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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Oil Service

During the months of June and July the E46 came out of hibernation to serve as my daily driver while I completed the E36 front suspension overhaul project. I really didn't want to keep the car out in the scorching heat wave we've been having lately, but I bought the E46 to serve the role of a backup vehicle and did enjoy driving it every day for nearly two months straight.

Despite completing six oil services in the last 13900 miles the service indicator had never been reset so it was showing negative 475 miles before I finally managed to get the time to conduct the oil service today. That means the service indicator recommended the first oil service at around 13425 miles, which is, of course, an insanely high interval. I still recommend an absolute maximum of 7500 miles between oil services on all BMWs...not just E46s. For proof of the benefit of changing oil more frequently all you need to do is look at my E36's M52 that is still purring along at 225K miles with nothing more than routine maintainance. That is no accident.

Pitch black oil poured out of the M54 this time around but that didn't really surprise me given its age and mileage in service. I have traditionally refilled with six quarts and I know the M54 is is perfectly happy with that level under all street driving conditions. This time I refilled with seven quarts and will likely make this standard practice from now on because with six quarts I have found that the oil level idiot light is occasionally triggered during aggressive cornering.

When it came time to reset the service indicator I had to do a bit of research since I had never done it before. Fortunately, it turned out to be as simple as this:

  1. Press and hold the odometer reset button
  2. Insert the key in the ignition and turn to position 1
  3. Keep holding the odometer reset button until "Oil Service" appears. During this wait the first option called "test" will appear.
  4. Briefly release and then press and hold the odometer reset button again until the word "reset" appears. This may take a few seconds.
  5. Briefly release and then momentarily press the odometer reset button once again, and then wait. The display should eventually show "end". The service indicator is now reset.

Following this procedure the oil service indicator and mileage were no longer present but the inspection service indicator replaced it, showing the inspection due at 15545 miles. And yea, despite the car being two years out of warranty I expect to petition my dealer to pay for the Inspection anyway using good will money. I realize I could easily complete the inspection myself but my aim is to receive an inspection I paid for -- simply out of principle. Hint: free scheduled maintenance on BMWs isn't free...it's just built into the price of the car. Guess we'll find out if BMW will provide yet more justification for me to write the next check to Porsche.

To wrap things up I gave the car a bath and topped up the tire pressure on all four corners. The next service will involve a brake fluid flush, as that is now overdue. In order to perform that work I have to buy a couple scissor jacks and a set of flat top jacks.

Mileage: 13900, Parts: $45, Labor Saved: $100