The importance of Oil Services
In the realm of European cars, oil service intervals can be a somewhat touchy subject. Some makes state the oil needs to be changed every 10,000 miles, some even 15,000 miles! Former ways of thinking would even say mileage intervals of as low at 3,000. So, who’s right, and why are there so many differences?
To approach this from a logical stand point, let’s look at the engine oil’s actual role in your BMW. It doesn’t just protect the rotating ballet of internal metal pieces from grinding to a halt. Oil now has multiple purposes, it pulls heat away from the engine through oil coolers, it is used as hydraulic pressure to move variable camshafts, and it absorbs dirt, moisture, combustion chamber blow by debris, AND of course, it protects the engine. With all of these roles, oil is being pushed to its limits on a daily basis and broken down. While the actual properties of the oil may not have broken down by mileage, what about all its other jobs? Has it absorbed moisture and become too thin to protect? Has it absorbed too much fuel blow by to properly apply pressure to needed components? Has it gotten so dirt laden, that it’s leaving deposits of a tar like goo on everything inside the engine? Some of the passages inside the engine have become the size of a mechanical pencil lead, and it would take very little debris to stop the flow in its tracks.
When it comes down to it, the average vehicle is the second most expensive investment someone makes in their lifetime, and taking care of that investment is the best way to get the maximum life from it, and therefore the best return on that investment. Simple routine oil services for your BMW, are one of the most inexpensive ways to insure that investment has a long living power plant under the hood. Along with performing an oil and filter service on your vehicle, most high quality workshops will also inspect your entire BMW to give you peace of mind that you will be traveling along safely, and if something is noticed, give you an estimate on those repairs that are needed, so that you as the owner of the vehicle will be informed as to its current condition and needs.
Pictured with this article, is unfortunately not an extreme example of engine oil sludge, and it has become more common. This is a 2006 BMW 325i, it currently has 90,000 and was on its 6th, yes sixth, oil change, because according to BMW, this vehicle only requires service once every 15,000 miles. In its current state, the engine is basically on life support. It was still running, poorly, but running. Several malfunctions were stored in the engine’s on board monitoring system, and the root cause of all of these failures were, oil sludge. Simply increasing the oil service interval could have easily stopped this level of damage from happening, and kept this vehicle on the road much longer.
Determining who is “right” about oil service intervals can be almost impossible to pinpoint, and it seems everyone has an opinion, but one thing for sure, performing the service earlier than the 10,000, or 15,000 miles will never damage anything on your prized investment.
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