A Successful First DIY Oil Change

My first ever DIY oil change at home was a success! Well, actually, last year was supposed to be my first but because the oil filter cap was torqued on so tightly that not even independent car shops were able to help me remove it, I had to take FiFi back to BMW Encinitas where they fixed this issue for me and took care of the first oil change under my ownership as a courtesy.

I still remember taking this photo last year in hopes of sharing it on Instagram expressing my excitement for changing her oil for the first time LOL! Notice how she didn’t have the carbon fiber lip yet 😉

Luckily, this time around, things went pretty smoothly. I followed this YouTube tutorial, which was SO helpful, and had my boyfriend around to help me. It’s definitely easier with two people, and he even got some video clips of me in action for memory’s sake. It took about 40 minutes to do, but I think going forward, it should be a bit quicker now that I’ve done it once.

Oil changes at BMW dealerships run anywhere from $135-175… maybe more with the inflation lately. BMW recommends that oil changes are performed every 5-7,500 miles. For those who drive a lot, this can add up quickly. I barely drive 5k miles a year so this isn’t a concern for me, but that doesn’t mean I won’t save money when I can. I paid a total of $66.29 for the entire kit which includes 6 liters of 5W30 Special Tec LL Engine Oil, Mann oil filter, drain plug crush washer, and the rubber O-ring. Fi’s engine takes 5.3L of engine oil, so there is a bit of leftover oil from the smaller jug that I keep in the garage either for the next oil change or if she ever needs a top off for whatever reason.

What You’ll Need to DIY an Oil Change

Liqui Moly’s SAE 5W-30 Special Tec Oil Change Kit from FCP Euro came highly recommended for the BMW 4 Series, so I went with this! Everyone who works on their own BMWs should consider shopping at FCP Euro because of their lifetime replacement guarantee. After the first purchase, you pretty much get future replacements (in my case, this exact same oil change kit) for FREE for as long as you own the car! When I first found out about this, I thought it was too good to be true. It’s especially amazing for those who plan to keep their car for a long time or… forever haha 🙂 Once you empty out the old oil and put in the new oil, you simply pour the old oil back into the packaging and send it back for a refund against the replacement purchase. I haven’t done this yet, but will do so next year when it’s time to do an oil change again. I believe that shipping isn’t covered though, so consumers are responsible for that. Even with this in consideration, it’s still a huge savings compared to buying new oil every year… or even worse, paying the stealership big $$ for routine oil changes.

Other tools you’ll need to perform your own oil change are low-profile ramps (if you have a car that sits low to the ground), low-profile car jack, oil drain pan, jack stands, jack stand pads, wheel chocks, oil fill funnel, torque wrench, disposable gloves, and paper towels. You’ll also need a socket set (BMW F32/F33 430i requires a 17mm socket and a 27mm socket). You can buy the sockets individually, or you may find that you already have a socket set at home with the ones you need! Everything can be purchased on Amazon and will add up, but I see this as a one-time investment that will be good for many future oil changes and car maintenance.

First Timer Tips

If you’re doing your own oil change for the first time, I definitely suggest watching a few YouTube videos for your car to get a better idea of what you need to do. This helped me so much personally, as a total newbie! It was super gratifying to change Fi’s oil myself and I’d say that feeling alone made the efforts worth it. 10/10 will do it again!

Normally, I would also change the engine air filter & cabin air filter with the oil change but these are recommended every 10-15k miles which I’m far from. I already replaced both around this time last year, and have driven only 3k miles since then. Since I purchased my filters from FCP Euro, I’ll probably do this every other oil change (or earlier if I notice air getting stale) and take advantage of free filter replacements! The air filter change is pretty straight forward; I also learned how to do both from watching YouTube videos 😉 My friend Kylar made a really helpful YouTube video on how to change the cabin air filter on his F30!

Not a DIYer but in the Coachella Valley?

Save some money on BMW oil changes and maintenance by going to Bavarian Auto in Palm Springs. Theo specializes in European cars & just performed my vehicle check for FREE. He found that nothing needs to be done at this time. The local BMW dealership quoted me $200 for just the check… and likely would have made something up that needed to be “done” for extra money. You know the drill… BMW tax! I actually sent a friend here recently to get an oil change for her 230i convertible, and she told me he only charged her $86… he uses OEM BMW oil so the labor cost comes out to pretty much nothing! I’m elated to have found a nearby euro car shop that doesn’t nickel and dime, and is honest and trustworthy. They are really hard to come by these days! With that said, I will be taking Fi to Theo for any future maintenance that I won’t be doing myself.

As you know, keeping up with maintenance is the key to a BMW’s longevity. Given that I’ll be taking Fi to the grave with me, I figure I’d better get a head start. Even though I haven’t nearly driven 10k miles since getting her almost 2 years ago, I know that the basics like changing oil and filters sooner than recommended can help prolong engine life and performance. For now, we are up to date on maintenance and Fi is a healthy, happy girl!

 

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