$150 oil change; 1853 miles. (long, rambling) (archive)

Posted by smalloy on March 26, 2001 at 13:51:38:

Okay, so I agree that there should be at least one oil change well before the car is scheduled in at 15k miles. I was past break-in, and about to put 500 miles on the car over the weekend - so on Friday, I decided it was time and went home early...

I'd bought into the "oh, it's easy, just do it yourself - not a problem." advice on the board.

"Buy the BMW synthetic oil" was the advice. "As low as $2.88/qt with the CCA discount." My local dealership charged $5.40/qt. Times seven. Plus a $9 oil filter. I hadn't yet joined BMWCCA. If I had, I would have saved 10%.

Okay, not a problem. A bit more than I'd prefer, but worth it.

Parts... a 36mm socket for the filter cap... 1/2" to 3/8" adapter... 3/8" socket extender... 14mm socket for the drain plug (my set went up to 13mm)... Torque wrench! I've always wanted one of those!

Drain pan... Got that. Wait, does it hold seven quarts? It's not labelled... Ah, yes, there's one just like mine, and the cardboard is labelled... 10qts. Okay, fine. I should write the capacity on mine when I get home.

"You can reach the drain plug without raising the car from the front right..." Yes, I sure can. With about 1' worth of socket extenders, and I can't get any leverage to turn the wrench thanks to some sort of cross-brace. Plus, with my hand there trying to turn the wrench, there's no room for the drain pan...

I'll just get some low-profile ramps. Would have been a good idea, if the front ground effects would have cleared them. I guess there's low-profile, and then there's the Z.

I've always wanted a hydraulic floor jack, and now seems like a good time to get one. Ooh, and jack stands - wouldn't do to get crushed to death.

Aha! I can get under the car far enough to actually get some leverage! I'm 2/3 of the way underneath the front tire, and closer to a jack stand than I'd prefer, but I'm there. Brilliant!

Lower the car to make sure all the oil drains out. Get oil -everywhere- in the few seconds it takes to lower the car - the odd angle caused oil to run along the bottom of the oil pan, onto the aforementioned braces, and drip onto and next to the drain pan while the steady stream went where it was supposed to.

Allow all the oil to drain. Change the filter in the meantime and get more oil on things.

So, 2+ hours, $150, 2 trips to the parts store, and one trip to the dealership later and my baby has FRESH oil.

If I had it all to do over again, would I do anything differently?

I might not have decided to buy enough oil at the dealership for TWO oil changes. And I might have installed a lift in my garage.

But hey, the UGDO just came for my wife's E46, and installing that involves cutting a hole in the headliner. No way I'll screw THAT up! :)

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