We’re continuing our new series of “How-To” articles and today, we’re going to teach you the basics of changing the oil in your BMW, a simple DIY guide. Changing the oil of a BMW is quite simple and not much different to any other car. Forgetting to change your oil regularly may cause sludge to build up, reduce power and most important, damage your engine.

Some BMW use synthetic oils while others organic, but many BMW technicians recommend the synthetic oil due to several benefits: friction reduction – a reduction in engine wear, and it also helps improve fuel economy. Every 15,000 miles, BMW takes care of the service maintenance, but based on your driving habits, the display on your dashboard will announce you if the oil needs to be changed earlier. From my experience, 10,000 miles is the average for many BMWs.


  1. Park your BMW in a garage or in a place where you have space to maneuver around, outside is fine as well. As safety precautions, if you have a BMW equipped with manual transmission, place the car in gear and engage the parking brake. If you drive an automatic car, make sure the shift lever is placed in the parking position and once again, engage the parking brake. Many mechanics recommend to use wheel chokes to block the tires.
  2. You need some tools before you start the oil change process. Make sure you have handy an oil pan, socket and socket wrenches, and a flat head screwdriver.

Oil Change For Six Cylinder Engines

If you have a six cylinder engine, the oil filter housing is located in the front of the engine bay, near the intake manifold. I’m using the N52, N54 and M54 engines as examples. The older engines use a more traditional screw on the cartridge on the right side of the engine block.

With the M54 engine ( E36, E46, E60, E83, E85 series), a 32mm socket will unscrew the filter housing car, but if you have the N52/N54 engine ( E9x, E60, E61, E87, F01 series), then a special adapter is needed.

It is best to unscrew these housing caps first, so that the oil in the housing can drain out. Obviously, you need to open the filler cap and pull up the dipstick (if equipped). This will aid in the speed of the oil draining. After that, the oil pan plug just needs to be removed and the oil drained, this is a 17mm bolt somewhere on the oil pan. It’s pretty hard to miss it and it will be easier to find after some practice.

Oil Change For V8 Engines

The V8 engines are a little different. The M62 (E31, E38, E38, E53 series),  is similar to the six cylinder engine with a filter housing in the engine bay. The N62 (E60, E61,E63, E64, E65, E66 E53 X5 4.8iSA, E70 series), has everything located under the car. The filter housing is right next to the oil pan positioned vertically.

There is a 6mm hex screw at the bottom of the housing cap, so first thing you need to do is to unscrew it to let the oil drain out of the housing. The pan has an 8mm hex plug on it,  release this to drain the oil. The oil filter housing can be released with a 24mm socket and then you can proceed to change the oil filter and o-ring on your oil filler element cap.

The V10 and V112 are built the same way, so everything I have explained should apply.

As a final note, you should always change the o-rings and crush washer that came with your oil filter kit: the crush washer on the pan plug and the o-rings on the filter hosing. There is a large one and a small one.

I hope you enjoyed this mini guide and stay tuned for more.



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