Checking the oil on your BMW may seem like the simplest maintenance task you could perform. The motor oil can be thought of as your car’s lifeblood. Just like your own blood, you want to make sure it’s in good condition and is protecting the engine and all of those components properly.
The older oil is, the more it can break down. It will also collect grime, almost microscopic metal shavings, and other debris that comes from the cylinders, spark plugs, and more. When it gets too old it’s no longer effective at protecting all of those sensitive components, especially under high stress and heat.
Checking the oil is considered a quick and simple job that should be done every time you fill up the gas tank. Below are a few things to keep in mind when checking your BMW’s oil.
Make sure the vehicle is on a flat surface.
If the car is on a slope angled upward or downward, it’s going to affect the oil level. If the vehicle is facing uphill, even slightly, it’s likely going to register a lower level than it actually is. This could cause you to add oil unnecessarily.
Just as it’s dangerous to have too little oil, too much oil can cause serious damage to the engine as well.
Make sure the engine is warm, but not hot.
Checking oil when it is cold is not going to give the proper reading. Also, checking the oil right after you return home from a four hour trip can be potentially dangerous.
Let the engine cool for a little while and that will allow the oil to cool down as well.
Wait a few minutes after you have stopped the engine.
Another reason it’s good to wait to check the oil is it may take time for the oil in the cylinders and other components in the engine to drip down into the pan.
Understand the dipstick.
On most dipsticks there is a low and high mark. Anywhere in between that reading is considered safe for driving. If the oil is hovering around the low mark or is below it, add half a quart or litre of oil at a time and then recheck. If the oil level indicates it’s above the fill line, you may need to drain some of it.
When you add oil to your BMW’s engine, use a funnel, have rags handy, and try not to spill any. Spilling oil on the outside of the engine can cause damage to hoses, belts, and other components. It can also cause smoking when the engine is hot.
If you don’t quite feel comfortable checking your oil, bring it to an authorized BMW service center to have it checked on a regular basis.