Today’s higher performance BMW engines run at higher RPMS (Revolutions Per Minute), have more complex parts designed to continuously adjust engine tuning including engine timing, engine fuel mixture and the amount of air entering the engine to maximize performance and efficiency/gas mileage. These engines incorporate variable camshaft timing (VANOS), variable lift (how and when valves open and close) and many other features that use the engine oil not only for lubrication, but also similar to hydraulic fluid to actuate these parts. All of this combines to create more heat in the engine and makes it even more imperative to use the correct type and viscosity (weight) of the oil. BMW performance engines commonly operate with oil temperature in the 240 degree to 260 degrees range.
When we were growing up, most all engines used traditional mineral based oil. These oils were often available in variable weights such as 10W40 or 20W50, with the higher the number the heavier or thicker viscosity oil. Commonly, a warmer climate oil would be a slightly heavier weight or thicker viscosity due to the fact that as oil gets hot, it naturally gets thinner or has a lower viscosity. In colder climates, you would want lighter oil because cold can cause it to thicken.
Mineral based oil should not be used in today’s higher performance BMW engines and especially in turbo charged engines which naturally run hotter. Mineral based oil begins to brake down over 200 degrees and can destroy a higher performance motor in less than 1000 miles. As a leader in Austin BMW repair, German Auto Center has seen many engines that were destroyed from using the wrong type of oil, costing their owners thousands of dollars to repair after just a few hours of highway driving.
Why Synthetic oil? Simply, fully synthetic oil withstands the higher heat of today’s BMW performance engines. Synthetic oil is designed to operate and not brake down at the higher temperatures of today’s engines. These oils show little brake down at 260 degrees and more.
So first, be sure to use the correct type of oil for your vehicle. Mineral-based oils may be less expensive, but it may also cost you thousands of dollars in engine repair in the end. Rule of thumb – turbocharged and supercharged engines should always use synthetic oil.
Second, consult your owner’s manual or call us at German Auto Center for Austin BMW service. We can help determine the best weight or viscosity for your BMW. Most engines will use 0W40 or 5W40, while some of the M-class BMW engines require a 60W oil to operate properly. Stay tuned for part 2 and we will discuss variable versus single weight (viscosity) oils and why they’re important.
Follow the advice of Austin’s BMW service experts and follow these basic tips. If you have any questions, simply come by and visit Austin BMW repair experts at German Auto Center and we will be happy to assist you.