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BMW 3 Series, Sedan
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#2336 of 5349 Extra oil changes...
Sep 27, 2005 (8:25 pm)
I've written about this quite often over the years, so the following is a cut and paste job from several of my previous posts:
When I started turning wrenches on cars back in the 1970s, 3000 miles was a good time to do an oil change. What with inefficient carburetors, leaded fuel and by today’s standards VERY low-tech dino-juice in the crankcase, a car of that era could easily expect to see the far side of 100K miles. In my case, my 1966 Valiant with the 225 Slant-Six went 211K on the original motor before I rebuilt it (it burned oil) and my 1970 Dodge Challenger with the venerable 340 made it to 187K when it was stolen.
Fast forward 35 years and we now have very clean burning fuel (less particulate matter to suspend in the oil), electronic systems to manage the fuel injection and ignition timing to make the combustion process even cleaner (even less particulate matter to suspend in the oil) and even good old dino-juice has been beefed up to last longer and protect better. What does that all add up to? Longer intervals between oil changes.
Now consider the current crop of BMW engines:
These engines are efficient enough to be certificated as Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) or better, which reduces the combustion byproducts and as a result reduces the particulate matter that the oil must hold in suspension, yielding even longer oil change intervals.
BMW is using synthetic oil right from the factory; said oil has far greater abilities to keep contaminates in suspension with no appreciable loss in lubricity. Couple that with the ability of Synthetic oil to shrug off the effects of water (older Dino Juice used to react with water and form acids) without any loss in lubricity, and you have an oil that can withstand longer oil change intervals without ANY additional engine wear. Yup, you guessed it, the OCIs just got longer again.
BMW has also seen fit to nearly double the amount of oil the engine holds in its sump when compared to other comparably sized engines. Twice the oil means twice the already prodigious capacity of synthetic oil to hold particulate matter in suspension, lower oil temperatures (spends more time in the sump cooling), fewer passes through the oil galleries getting the #$*^%~! beat out of it, and a much greater margin of error for low oil. I could say it again but you get the idea.
Modern engine oil (once again, specifically Synthetic) is far more stable in extreme environments (high engine temps, high RPMs and extreme cold) than conventional oil, as such, it breaks down at a FAR slower rate when compared to the old stuff. Ditto on the OCI thing.
If all of this is not enough, when I was working for MBUSA in the mid 1990s, MB was testing a number of cars with Synthetic oil (IIRC they were W210 E-Class cars marked as E420s with the new three valve, twin spark 4.3 liter V8 engines that ultimately wound up in the E430s). A few of those cars only had the oil changed when the chemical analysis of the oil indicated that it was starting to degrade below acceptable minimums. Do you know what the average mileage was between changes on those cars turned out to be? Glad you asked, 25,000 miles.
Based upon the above items, I would not be surprised if the oil in latest generations of ULEV and ULEV-II certified BMW engines could last 30,000 miles under normal driving conditions. Having said that, I will not be the first to raise my hand to try and find out, 15,000 miles is just fine by me.
#2337 of 5349 Re: 2006 330i mileage [sunilb]
Sep 27, 2005 (8:39 pm)
Hmmm, 24 mpg in mixed use and 24 on the highway. What were you doing on the highway, 130? My first gut reaction is that your tire pressure is low, or your roof rack is enormous, or you are driving around in third gear. Under the assumption that I'm way off on these three, I would consider asking for a free re-flash (I’m thinking that they’ll be far more likely to do it for free if you are also doing something like the Service-II at 60K miles or something like that). Your car and my former 530i have essentially the same engine, mine with a much later flash than yours is likely to have and I was able to easily coax 30 mpg out of it (I just had to keep it over 70 and under 80). At this point I wouldn't worry too much about losing performance, by now the code for the former 3.0 liter mill should be pretty stable.
#2338 of 5349 Re: 2006 330i mileage [timny]
Sep 27, 2005 (8:51 pm)
"A friend of mine has the previous model 530 and gets mileage close to 28 he tells me. That blows my mind. I know the engine in the E90 has a little more juice to it, but the 330i's a much lighter car, isn't it? So I agree with you -- if anything, I should be getting better mileage (or at least mileage closer to what BMW says I should!)"
Interestingly enough, while the E39 530i is definitely a larger car (almost three more inches in wheelbase and 10 inches in overall length), it only weighs in at a scant 77 pounds more than the new E90 330i. Go figure.
The reason that I believe that the mileage on the new E90 should be measurably better than what I got on my E39 is because the new engine does not have a throttle body. Your engine simply "throttles" the valves, and as such, most engineering reports indicate that at any given throttle setting, (i.e. any given amount of air and fuel), the new engine should produce something like 18-20% more power (or economy if you are tooling along at a nice steady speed). Unfortunately I seem to have been expecting much greater mileage from the new line of engines than folks seem to be getting. I'm at a loss to explain how the extra power at any given throttle setting does not in actuality translate to better economy. Having said that, I absolutely believe that you should easily be able to see 30 if not more on a trip. Don't forget, most of my 30+ mpg trips were from southern New Hampshire (just north of Boston), down through your neck of the woods, across the Throgs Neck Bridge and out into Long Island, so if my 5er could do it, your 3er should most certainly be able to do it.
#2339 of 5349 Re: 2006 330i mileage [shipo]
Sep 28, 2005 (5:21 am)
Don't forget, most of my 30+ mpg trips were from southern New Hampshire (just north of Boston), down through your neck of the woods, across the Throgs Neck Bridge and out into Long Island, so if my 5er could do it, your 3er should most certainly be able to do it.
Well, then, I will definitely speak to my service department if matters don't improve in the coming weeks. I was a little more heavy-footed on the drive home yesterday, and did see a 0.2 mpg improvement (not much of an improvement but better than a loss!).
#2340 of 5349 Service for BMW
Sep 28, 2005 (5:26 am)
As I posted before, I've heard the dealer's line about "the car will tell you when it needs service" (e.g., 16,000 miles for first oil change). What about regular "tune-ups" and inspections, etc. The dealer didn't tell me anything about that schedule, nor is it anywhere in my manual, etc. 10,000? 20,000? 30,000? Anyone know?
(2006 330i and 2005 X3).
#2341 of 5349 Re: Service for BMW [timny]
Sep 28, 2005 (5:32 am)
Try 100,000 miles before the first tune-up.
Your cars need oil service every 15K. The major Services (I, II, III & IV) occur every 30K mles. You will also need to take them in for a brake system flush every other year and a cooling system flush every 3 or 4 years (I don't remember which). IIRC, the information you seek is somewhere in the packet of manuals that you got with each car, I just don't remember where.
#2343 of 5349 Adaptive Headlamps - 330i - strange question
Sep 28, 2005 (6:15 am)
Something "odd" I notice about the headlamps on the new 330i
Let the following represent the headlight configuration (i.e., if you were facing the car's grill, the headlamps would be numbered left to right as 1, 2, 3,4):
1 2 3 4
- if I push the appropriate column lever forward to hold the "brights", the lamps 1 and 4 illuminate with greater intensity (as expected), but 2 and 3 do not come on at all
- if I pull the appropriate column lever towards me (i.e., to "flash" the "brights"), lamps 2 and 3 illuminate, while 1 and 4 remain the same
What I find odd about this is as follows:
- lamps 2 and 3 are not xenon (should they be?)
- lamps 2 and 3 do not illumniate when the I put on the "brights" (shouldn't all four lamps be on when the 'brights" are on?)
#2344 of 5349 Re: Extra oil changes... [shipo]
Sep 28, 2005 (7:11 am)
Shipo, looks like you were spoiled by those old Chrysler products . The old Slant-6 was virtually indestructable, and was a 100K+ engine even if you left the old oil in it indefinitely. And other engines of theirs were similarly over-engineered for the times. Even to this day, if you drive around and look at some of the old "beaters" on the road, most of them seem to me to be old land-cruiser Plymouth Furies and such.
Sep 28, 2005 (7:15 am)
1 and 4 are your bi-xenons and rotate left/right for adaptive lighting. These lights have a 'cover' that reduces lighting for regular lighting conditions. When brights are activated, the 'cover' is removed, allowing the full power of the bi-xenons to shine forward. You're thinking in terms of halogen 4 bulb systems.
2 and 3 are your halogen bulbs used for daytime running lights and flash to pass.
That is how it is supposed to be.