BMW E36 Blog

What type of oil should I use for my BMW E36?

22nd April 2007

What type of oil should I use for my BMW E36?

Hi Guys,

 

Oil types make me feel sick because I usually don’t understand them. What weight is better?! operating temperature! thick oils and how this will affect the performance and the age of my engine. Anyway, today I felt like reading about these stuff to make sure I won’t feel sick next time I hear someone talking about this. I think you should read this article because it will definitely add something to your knowledge that you just didn’t learn (well, or hear about before). The article was found here. Thanks Cary for the article (the author).

 

 

Disclaimer: Use this info at your own risk!! I’m not responsible for your mistakes man! :D

1) New BMW’s require synthetic oil. As far as weight, only certain production dates of M3’s and M5’s require the use of Castrol TWS 10w-60.

 

2) The Factory BMW Synth 5w-30 is a version of Castrol TXT Softect sold overseas. A few important things about the BMW oil:

  1. It is a Group III hydrocracked oil which cannot be called synthetic in Europe.

  2. It is a heavy 30 weight (30 weight can run from 9.3-12.5cst@100c, the BMW oil is about 12.2cst).

  3. It is a ACEA A3 oil which means that it is approved for longer change intervals and has a HTHS (High Temperature High Shear) measured at 150c of greater than 3.5.

3) In the US, the only Group IV PAO Synthetics that are available are

  1. Mobil 1.

  2. Amsoil (but not the Xl-7500).

  3. Royal Purple.

  4. German Castrol 0w-30 (it has the red label and says on the back, “Made in Germany). Redline is a Group V PolyEster based oil. All other Castrol, Quaker State, Pennzoil, Valvoline “synthetics” are a Group III hydrocracked oil. It is debated how much better Group IV base oils are than group III, but generally they are considered better.

4) When looking for oil for any BMW that does not require Castrol TWS 10w-60, you want to purchase an oil that has either/both of the following ratings:

  1. ACEA A3.

  2. BMW LL-98 or LL-01.

5) Note that Mobil 1 0w-30, 5w-30, and 10w-30 are NOT ACEA A3 or BMW LL approved oils. This is because they all are thin 30 weight oils (approximately 9.8-10 CST@ 100c) and have HTHS of approximately 3.1. Mobil 1 0w-40 and 15w-50 are A3 rated and the Ow-40 is BMW LL-01 approved. For 99% of climates and users 0w-40 or 5w-40 is the appropriate grade. There are some 0w-30 and 5w-30 oils (like the BMW 5w-30) that are formulated on the heavier end of the 30 weight scale and are accordingly rated A3. These oils will work well also. LOOK FOR THAT ACEA A3 rating. If the oil doesn’t have it, pass on it.

 

6) Some people seem confused about how oil thickness is measured. The first number (0W, 5w, 10w, 15w, etc) is a measurement of how thick the oil is at temperatures of -35c- -20c (depends on the grade). The lower this first number the thinner the oil is at LOW temperatures. The second number (30, 40, 50) refers to oil thickness at 100c (operating temperature). 30 weight can be from 9.3-12.5 cst, 40 weight from 12.6-16.2 cst, 50 weight from 16.3-22cst (approximate). So you can have two oils, one called a 5w-30 (i.e. bmw oil) another 0w-40 (Mobil 1) that are very similar thicknesses at operating temperature. Compare this to Mobil 1 Xw-30 which is close to a 20 weight oil at 100c.

 

7) BMW’s recommended interval of 12,000-15,000 miles is too long. Used oil analysis has shown the BMW oil is generally depleted at 10,000 miles. Running it longer results in excess wear. It is highly recommended that you change your oil once between each BMW recommended interval (approx 7000-7500 miles). If you want to run your oil the BMW recommended interval, I would suggest that you use Mobil 1 0w-40 or Amsoil 5w-40 and change the oil filter at 7500 miles. I would encourage a full oil change at 7500 if you want your engine to last.

 

8) If you want to spend a few hours learning about oil, go to www.bobistheoilguy.com! But it’s like a different language…. so which one do you suggest if you were going to change your oil?

 

 

Unless you have an M3, in the following order:

 

  1. Mobil 1 0w-40.

  2. Mobil 1 0w-40, and

  3. Mobil 1 0w-40.

 

If you can’t find the 0w-40, the Mobil 1 SUV 5w-40 is a great oil. Can’t find either of these, then go to your dealer and get the BMW 5w-30.

 

The Mobil 1 0w-40 is a great oil, widely available (Walmart, Checker, Kragen, Autozone), and moderately priced. It is factory fill in Mercedes AMG, Porsche, and Austin Martin.

Wait for more from . . . BMW E36 Blog

 

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Best regards,

Tony Sticks.

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