A Word about Oil Services…
All name brand oils produced today are quality products compared to that which was available years ago. Synthetic oils were borne out of our national defense program where vehicles needed to operate under extreme conditions with infrequent service. After all, Tanks & Hummers needed to start & run reliably in both the Arctic, as well as in the Sahara. Hence synthetics were developed to offer better cold start & hot weather running protection relative to conventional motor oils. Synthetic oil service intervals could also be extended, as the oils were more stable & resisted breaking down. Your BMW will run on either oil. The two oils are also able to be mixed if you need to top one off with the other in a pinch.
At Schneller, we follow BMWs recommendations when selecting an oil for your car. If BMW specifies a synthetic oil for your vehicle, then that is what we‘ll use. We’ll also recommend synthetic oil if your vehicle experiences extreme use, for example racing, or if your BMW is equipped with an exotic BMW Motorsport engine.
The 15,000 Mile Oil Change
In our opinion, changing your oil every 2500-3000 miles is a WASTE of money & resources. The Quick Lube Industry however, has done a great job MARKETING everyone into believing that it is mechanically necessary. They are after all sponsored by the Oil Industry, and in the business of selling oil.
We recommend oil services based on a number of factors:
- Driving Style
- Synthetic vs. Conventional Oil
- Time of Year
- Visual Condition of Oil.
In addition to lubricating the moving parts within your engine, oil also serves to hold in suspension water, dirt & metal shavings that are too small for the filter to capture. Like a glass of milk, there’s a certain amount of “chocolate” (in the case of engine oil, contaminants) that you can add before a saturation point is reached & the “chocolate”, or in the case of engine oil, contaminants, begin to settle out. These sediments form a thick tar like sludge that will clog oil passages & are generally not good for your engine. Water vapor accumulation (water is a byproduct of combustion) is also detrimental to the engine as water is a poor lubricant, promotes rust & will freeze up crank case ventilation systems in cold weather resulting in engine failures.
What do we think of the 15,000 mile oil service?
We simply think the service interval is too long for a number of reasons.
First, if a car is only driven 5000 miles a year, that means that no one will have examined that vehicle in 3 years. That’s just too long for a complicated machine to travel without some looking after. Imagine not having a physical or going to the dentist for 3 years because your life has been somewhat inactive!
Secondly, long service intervals “suggest” that you only need to add gas and drive. One customer drove his car for an entire year & at 15,000 miles finally came in for an oil service. The engine was ticking loudly and contained only one of the seven quarts of oil that the engine required. Where did all the oil go? As engines are run, they will consume (burn) some oil. Because of the extended oil service, he never even thought to check his oil level. Regardless of oil type & oil service interval, engines do consume oil & the level needs to be periodically checked.
Thirdly, long oil service intervals promote internal sludge & water build up. We’ve already replaced a number of engines that were on this extended oil service program. The first (a 2001 X5) had traveled only 22,000 miles when the crankcase breather system froze in cold weather causing catastrophic engine failure. The second (a 2000 330i) consumed much of its oil as the crankcase breather was clogged with sludge forcing the oil back into the intake where it was consumed by the engine. Ultimately the car ran out of oil and required an engine replacement. We’ve been able to avert disaster on a large number of others by stepping up the oil service interval to 7000 miles & replacing clogged crankcase ventilation systems.
So what does Schneller recommend as an appropriate oil service interval?
Based on our experience, we recommend the following:
- Synthetic Oil, once every 7000 miles or Every 6 months
- Conventional Oil, once every 4500 miles or Every 4 Months
A consistent engine oil service schedule will keep engine oil clean and free of crankcase water build up. Moreover, it provides the opportunity for one of our Technicians to spot a potential problem elsewhere on your car before it happens. Additionally, seasonal oil services will allow us to match engine oil weights according to ambient temperatures thereby offering better engine protection & easier winter starts.
The Importance of Visually Inspecting Your Oil
If you’re not sure when to change your oil, remove your dip stick & run the tip across your finger. If you can still see your finger through the oil, then it’s not saturated with dirt & probably still OK. If it looks muddy, it probably is, & needs to be changed. This visual method works well in warmer climates where engines warm up quicker and they’re able to burn off trapped water vapor.
If you live in a colder climate, drive your car less than 10,000 miles a year, or if you only drive for short distances (less than 20 minutes after each start) then you’re in danger of water build up in your crankcase & should change your oil based on a time schedule, rather than a mileage schedule. This is particularly important in the late fall & through the winter months when trapped water vapor can freeze inside your engine. Unfortunately, the simple technique of examining your oil may become a thing of the past as BMW has eliminated oil dipsticks from many of their newer engines & replaced them with electrical oil level senders. To get a sense of what the oil looks like, one can still however, retrieve some oil from the underside of the oil filler cap located on the engine’s valve cover.
Why Schneller BMW
BMW & Mini are technologically sophisticated vehicles that require special training & equipment in order to be serviced properly. Technicians at Schneller are factory trained, and receive continuing education annually to remain sharp. Given our years of service & expertise servicing BMWs, we are proud to be one of the select few Independent BMW Service shops to be members of both the IAIBMWSP (International Association of Independent BMW Service Professionals) and the Bimmer Tech Group. Mike Morris is also the technical advisor for the Boston Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America. You can be confident that we’ll fix your car correctly the fist time!
We have invested in expensive tooling & diagnostic software in order to be a “Full Service” Independent BMW & Mini repair facility
In the BMW & Mini world, if your current repair facility doesn’t have GT1, AutoLogic, SSS or BMW 3GIO in its repair arsenal, they’re in the dark about fixing your BMW.
Technicians at Schneller are factory trained, and receive continuing education annually to remain sharp. Given our years of service & expertise servicing BMWs, we are proud to be one of the select few Independent BMW Service shops to be members of both the IAIBMWSP (International Association of Independent BMW Service Professionals) and the Bimmer Tech Group. Interested In This Service? Make An Appointment Make Appointment