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2010 2011 BMW 5 Series Forum F10 BMW 5-Series (F10) Forums General 5-Series Sedan and Wagon (F10 / F11) Forum 535i oil top-up
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      11-29-2012, 03:46 PM   #1
Jon D
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535i oil top-up

Approximately at which point does the electronic oil level system indicate that a top-up is needed and does it states the quantity required?
With 3k miles from new, the screen on my 640i (same engine as 535i) is indicating just over half full, but it's still green and there are no other indications.
My instinct tells me to add oil now, but without knowing how much is required, I could easily overfill.
My previous two BMWs were extremely oil-frugal 6cyl diesels and I have no experience of modern petrol engine oil consumption.
Any advice much appreciated - many thanks.

Last edited by Jon D; 11-29-2012 at 04:53 PM.
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      11-29-2012, 08:27 PM   #2
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My 2011 535 ix has 22500 miles and the oil level never moved from full, I have 2 oil changes already and nevere put any oil in between, always shows full!
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      12-06-2012, 06:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valcor535
My 2011 535 ix has 22500 miles and the oil level never moved from full, I have 2 oil changes already and nevere put any oil in between, always shows full!
+1

I would call the dealer and ask.
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      12-06-2012, 12:08 PM   #4
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It will usually tell you to put oil in when you are about a quart low. The indicator showing half full means you're about half a quart low, not half a tank of oil. So for now I'd just wait till the car tells you to add oil. Well that's how it worked on my 3 series. Running half a quart low is better than overfilling.
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      12-06-2012, 02:11 PM   #5
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Half full on the bar is not really low oil, its the normal level. Even when it tell you add a quart, its still has plenty of oil in there before it hits the dangerious level.
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      12-06-2012, 04:26 PM   #6
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I've had my 2012 535i for 15,000 miles right now, and I topped up the engine oil twice (a quart). First one was at 6,000ish miles and the second one was at 12,000ish miles. Not sure about other cars.
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      12-07-2012, 08:41 AM   #7
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The green bar on my 2011 is in quarter increments of a quart. Even in the event mine occasionally goes down a quarter, I do add oil, but in very small amounts as to not put too much back in.
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      12-07-2012, 01:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon D
Approximately at which point does the electronic oil level system indicate that a top-up is needed and does it states the quantity required?
With 3k miles from new, the screen on my 640i (same engine as 535i) is indicating just over half full, but it's still green and there are no other indications.
My instinct tells me to add oil now, but without knowing how much is required, I could easily overfill.
My previous two BMWs were extremely oil-frugal 6cyl diesels and I have no experience of modern petrol engine oil consumption.
Any advice much appreciated - many thanks.
Jon,

The oil consumption varies, of course. But, in general, I would say 1 quart every 6000 miles is what I averaged over my last four 750li vehicles.

Now, the main reason that you may want to wait until it gets to the minimum threshold is due to the fact that its too easy to overfill. That's a bad thing.

If you wait until it gets to the minimum threshold then you can blindly dump in a full quart.

However, if you feel uncomfortable with the oil at less than full, you can put a fraction of a quart in.

The top segment should not be green. When it is green then you have exceeded the maximum. Now, if it is green, then it won't hurt it if you are sure you have not overfilled it too much. It is a little buffer area, that gives you some extra room.

The four segments below the top segment of the meter, when combined represent one full quart. Otherwise, in general, each segment equals one quarter quart. At least in the USA.

The very bottom segment should always be green. If that segment is not green then you are heading dangerously below the minimum.

Keep in mind that your BMW does not always give an accurate oil reading after filling.

The best time to fill the oil is in the morning whilst it is cool. You can fill a hot engine with cooler oil, but it is a stressor that should be avoided.
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      12-28-2012, 12:32 PM   #9
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Update:-
I called in at the dealer and spoke with the senior technician who told me that there was nothing to worry about and that my indicated level sitting halfway between min and max represented a consumption of a litre in 3.3k miles, which is perfectly acceptable.
He said that I could wait for the warning, but agreed that, as I was embarking on a long trip, it wouldn't hurt to add some oil before departure.
So, erring on the side of caution, I added a litre, went for a 10 mile drive and checked the level, only to find there was no difference. I repeated the process and, once again, the level hadn't moved - it was still showing halfway between min and max.
With a total of a litre added I decided to leave it alone and monitor it over the coming days. Every time I stopped on level ground I checked it and nothing happened until I'd covered about 200 miles, at which point it suddenly jumped to max and that's where it's been since.
The technician totally agrees with my views on BMW ditching the traditional dip-stick and this recent episode doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence in the system.
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      12-28-2012, 12:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon D View Post
The technician totally agrees with my views on BMW ditching the traditional dip-stick and this recent episode doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence in the system.
Concur completely. Really can't believe the tried and tested back-up isn't available. What would the Dukes of Hazard use as a derogatory name if they were driving a 5 series?
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