2002 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test


2002 BMW M3: Has a refined Palate.

March 13, 2008



Driving our Long Term BMW M3 the other night, a warning flashed across the pixelated display. It was the M3 after all, so naturally my brain assumed it was the traction control giving me a stern warning. It wasn't, low oil -- not low traction-- was the culprit.

M3's are known to burn a little oil, especially if you really drive 'em so it was no real surprise... I manually checked the fluid and it was low. Driveable, sure, but the full potential of our 8,000rpm inline-6 would have to be saved for another day.

The plan was to hit Kragen, buy oil, refill and then play. I'd be back on the road to funsville in no time.

Except that Kragen didn't have the Castrol TWS 10w-60 in stock. Neither did Autozone or the other Kragen. As the big-name retailers weren't going to have such a rare vintage, my only option was to go home and sleep until I could find a BMW dealership. (Truthfully, here in SoCal, I'm surprised a 24-hour BMW parts department doesn't exist.)

The next day, with time to kill, I stopped by BMW of Bakersfield to check their inventory. I bought four-liters (crazy brand, not using the traditional quart) at $10.25 per. Our M3 took 3/4 of a liter before the level was acceptable. A reserve bottle is now netted safely in the trunk to prevent future lack of fun.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 53,000 miles

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