BMW drivers, you have a problem. And while shelling out anywhere from $150 to $250 for an oil change may not be a big deal to you, it doesn’t have to be that way. Do your own BMW oil changes yourself in less than one hour, and you can save up to $100 on every oil change. Just a few simple tools, the right oil and filters, and a willingness to get a little dirty is all you’ll need. Plus, you can avoid stale dealership coffee and uncomfortable waiting room chairs while you’re at it.
Determining Your BMW Oil Weight
While most modern BMW models take 5w-20 full synthetic oil, be sure to know your BMW’s oil type before you get started. There are several places to look to find your BMW oil weight. The oil cap under the hood is the easiest place to look, but your owner’s manual should also tell you what you need. If nothing else, check your last oil change sticker and it will usually indicate the oil type used in your engine. Using the correct weight oil in your BMW oil change is important, as your engine is engineered with a specific oil weight for a reason. Too heavy and the oil may not be able to reach all the engine parts that need lubrication. Too thin and your engine oil won’t properly coat internal parts, causing harmful friction and wear.
Finding the Right Filter
Unfortunately, getting the right oil filter is much less clear. Different manufacturers and brands use different part numbers, making it hard to find an easy answer. Thankfully, online marketplaces like FCPEuro make oil change kits that include both the oil and filter in one convenient package. You’ll start by selecting the BMW model you own, and oil change packages for that specific model will be shown. This makes it easy to know that you’re getting the right stuff for your BMW.
Why not let the dealership handle your BMW oil change?
There is nothing wrong with letting the dealership handle your BMW oil change. Most dealerships are using quality parts based on OEM recommendations. The only problem with having the dealership change your oil is the cost. The cost of a BMW oil change at the dealership ranges from $120 to $250, depending on your engine. Meanwhile, oil change kits cost anywhere from $70 to $110, meaning you’ll save $50 to $140 each time you need the service. At 20,000 miles per year and 5,000-mile oil changes, you can save up to $560 each year you own your BMW.
What you’ll need to change your own oil
First, you’ll need a way to get your BMW off the ground. A jack and jack stands are the most reliable choice, but ramps can work as well. Just make sure you have the ground clearance you’ll need first. You’ll also need a good socket set and an oil filter wrench. The socket set should be metric, and a 1/2-inch drive. This ensures that the ratchet will also fit your filter wrench. You’ll also need a drain pan to catch the old oil.
Understanding your oil capacity is important. You BMW M6 drivers will need a nine-liter drain pan, while those with newer 3 Series models will need just six quarts of volume. Choose something wide. Oil flow changes as it drains, so simply using a bottle won’t allow you to catch all of the old oil. First, be sure the old oil is drained and the new filter and drain bolt are installed. Grab a funnel to help get your fresh oil into the engine. Finally, be sure to wear gloves and keep several microfiber towels around. This will help to clean up any spills before starting the engine.
Have fun with it!
Even if you find the process of your own BMW oil change daunting at first, you’ll notice that it isn’t as hard as it seems. Plus, it is incredibly rewarding to take control over the care of your vehicle. Who knows, you may even enjoy it enough to take on other car care tasks without help from the dealership. In any case, saving money on quality car care is always a good decision. And you’ll get to pick up a new skill along the way.