2002 BMW M3: False Positive
February 02, 2009
I was enjoying a carefree weekend with our long-term 2002 BMW M3 -- nothing demanding, really, I was just keeping an easy pace and taking care to baby the aging six-speed Getrag gearbox . And that's about when the amber "low oil" light came on two miles from my apartment. It stayed on until I shut the car off.
There was a quart of the M3's preferred 10W60 synthetic in the backseat, but when I picked up the bottle, less than a half-pint was left. It was 6 p.m. on Sunday and I had evening plans, so I rushed to the nearest auto parts store. They didn't have 10W60, so I was forced to buy one of the two allowed alternatives per the owner's manual: 10W40.
Meanwhile, the low oil light had extinguished in the M3. I let the car sit for 40 minutes after returning home, and when I pulled the dipstick, the oil level was perfectly fine -- smack in the middle. Thanks, car.
So what we did learn here? Not a lot, but if I owned an E46 BMW M3, I'd keep a case of 10W60 on hand just to avoid running around on Sunday nights.
P.S. Ignore the brake wear warning light on the right side of the cluster. The brakes work extremely well, but the stock brake pad wear sensor has never been quite pleased since the installation of our Stoptech big brake kit.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 67,063 miles