BMWs are called “The Ultimate Driving Machine for a reason!  Every time you get behind the wheel, your BMW gives you the ride of your life.  To ensure your performance stays at optimal levels, proper BMW service & maintenance must be completed.

Why Is routine BMW service important?

First and foremost, maintaining your BMW is the best way to ensure your vehicle always feels amazing when you drive.  This alone should be enough motivation for even a causal petrolhead to stick the regular service intervals.

However, regular BMW service & maintenance appointments do more than just help you enjoy your ride, they also help protect your investment.  Even entry level BMW engines are high performance when compared to other vehicles.  High performance means you need to ensure your engine is maintained and other systems are periodically serviced to avoid a larger problem.

Read on to learn more about the importance of routine maintenance, and what specifically you should be considering for your BMW service routine!

An Ideal BMW Service Schedule

BMW engines can vary greatly based on your model and production year. However, with many engines designed by BMW, there are may similarities as well. Typically, most engines were in production for 5 to 8 years, and variations were used on various platforms. This also means many of the bolt on components were the same for various models, as long as they were in the same production range. Like all European vehicles, we recommend you only use OEM parts when something needs to be replaced.

Remember, although many of the components are interchangeable, many are not. This is why it is very important to get familiar with your owners manual, and find a local, trusted repair shop to work with.

At Melbourne Motorsports, we’ve been working on BMWs for decades!

Oil changes

BMW Engine Oil Cover

We know we just made sure to remind you to follow BMW guidelines for parts and service, but oil changes should be performed every 5,000 miles in BMWs regardless of the manufacturer’s claims of longer service intervals. Keep in mind if you get service before the recommended interval, your vehicle is much more likely to stay in great shape for years to come!

Many manufacturers have recently increased oil change intervals for the vehicles they product. However, to truly care for your engine – especially a high performance BMW engine – you need your oil changed more frequently. The motivation behind BMW increasing service intervals is to reduce the ownerships costs on paper so they sell more units.

So why do we recommend changing your BMW’s oil every 5,000 miles?

BMW’s oil distribution methods in the engine uses what is called a Vanos system. In most BMW models, it’s fairly common to have engine issues if the oil change schedule isn’t followed. Problems that can occur are almost endless, but specifically it can create problems with the PCV (crankcase pressure) system and problems with excessive oil consumption. Also, in many BMW models (especially in the 2007 to 2011 time frame oil leaks are very common.

Engine Inspections

On most late model BMWs, a full inspection of the vehicle is recommended approximately every 20,000 miles. Your car will alert via the CBS when this service is due.

This full BMW inspection requires about a few hours to complete and is more complicated than a simple visual inspection. It is a critical time to ensure you work with a trusted repair shop. Problems need to be identified and recommend service should be offered. Your mechanic should help you prioritize the work, and explain any questions you have.

Brake Fluid

You should flush your BMW’s brake fluid  every 30,000 miles or every 3 years, whichever comes first.  If you have a performance BMW or have built a track car, the brake fluid should be changed more often.

Brake fluid breaks down with time and use.  It if breaks down too far, you’ll lose pressure in the system.  This means you may go to press the brake expecting to stop, but your pedal goes right to the floor.

Many BMW owners update base models such as a 3 Series or X5 with cross drilled and slotted rotors and ceramic ages.  Not only do they increase your braking performance, they look great too!  Just remember, you need to build the brake lines anytime you remove and replace components.

BMW Brake Fluid

Air and Cabin Filters

BMW recommends changing the air and cabin filters every 20,000 miles. Your vehicle’s system notifies you when this service is due.

At MMS, we suggest inspecting the status of these filters every service to determine their health instead of replacing them solely upon mileage.  We always want what is best for our customers, and never try to sell anything that is not truly needed.  If your air filters look good, even at the 20,000 mile mark, we’ll let you know the service is not needed.

Why does BMW suggest air filters be inspected more than every 20,000 miles?

Air needs to pass through multiple systems to keep a functional engine. However, if the filters become clogged, air cannot pass properly through the engine, resulting in potential failure and engine problems.  Cabin air filter help keep the air you breath clean, which is important for your health!

BMW service

Coolant/Antifreeze Replacement

The only coolant or antifreeze to use in a BMW is blue in color.  You should never mix coolants for any reason.

Why does this matter?

There are a lot of reasons, but the most important one is because each coolant has a unique “boiling point.” When you mix coolants, it may cause pressures to vary within the vehicle’s cooling system. This may result in ruptures or weak parts breaking in the coolant system.

BMW recommends. acoolant flush every 40,000 miles or whenever. apart of the cooling system like the  radiator, thermostat, hoses, heater core, etc., is replaced.

Transmission Service

Transmissions vary greatly on BMWs based on the year and model that you own.  For this reason, it is very important to refer to your owner’s manual to determine when this service is due.  Getting your transmission serviced at correct intervals is almost as important as having your oil changed every 5,000 miles.  This is one BMW service you have to make sure you get right!

Tire Rotations

Extending the life of your BMW’s tires as much by simply rotating your tires as possible will save you money in the long run. We suggest the following rotation schedule:

Standard BMWs: Rotate your tires every other oil change.

Crossovers and BMW SUVs, including the BMW X series: Rotate the tires at every oil change.

By rotating your tires on this schedule, you’ll keep tread wear even and help maintain proper vehicle traction, handling, and safety.

BMW Service
BMW Service

Timing Belts and Chains

Timing belt replacement is one of the most critical services on a BMW based on a specific mileage interval. Failure to adhere to a timing belt’s recommended replacement interval causes major engine damage if the belt breaks. Most BMW engines need a timing belt replacement around the 80,000 to 90,000 mile mark.

Timing chain failure is more rare, especially since typically your BMW will warn you there is an issue before failure occurs. If you notice your engine is running rough and a check engine light is on, make sure to get your BMW service as soon as possible to avoid larger problems.

Spark Plugs

BMW has a recommended schedule for different engine types based on your model. Although this may seem like a routine BMW service, your spark plugs directly impact your engine performance and health.

Spark plugs play an important role in the engine running and firing correctly. If spark plugs begin to become worn, they begin “misfiring.” This means they don’t ignite and fire properly.

There are many reasons a spark plug misfire is dangerous to a BMW engine:

The most serious issue is the catalytic converter becoming damaged due to the misfires. Replacing a catalytic converter is a costly repair usually avoided by simply following the engine’s spark plug replacement schedule.

Sunroof Drains

One of the most costly repairs that can sometimes be almost impossible to fix is a major electrical issue in your BMW. A leading causes of this problem is flooding. Don’t live in a flood zone and think you’re safe? Think again. BMW sunroof drains are notorious for clogging and causing major flooding in vehicles.

Your sunroof was not designed to be completely water-proof. There are tracks within the frame allowing excess water to travel to the front (left and right) and rear (left and right) drains. When they clog, your interior will start collecting water.

For people who park outside, especially near tress, we recommend a once a year cleaning. If you park in a garage, generally ever 2-3 years will be fine. However, this simple one hour task can save you thousands of dollars.

Check out this video from Samcrac, a Florida YouTuber who purchased a BMW X6M with this very issue. 

Play Video about BMW Service

Choosing Proper Fluids for your BMW

The days of “universal” fluids are long gone.  Now your oil, brake fluid, coolant, refrigerant, and more are all specific to your make and model vehicle.  BMWs are no exception to this rule.  Never, under any circumstances, put a fluid in you BMW that is universal or for a different make.  Fluids are the lifeblood of your vehicle systems.  Without the proper flow and lubrication, these systems will fail, and may cost you thousands of dollars to repair.

Read on to learn what fluids you should use for BMW service.

The Right Oil for Your BMW

Each engine has two specific requirements when choosing the correct oil: the oil’s weight and the “Add Pack” designation.

The oil’s weight helps maintain proper pressuse in your crankcase as well as ensuring your engine is properly lubricated.

The Add Pack is the designated amount of additional chemicals in the oil to improve the oil’s performance.

Add Pack additives contain a variety of chemicals. However, if this oil is not right for your vehicle, these chemicals can do more harm than good.

This is why using a high quality, OEM approved oil is important. Also, if you use the wrong oil you may in fact void your factory warranty.

BMW Service

Coolant and Antifreeze Fluids

As we said before, the only coolant or antifreeze to use in a BMW is blue in color.  If you need to add fluid due to a slight leak before a repair is performed, use distilled water.   Coolant that is not designed for your BMW make cause problems, including the failure of your cooling system. 

BMW Service

BMW Fuel

Most vehicles have the minimum octane rating either on the gas cap or on a decal inside the fuel door. For BMWs or any European car, even if the label or cap states a particular octane rating, it is advised to use a higher octane or premium fuel (91 or 93).

Why doe recommend a high octane fuel?

Higher octane fuels will burn cleaner, leaving less residual build up on your engine components. This way, you can get a little extra life out of your engine!

Transmission Fluid

Your BMW transmission fluid depends on what vehicle you have.  We highly recommend you do not attempt to service the transmission yourself.  Make sure to find a trust, local resource to help complete this critical service.

Brake Fluid

BMW brake fluid must be a DOT4 full synthetic brake fluid. There is no “right brand” as long as it is DOT4 full synthetic.

Power Steering Fluid

BMW cars use a mineral-based hydraulic fluid (CHF-11) for their power steering systems. This is not a typical ATF-type fluid so make sure you check the bottle!
Melbourne Motorsports

Other BMW Service & Repair Wear Items

You should expect and plan for other necessary maintenance that will arise from time to time such as tires, brakes, suspension bushings/components, and batteries.  You also want to keep services not based on a schedule in mind, such as tire alignments and injector cleanings.

It is important to work with a trusted repair shop that will keep you informed of these routine wear and tear items as they inspect your BMW each time you bring it in for service.  When you know the lifetime of a component is coming to and end in. the near future, you can plan and budget better for the repair.  If you are unaware of the condition these items are in, you’ll find out when it fails and you’re stranded on the side of the road.

BMW Service — Melbourne Motorsports

Melbourne Motorsports is your trusted resource for BMW service on the Space Coast.   Whether you need a major repair or a simple oil change, we’re here to help.The need for service and repairs happen with any make and model vehicle – not just BMWs.  However, as a BMW owner, it’s best to stay on top of your services and routine wear and tear items so you can avoid these unforeseen repairs and higher repair bills.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, for the latest in all things European cars!

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