's maintenance system recommends oil changes at 15K, including the very first one. BMW pays for all maintenace for the first 3 yrs/36K and I'm very suspicious about them not wanting to pay for more maintenace than they can get away with. To me, the cost/effort of oil changes are small compared to the cost of a car. I hope to keep this car for a good long time. My questions are for recommendations for: 1) First oil change at what point? (car has 1K miles now) 2)Recommendations on oil. I drive moderately, though sometimes may be more performance oriented. Live in N. VA where we get winters but not severe, hot summers. BMW recommends synthetic only with 5W-40 and 5W-30 and I believe "their" brand of BMW Oil is Castrol. 3) Oil filters? Same qualifications. I used Castrol dyno for the entire life of the Prelude changing oil at 3K regularly. I guess this is why being told 15K seems so hard for me to accept. Thanks in advance for your help.
 

Patman

Staff member
Messages
21,994
Location
Oakville, Ontario
Welcome aboard! [Welcome!] Very nice car! I definitely don't think you should wait until 15k for that first oil change. As a matter of fact I wouldn't go straight to 15k right away at all. I'd probably do the first oil change now, then do another one again at around 5k. Then do the next one at 15k, but do an oil analysis to make sure things are ok as far as extending it further. You'd be safe running Mobil 1's 0w40 oil, it should pose no warranty problems whatsoever as I believe it passes BMWs tests. And it'll go 15k no problem. Not sure what oil filter you should run though, does anyone know if the OEM BMW one is any good?
 
My only concern with doing your first oil change before 15k would be if BMW has some kind of break in oil that they want to be used for the first 15k. Normally a break in oil wouldn't go nearly that long, but you certainly don't want to void the warranty of your nice new BMW just because you didn't play by their rules. I'd ask & dig a little, and if it's ok with them, I certainly wouldn't go 15k on a new engine before changing. In fact, I'd never go 15,000 miles on ANY oil, no matter what the numbers say.
 

Patman

Staff member
Messages
21,994
Location
Oakville, Ontario
Even though I know there are oils that can go 15k, I too probably wouldn't go that far. My upper limit is about 9-10k. Our odometers read in kilometers here, so 15,000km works out to 9300 miles, so that is going to be my interval (if oil analysis proves it to be safe, which I'm 99% sure it will)
 

Patman

Staff member
Messages
21,994
Location
Oakville, Ontario
From what I understand, the BMW synthetic oil is from Castrol in Europe, and is a true PAO based synthetic, not the crummy Syntec stuff that we have over here (which uses the group 3 petroleum base oil) I don't know the specs on it, so I can't comment for sure, but I do believe it to be very high quality stuff. It will be a lot more costly than Mobil 1 though. [ October 25, 2002, 10:54 AM: Message edited by: Patman ]
 

MolaKule

Staff member
Messages
21,869
Location
Iowegia - USA
Patman, You brought up a good point regarding the Castrol European formulation. Someone posted a UOA on that Castrol but I couldn't locate it. [I dont know]
 

beauport

Thread starter
Messages
7
Location
Northern VA
Thanks for all of your help. I'm going to try to find out if the car came with some sort of break-in oil and if not I'll change the oil/filter and then begin a normal routine for follow on changes.
 
Messages
2,480
First off, check owner's manual. It will tell you when to change the oil. Not sure about the `02 330's, but My `94 850 says first oil change at 1-2k and I've seen M3's in for this first service....they even require the differential fluid be changed after break-in! So yours may require a 1-2k change as well. Otherwise, 15k will be fine if that's what's being recommended by using BMW synthetic. Conventional oils will NOT perform at this interval...and for these engines the interval is customary in Europe where there's a concern for expendable natural resources. My `94 recommends 7.5-8k...and that is with conventional oil! It just sounds far fetched (especially to us in N.A.)...but, nobody changes the oil every month in Europe. With the new oils, such intervals in these engines are easily attainable....Lastly, the BMW synthetic was specifically designed for these cars and IS different from Syntec (OTC). My car recommends 15-50 for temps. over -4 F so I use M-1 all year...I have 145k mi. thusfar.
 
Messages
3,705
Location
Chattanooga, TN
You are correct in that when BMW did not include maintenance they recommended 3-5000 mile changes. Now that they include it is 15,000. Synthetic may be part of the difference also. I would use the 15,000 free one from BMW and change oil at 7500 using a synthetic acceptable to them in between their freebies. Also have the oil sampled to see if the 7500 and/or 15,000 are reasonable. You are probably dealing with a very arrogant dealership if they are typical of BMW.
 

beauport

Thread starter
Messages
7
Location
Northern VA
"First off, check owner's manual. It will tell you when to change the oil. Not sure about the `02 330's, but My `94 850 says first oil change at 1-2k and I've seen M3's in for this first service....they even require the differential fluid be changed after break-in! So yours may require a 1-2k change as well." The manual and the car's onboard computer for maintenance say the first oil change is 15K and then 15K after that. The transmission, diff, etc. are now "lifetime" and don't need changing.
 

beauport

Thread starter
Messages
7
Location
Northern VA
quote:
Originally posted by joee12: [QBThe manual and the car's onboard computer for maintenance say the first oil change is 15K and then 15K after that. The transmission, diff, etc. are now "lifetime" and don't need changing.[/qb]
Beauport, welcome to the site!!! As far as the differential and transmission, there is no such thing as "lifetime. Eventually, the oil in both will break down. Trust me, somewhere down the road the dealership will hit you up for the service on those. -Joe[/QB][/QUOTE] Thanks. I trust you on this believe me. My gut instinct says no oil/fluid is going to last a lifetime, unless they're thinking the car's life is only a couple of years. What I have taken away from this thread is that I need to determine if my car has break-in oil and if not I should change out the oil and the begin a routine of changing the oil/filter inbetween the 15K BMW provided changes. And it sounds like the BMW labeled oil is fine to use. Any other thoughts/recommendations? I'd like to see this baby outlast the Prelude which, by the way, a friend is driving at over 260K on the original engine.
 
Messages
5,785
Location
Dixie
Beauport, You want to use an ACEA "A3/B4" rated synthetic that also meets the BMW "Longlife" specification. The two I am aware of are Mobil 1, 0w-40 or any of the Amsoil xw-30, PAO/Ester synthetics - TSO/ASL/ATM ....I just got a case of the re-formulated Amsoil 10w-30 in two days ago and the new product labels reflect these specs. You can use 0w-30 in place of 5w-30 and 0w-40 in place of 5w-40. Redline Oil may also be making an ACEA A3/B4 oil now, so I'd check with them .....
 
Messages
394
Location
Greenville, SC
BMW's 5W30 syn is ACEA A3/B3 and runs $3.80 a quart at most dealers. Their filter seems to be high quality as well. If you don't want to go 15k, talk to the service desk. When I told them I didn't agree with the "lights" recommendation, they gave me comp oil changes at the halfway point. Just a though, but many M3s and M5s do the 15k oil change and most are run very hard. I don't hear of them developing oil related problems. Jack
 
Messages
4,107
Location
Savannah, GA
quote:
Originally posted by beauport: "First off, check owner's manual. It will tell you when to change the oil. Not sure about the `02 330's, but My `94 850 says first oil change at 1-2k and I've seen M3's in for this first service....they even require the differential fluid be changed after break-in! So yours may require a 1-2k change as well." The manual and the car's onboard computer for maintenance say the first oil change is 15K and then 15K after that. The transmission, diff, etc. are now "lifetime" and don't need changing.
Beauport, welcome to the site!!! As far as the differential and transmission, there is no such thing as "lifetime. Eventually, the oil in both will break down. Trust me, somewhere down the road the dealership will hit you up for the service on those. -Joe
 
Messages
1,933
Location
Oklahoma
Yeah I was shocked at what a one year period and 4500 miles did to a what I thought was a middle of the road gear oil in a Mazda Miata rear differential a while back from a visual standpoint vs a different middle of the road gear oil used in the 5 spd transmission
 
Messages
3,329
Location
Bolivia
If you haven't looked throught the posts at http://bimmer.roadfly.org/bmw/forums/e46/ you might want to. A lot of good BMW stuff there and BMW apparently monitors it because when my daughter had a transmission problem on her 2000 528 and posted it, she got a call from BMW. They gave her a rental and repaired her transmission.
 
Messages
6
Location
Maryland
A couple of things. The M3 has a special differential with special oil needs. It also has a breakin oil installed for the first 1200 miles. That's why it gets changed. And for 2003 they also get an oil change at 1200 miles. BMWs 5W-30 is the only off the shelf -30 weight oil that meets ACEA A3/B3 standards. So for warrnty reasons you should run their oil for the first 4yr/50K miles. And after that it is an inexpensive synthetic oil. BMW does put a break in oil in their engines, but in the US that oil is removed at the VPC before the car is shipped to the dealer. I have no problem with 15,000 mile oil changes, except for piece of mind I like one early change at about 1000 - 1500 miles. Makes me feel good. As to Castrol oils, I did some research on this with a friend who is a petroleum engineer for a big firm, but not Castrol. There are two ways to synthesize oil. 1) Build up the molecule you want by hooking together short molecules 2) Specific cracking of longer molecules to make the ones you want. BOTH methods yield a synthetic oil, and BOTH methods can yield a very good oil. In fact, the second method has the capability to make a "better" lubricating oil than the first method. Mobil 1 uses the first method, Castrol uses the second.
 
Messages
1,933
Location
Oklahoma
Welcome Pinecone from Maryland. Now please post some facts through some posting of actual oil analysis's and real world experiences please to what you posted prior,,I am sure we will all be interested in hearing your additional comments. Would you mind telling us what brand oil you are using [Smile] Quote: (In fact, the second method has the capability to make a "better" lubricating oil than the first method. Mobil 1 uses the first method, Castrol uses the second. ) [ October 26, 2002, 11:26 PM: Message edited by: dragboat ]
 
Messages
6
Location
Maryland
Thanks for the welcome. As to the comments about making synthetics, I can't because the conversation was off the record. BUT, another thread pointed out the articles by Chevron on Group III oils, and my read is exactly opposite of the poster of the link conclusions. It flat out says that a Group III oil can be made to be as good as or better than a PAO. In that thread, I posted quotes from the article mentioned that support this. I will go with the idea that if PAOs are cheaper, that makes them better from a price/performance POV. But on outright performance, they can be similar or even better. Funny thing is someone posted that BMW/Castrol is Euro thus better than Syntec, but the article referenced states the Europeans started the trend to Group III oils, hydrocracked. So why would Euro Castrol NOT be a Group III? As to what oils I use. Well it depends on which car. One uses BMW 5W-30 since it is still under warranty, and free oil changes. One uses Castrol TWS 10W-60 since it is the only oil approved for use in it. The Jeep Grand Cherokee uses Mobil 1. And I have been a big Mobil 1 fan for a long time. I have run a couple of turbo motors to up around 150,000 miles each on this oil, and a 1990 Jeep Cherokee to 299,935 miles. The Jeep engine was replaced ONLY due to rear main oil seal leakage, not any compression issues. As for extended drain intervals, I have used them on all the above vehicles once they were out of warranty. The 90 Cherokee spent most of those miles with a when I can get around to it, once it gets warm drain interval. BTW those miles were put on in about 8 years, so some times the when it gets warm was quoite a few miles. As for the BMW 15K mile interval, that is the MAXIMUM mileage. The counter takes into account amount of fuel burned (the harder you run it the more fuel you use) and cold starts. The M3 I know deducts 25 miles from the oil interval for each cold start. So depending on your driving habits, the interval can fall well below 15K miles.
 
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