Changing your oil is a necessary part of routine maintenance for any car. While most car owners can get away with a cheap $15.95 oil change from their local repair shop, BMW owners are often charged upwards of $100 at a reputable shop. My local BMW dealer charges $109.95 for an oil change special on the E39. To be fair, some BMW filters can be a little more expensive and most modern models require fully synthetic oil in larger than normal quantities.
Let’s take for example my 2001 530i, a humble 3.0 liter 6 cylinder engine. The m54 engine requires 7.0 quarts of 0W40 oil and a new paper filter cartridge. Since oil containers are sold in 5 quart jugs here in the US, you’ll need to pick up at least two jugs for the first oil change. Your second oil change of the year will cost less as you’ll have some leftover oil, assuming you don’t leak or consume any throughout the year.
The Oil and Filter
The oil I use and recommend for the M54 engine is a Castrol Edge full synthetic oil in 0W40 which currently retails at an amazing low price of $22.97 for a 5 quart jug. It’s even made in Germany, what a treat. With two jugs of Castrol and a filter for $7.25, that puts you at a grand total of $53.19 before tax. You’ll also need some oil change supplies such as gloves and a container to catch the old oil.
The Oil Change
Changing the oil will take about 30 minutes for the experienced DIY’er and maybe closer to an hour if it’s your first time. Changing the oil will require raising the car up safely on jack stands or ramps so you can access the drain plug from the oil pan under the car. Some models also require removal of plastic belly pans to access the drain plug. Below is a complete tutorial video I recorded, detailing the process step-by-step.