You Can’t Check it Yourself Anymore. Check the Dash!
Written by: Bradley Hayes
Automotive Blogger & Director of Marketing, Autoscope European Car Repair
BMW Low Oil Level Sensors Have Replaced Traditional Dipsticks
BMW has eliminated the oil level dipstick from under the hood, replacing it with a sensor in the oil pan (the shaded part in the figure). The sensor should warn you if the oil level inside the oil-pan drops below the safe level. This amount is calculated by the engineers who designed the engines, not the accountants who decide how long you can drive your car without changing or checking the oil. Another note to consider, these electronic level indicators do fail with regular frequency.
BMW wants you to believe that you can drive your car 15,000 miles before you change the engine oil and you never have to change your transmission oil. Does that seem reasonable you?
Did you know that BMW states that all their cars have an oil consumption rate of 1 quart for every 800-900 miles? The illogical part of this equation is a 15,000-mile oil interval change with a capacity of 7.5 quarts in the oil pan for some models.
Following this formula, you would completely run out of every drop of oil in your oil pan at 8,000 miles. That is about half of the recommended 15,000-mile oil change interval. Not to mention, the fact that the oil pump will not be able to pick up any oil well before the 5th quart is depleted. The result is a bad engine, in need of a major and a very expensive overhaul. To solve this problem, you would need an oil pan that has a capacity of almost 20 quarts. The average BMW hold only 8 quarts. Now that’s a recipe for disaster!
Continuing with the aforementioned lifetime fluids…how long is the “lifetime”? Manufacturers generally regard “lifetime” 8 to 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, be warned, if you plan on keeping your car more than five years, do not follow the manufacturers’ maintenance plan. to avoid huge repair bills, Autoscope recommends 7,500-mile oil changed with synthetic fluids and 3,500 miles with petroleum based fluids.
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