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Why Using the Right Engine Oil Matters for Your BMW (2023 update)

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

BMW is known for engineering some of the best cars in the world, and part of owning a BMW is ensuring that it receives the proper care and maintenance. One of the most important aspects of maintaining your BMW is using the correct engine oil.

BMW recommended oil

There are many engine oils out there. From original BMW engine oils, to the cheap stuff at the auto parts store. BMW engines are engineered with specific engine oils in mind. BMW recommends using a high-quality BMW approved synthetic engine oil that meets the standards set by the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) and the American Petroleum Institute (API). In general, BMW recommends using an engine oil with a viscosity of 0W-20, 0W-30 on current cars, while some older models may need 5W-30 or 10W-60.

BMW has used Castrol oil in its vehicles for many years, but it stopped using it as the recommended lubricant in 2014 when Shell took over the contract. Castrol oil was based on Castrol EDGE, a full synthetic oil that met the specifications of BMW engines.

BMW engine oil by engine

2023 and Newer Engines:

  • B58N : 0W-12 (LL22FE+)

2014 and Newer Engines:

  • B46, B58C, B58D, B58M, N20, N26, B48, B38, B36, XB1H, XB2H, XB1G : 0W-20 (LL17FE+)

  • N54, N54T, N55, S63TU, S63R, S63M, S68T, S55, S58T, W20, N63TU, N63R, N63M, N63B N74, XB4 : 0W-30 (LL01FE)

  • Diesel Engines N47, N57, B57 : 0W-30 (LL12FE)

2002 to 2013 Gasoline and Diesel Engines:

  • N20, N26, N51, N52K, N52T, N54, N54T, N55, S63, S63TU, S55, W20, N63, N63TU, N74, W20, B38, N74, XB4 : 0W-30 (LL01FE)

  • Diesel Engines N47, N57, B57 : 0W-30 (LL12FE)

2002 and Older Engines:

  • All gasoline engines except motorsport: 5W-30 (LL01)

  • All diesel engines: 5W-30 (LL04)

S54, S65 and S85 Motorsport engines:

  • 10W-60

Classic BMW Engines:

  • M10, M20, M30, M42, M44, M50, M50TU, M52, M52TU, M54, M60, M62, M62TU, M70, M73 : 5W-30 (LL01)

Using the correct engine oil is important for several reasons. First and foremost, the right engine oil will help to keep your BMW's engine running smoothly and efficiently. It can also help to reduce wear and tear on the engine, keep the check engine light off and can even improve fuel economy.

Why is synthetic motor oil better for my BMW?

In general, synthetic motor oil is considered to be better than conventional motor oil because it is designed to provide superior performance and protection for the engine. Synthetic motor oil is made using a synthetic base oil, which is chemically engineered to provide improved performance compared to conventional motor oil.

Synthetic motor oil is better at maintaining its viscosity at high temperatures, which means it can flow more easily and provide better protection for the engine. Speaking of high temperatures, check out our article about BMW engine overheating causes and repairs. It is also better at resisting breakdown and can last longer than conventional motor oil, which means you can go longer between oil changes.

Additionally, synthetic motor oil is better at protecting against engine wear and reducing friction, which can help to improve fuel economy and extend the life of the engine. It is also better at protecting against sludge and other contaminants, which can help to keep the engine clean and running smoothly.

Synthetic motor oil is generally considered to be better than conventional motor oil because it provides superior performance and protection for the engine. While it may be more expensive than conventional motor oil, the improved performance and longer oil life can make it a worthwhile investment.

Engine oil containers during oil change in San Diego

Do diesel engines need different oil?

Diesel engines do require a different type of oil than gasoline engines. Diesel engines typically use a type of oil known as diesel engine oil, which is specifically designed for use in diesel engines.

Diesel engine oil is different from gasoline engine oil in a few key ways. First, diesel engine oil is formulated to provide superior protection against the higher combustion temperatures and pressures that are common in diesel engines. It is also designed to provide better protection against the formation of soot and other contaminants, which are more common in diesel engines due to the nature of the fuel.

Additionally, diesel engine oil is designed to provide better protection against wear and tear on the engine. Diesel engines are typically built to handle higher loads and operate under more severe conditions than gasoline engines, so the oil needs to be able to withstand these conditions.

How often should I change my BMW's oil?

In addition to using the correct engine oil, it's also important to follow the manufacturer's recommended oil change intervals. BMW recommends changing the engine oil and filter every 10,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first, on current models. We recommend a more frequent interval of 5,000 miles. If you're in the San Diego Area, we're happy to change your BMW's oil. Check out our BMW Service Specials.

Oil change service in San Diego

What happens if I skip an oil service?

Skipping an oil change can cause a variety of problems for your vehicle. Over time, engine oil becomes contaminated with dirt, debris, and other contaminants, and it can also break down due to heat and friction. If the oil is not changed regularly, these contaminants and breakdown products can build up and cause damage to the engine. This is known as sludge build up.

One of the most common problems caused by skipping an oil change is engine wear. When the oil becomes contaminated or begins to break down, it is less effective at lubricating the engine and protecting against wear. This can cause the engine's moving parts to rub against each other, which can cause damage and reduce the engine's performance and efficiency.

Skipping an oil change can also cause the engine to run hotter than it should. When the oil becomes dirty or begins to break down, it is less effective at removing heat from the engine. This can cause the engine to run at higher temperatures, which can lead to overheating and can cause damage to the engine.

In addition, skipping an oil change can cause the engine to lose power and efficiency. As the oil becomes dirty and begins to break down, it can cause the engine to become less efficient and can reduce its power output. This can make the vehicle less responsive and can reduce its overall performance.

A clean BMW 328i N20 valvetrain during valve cover replacement in San Diego

Using the correct engine oil and following the manufacturer's recommended oil change intervals is essential for maintaining the performance and longevity of your BMW's engine. By using high-quality synthetic engine oil and staying on top of regular oil changes, you can help to ensure that your BMW continues to run smoothly and reliably for years to come. And while we're on the subject of running smoothly, check out our posts about BMW spark plug replacement , BMW valve covers and valve cover gaskets and "BMW Autohaus or BMW Werkstatt".

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