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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 04-27-2004, 06:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi -

I'm new to the BMW world as of last fall when I bought a '96 328IS. I'm no rookie to cars/engines as I have been building them for 5 years and driving for 15 years. I've changed the oil at 3000 miles in every car I have ever owned and now that I own this car I am completely in awe.

I was told that the oil needed to be changed only when the Oil Service lights (gree-to-yellow-to-red) indicated so. Looking back into the service records of the car from the previous owner who has owned the car since it was new (i'm the 2nd owner), the oil was serviced by the local BMW dealer in her area every 9000-13000 miles!

As I understand it, the factory calls for a non-synthetic oil. How on earth can the electronic algarythm that determines your driving style be programmed to request oil change on non-synthetic oil at 13,000 miles!

Is this expected for this car? I don't understand. Please Help.

Thanks,

Matt
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Old 04-27-2004, 07:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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mine says about 7500 miles
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Old 04-27-2004, 07:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Matt,
Are you sure the car calls for standard oil? I think the 96 should have a synthetic fill. It should say in the manual and in the engine compartment on the fan shroud. I change the oil every 4K miles on my 01 E39.
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Old 04-27-2004, 11:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I change my filter every green bar and the oil every other green bar.
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Old 04-27-2004, 11:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I never follow the maintenance manual.
I always change normal grade oil (20W50) and filter every 4000 kms (2500 mi).
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Old 04-28-2004, 09:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Change mine every 6-7k miles the service lights are usually half to 3/4 gone
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Old 04-28-2004, 11:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Wow! I'm surprised I guess that nobody has followed BMW's advice. I know from my own experience that frequent oil changes has always proven to be valuable, but I guess I put more stock in a real car manufacturer such as BMW. Perhaps I put in too much.

Thanks for the advice!

I'll be more careful in the future.
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Old 04-28-2004, 02:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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When you get the recommended oil (ask BMW dealer), you can follow the lights on the dash. I'd tink the BMW engineers did a lot of research and you should thrust their experiences.
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Old 04-28-2004, 02:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My '98 328iS goes around 9K before the lights are off. My logic on this topic was the car manufacturers want your car to wear out so you'll by another car, but the lube places (who recommend changing at 3K) want to sell more oil. So, I figured I'd meet them about half way, and usually change my oil and filter about half way through the green lights (~4,500 miles) and again when indicated by the lights.

OK, so it's not quite half way, but it makes me feel better.

I've also heard people just change the filter at half-way and both the oil and filter when the indicator indicates.

I'm buddies with a BMW master tech, and he says that if you use synthetic oil (as recommended) you shouldn't have to do anything until the service indicator says so. Then, when asked what he does on his BMW, he says he does it at the mid point of the service interval as well. So go figure.

The only thing it hurts to do it more often is a little bit in your wallet, I figure.

Also, it's definitely better to use synthetic oil, whether it's recommended or not.

My $0.02.
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Old 04-28-2004, 02:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i never pay attention to the SI, i change the oil ususally long before it states to. i think in miles it would be near every 3000miles
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Old 04-28-2004, 05:12 PM   #11 (permalink)
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im going to start using synthetic... i cahnge every 3k now

how often should i change with mobil 1
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Old 04-28-2004, 06:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I have a 1995 318is with 90k on it. I change my oil (Synthetic) and filter every 3000 miles. I drive alot so i figure i better take care of my car.
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Old 04-28-2004, 07:31 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I use castrol gtx and I change oil and filter, using bmw filter, every 3k miles. Service ligjt is calibrated to that the green goes out after 7k and that's when you "should" change oil. However, why would you change the oil less on a bmw than almost any other car? Makes no sense to me.
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Old 04-28-2004, 07:37 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Ciscokid, you should change synthetic around 6k-7k depending on driving style, of course, but that goes for all cars and types of oils.

I thought the indicator lights went out based on calculations done by the car such as miles average speed things like that. Am I wrong?
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Old 04-29-2004, 03:11 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Charles C summed it up nicely.

just know that when you ask this type of question to 50 people, you can expect 50 different answers. :P
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