The oil you put into your car is essentially the lifeblood of your engine. Not only does it provide lubrication, but it also cleans the engine, helps with cooling, and prevents corrosion. It’s always a good idea to use the best quality motor oil you can — especially when you’re driving a precision machine like a BMW.
If you’re not sure how to choose the best motor oil for peak performance, you’re in the right place. Here are some things to consider and a few of our top recommendations.
Synthetic vs. Conventional Oil
Conventional motor oil is less expensive than synthetic, but it’s also lower quality. It contains molecules that are inconsistent in size, which creates extra friction when flowing around the engine.
BMW recommends the exclusive use of synthetic oil as it’s much better for their high-tech engines. It lasts longer, doesn’t deteriorate in intense heat or cold, and has better viscosity. This ensures your engine is protected from component wear while also maximizing energy efficiency.
If you want to know what kind of motor oil is best for your BMW, you only need to look as far as your owner’s manual. You’ll find the oil rating standards there. You might see something like “BMW Longlife-01” or “BMW Longlife-01 FE.”
Once you know this, you can choose any brand of engine oil that has these certifications printed on the label. Be careful not to choose an oil that you think meets the specifications. If it doesn’t have the BMW specification clearly listed on the label, it’s not a good choice. Also note that not all oils made by a specific manufacturer or all weights of a certain type of oil are BMW compliant.
BMW also makes specific brand recommendations, but these seem to change every few years. Currently, they’re recommending BMW Twinpower 5W30 Synthetic and Pennzoil Synthetic Motor Oil.
BMW vehicles with high-performance engines (like the M-series) require a different kind of oil than other models. The Original BMW M Twin Power Engine Oil is an excellent choice. Castrol Edge 5W-30 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil is also ideal for supercharged and high-performance BMWs. It has excellent viscosity that’s helpful for cold-starts. It can also handle extreme pressure and is reasonably priced.
Mobil 1120760 is another option that is best suited for high-performance engines. It exceeds the latest BMW OEM and industry standards, eliminates cold starts, and has exceptional cleaning capabilities. You may have a hard time finding it at your local auto parts store, but you can usually get it online at Amazon or Walmart.
Always Plan Ahead & Ask The Experts
If you’re planning to DIY your next oil change, don’t make the mistake of waiting until the last minute to get your oil. There are few things more stressful than rushing around, trying to find an oil that meets your BMW’s specifications. There’s a good chance that you won’t be able to find exactly what you want at your local store, and could end up choosing a sub-par option in your hurry to get it done. It might feel good to accomplish something on your “to-do” list, but there’s a good chance that you could cause serious damage to your vehicle’s engine.
Instead, order your oil online ahead of time or find out where you can get it locally before you actually need it. Better yet, schedule an appointment to have your oil changed by one of our professionals. We’ll ensure that you get the ideal motor oil for your specific vehicle and that it’s always ready to perform at its best!
Keeping up with your oil changes and making sure you choose the right type of oil are critical for ensuring your BMW runs as it should for many years. While the fact that you need regular oil changes seems pretty simple, the BMW’s special needs often cause confusion.
As certified BMW mechanics, we talk to many people about their vehicle’s oil needs and we’ve found that they often have the same questions. If you have questions about your BMW’s oil, you’re in the right place! The following guide will tell you everything you need to know.
1. How Much is an Oil Change for a BMW?
The cost of a professional oil change for a BMW varies depending on the make, model, and year of the vehicle, as well as where you live and the auto shop you choose. In general, you can expect a BMW oil change to cost between $135 and $175.
2. Why Are BMW Oil Changes So Expensive?
Since an oil change on some vehicles only costs about $40, people often wonder why BMW oil changes are so expensive. The primary reason is that the best oil for BMW vehicles is a high-performance synthetic oil.
BMW high-performance oil costs more, so the oil change itself will be more expensive. The labor costs are also often more expensive for BMWs than it is for some other types of vehicles.
If you’re looking for ways to save money on your BMW oil change, find a repair shop that offers occasional discounts on services or a loyalty program.
3. How Often Does a BMW Need an Oil Change?
For vehicles that use conventional oil, the “rule of thumb” was generally that they need to have an oil change every 3,000 miles. However, the recommended BMW oil change interval is around 10,000 miles or 12 months – whichever comes first.
If your BMW is exposed to “severe driving conditions” – like high-mileage driving or a lot of stop-and-go driving, then you may need to change your oil more often.
Not sure what’s best for your vehicle and driving conditions? Simply ask your technician for a recommendation regarding your BMW oil change frequency.
4. Do BMWs Need Special Oil?
The answer to this question is yes! BMWs are high-performance machines that cannot tolerate low-grade oil. BMWs require synthetic engine oil, and some models have different needs than others.
The manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the best oil brand for BMW seems to change every few years as new partnerships are formed. As of November 2020, BMW was recommending Pennzoil Synthetic Oil and BMW Twinpower 5W30 Synthetic.
While choosing the recommended brands of BMW high-performance synthetic oil will make things easier, any oil that meets BMW specs will be just fine. You’ll just have to look carefully at the details – including the specific oil weights and types. If a motor oil adheres to BMW specifications, this will be clearly listed on the rear label of the oil bottle.
5. Who Makes BMW Oil?
BMW Group’s branded engine oil is made specifically to meet the needs of both BMW and MINI vehicles. It’s made by bp, which is also the manufacturer of the Castrol brand of oil products. This company supplies BMW Group Engine Oil in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Castrol has been the official engine oil supplier for BMW for a 14-year span. In February of 2021, the company entered into a new 5-year agreement to continue producing BMW oil for another five years.
6. Can I Get My BMW Oil Changed Anywhere?
The simple answer to this question is yes. While you may have thought you needed to take your BMW to the dealership for service, this simply isn’t true. There are many repair shops that can handle a BMW oil change. However, it’s important to make sure that the shop you choose employs certified BMW mechanics.
These specially trained mechanics know exactly how to work on BMWs. Not only does this ensure you’ll receive a proper oil change, but they can also be on the lookout for any other potential problems with your vehicle. Since BMW repairs can be expensive, proactively finding and fixing issues can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.
7. Can You Change BMW Oil Yourself?
If you have the time and patience, are mechanically inclined, and have the right tools, then changing your own oil is a great project. To complete this task, you’ll need the right type of engine oil and a BMW oil filter. Other items you’ll need include:
- Oil filter tool
- Oil drain pan
- Metric sockets
- Ratchet wrench
- Wheel chocks
- Car jacks
- Jack stands
Once you have everything you need and practice a few times, you should be able to complete your own BMW oil change in about an hour.
8. How Do I Know When My BMW Needs an Oil Change?
The most obvious way to tell you need an oil change is simply to wait for the light to come on. However, there are some performance issues that may indicate you may need an oil change sooner.
You might notice that your engine seems louder than usual when you start your BMW or when you’re driving. This is a sign that your oil is getting old and it’s time for a change. If you can see or smell engine exhaust, this is also a sign that your oil is old and dirty.
“Sputtering performance” is another common issue. This is often caused by a clogged oil filter, which prevents oil from passing through as it should. As a result, this will affect your engine’s ability to maintain a smooth and consistent speed.
9. What Are Some Common BMW Oil Problems?
In most cases, you’ll only need to think about your BMW’s oil when it’s time for a change. However, there are some situations where you could end up having to deal with other issues.
For example, you may have heard of the infamous BMW 645 alternator oil leak. This was a well-documented problem that extended beyond the 645 to affect models including the X5, 745i, e65, 550i, and more.
Currently, there’s a BMW oil leak recall that involves the following models:
- 2002 – 2008 BMW 7 Series
- 2004 – 2010 BMW 6 Series
- 2004 – 2009 BMW 5 Series
- 2010 BMW 5 Series
- 2017 – 2018 M760Li xDrive
You can contact BMW to find out if your vehicle is on the recall list and learn more about the process of getting a repair.
We’ve also come across several BMW e46 oil cooler problems. The oil cooler is responsible for removing excess heat from your engine oil. It has two gaskets – one that connects the oil line to the oil cooler and one that returns the oil to the motor. When either of these gaskets wears it, it will cause an oil leak.
Some signs of BMW oil cooler problems include decreased engine performance, black smoke, vibrations, or a distended radiator. If you notice any of these issues, it’s important to bring your BMW to an auto repair shop right away.
10. Where Should I Go for BMW Oil Changes or Repairs?
If you’re looking for a high-quality, affordable BMW oil change or other BMW repairs, the experts at The Haus are here for you. We have over 25 years of experience working on BMWs and use only original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts or equivalent.
Contact us today to learn more or to schedule your BMW oil change.