2009 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test

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2009 BMW M3: Another Quart of Oil, Please

January 11, 2010

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Ever since I got the keys to the M3 last week, I've noticed that the car has been queuing up its various electronic one-quart-low engine oil warnings (as previously detailed previously by Mike here.) This is, of course, not the first time we've had to top off the oil level with an additional quart. Just last month Scott added a quart at 13,004 miles.

My intention was to add just one-half of a quart of oil, but due to my initial unfamiliarity with the M3's oil monitoring system, I ended up adding a full quart. What happened: I first added half-a-quart and fired up the car. The engine oil sensor is always a bit finicky; you have to wait for it to give a readout, like when you're booting up a computer or something. When a reading came up, it was showing an oil level nearly the same as it was before I added the quart. Hmm. Worried that the oil level might have been way low, I shut 'er off and added the rest of the quart.

bmw_lowoil2.jpg This time, though, I drove around some more and waited longer. And at this second measuring, the M3's sensor showed that a full quart had been added, with the engine oil level now at the top hash mark. Interestingly, the owner's manual has this to say: [When oil level down to minimum] "Add engine oil at the next opportunity, but no more than 1 US quart. Add at least .05 US quart, otherwise the oil-level monitor will be unable to display the value reliably. " So there you have it.

Also, there was some commenting back-and-forth from Erin's oil change post about where to buy oil. Like Erin, I ended up getting a quart of Castrol 10W-60 at my local BMW dealer (10W-60 wasn't at Walmart). It was still expensive, though considerably cheaper at Weber BMW of Fresno than BMW of Santa Monica: $14.16 versus $20.87.

In other news, it occurred to me that we haven't had our M3 serviced since its first service back at 1,400 miles. According to the car's iDrive, we've got about another 1,300 miles before we're due for an oil change.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 15,046 miles

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