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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 11-14-2011, 04:34 PM   #1
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BMW E46 3-Series DIY: Oil Change

***All, the original site hosting the images was removed. The pictures along with the full DIY can now be found below***

BMW E46 3-Series Oil Change DIY

This DIY article will help you successfully change the oil and oil filter in the E46 3-Series. This was done on a 325xi so there might be a few variations between the different models, but all should be closely related.

BMW recommends 15,000 miles for oil changes but i feel that is way more than it should be. I personally change the oil every 7,500 miles in the BMW

I know people have preferred oil types / weights / change intervals. This article is not to debate on these items, but to show the procedure to change your oil.

Philips Screwdriver
17mm Socket
36mm Socket
3/8" Ratchet
1/2" Ratchet
Torque Wrench
Ramps / Jack Stands
Oil Pan

OEM Oil Filter Kit: 11 42 7 833 769
Synthetic Oil- 0w40 (Amount depends on your configuration- check your owners manual)

***Pictures show 5w30, but the approved BMW oil is Mobil 1 0w40***

First thing we want to do is to get the car up in the air. I prefer race ramps, but you can get the car on jack stands using a jack. If going this route use the appropriate jack points on the car highlighted in the owners manual.

Pop the hood and crack the oil fill cap. This will make for a smooth drain once you remove the drain plug

With the car in the air you can grab your philips screw driver and go under the car. We need to remove the belly pan and the trans pan to access the oil drain plug. There are 7 screws holding the belly pan in place. I have highlighted their locations below

The design on this pan is great because the screw stay locked in the belly pan when loose so you can't misplace them. Once these 7 are loose you can remove the pan from out under the car.

Next move farther back and locate the three screw holding the trans cover on. Repeat the process and remove

With cover cover out of the way we can locate the drain plug. It is located on the passenger side. A picture of it can be found below

Position your oil drain pan beneath this bolt and grab your 17mm socket. Loosen it and remove it slowly so you don't drop the bolt in the oil pan.

Let all of the oil drain out of the pain while you work your way back up top

Time to remove the old oil filter. Grab your 1/4 ratchet and your huge 35mm socket.

The oil filter housing is located just to the left of the power steering reservoir. Remove the cap

Before you remove the oil filter make sure you put down a paper towel or rag as it will drip. Below is a shot of my old filter still attached to the housing

Grab your right angle pick and remove the old o-ring fitted into the oil filter cap as shown below

Grab the oil filter top and the end of the oil filter. Easily pull the oil filter out of the housing

Grab your new filter and o-ring from the box and install on the oil filter cap. The filter will just snap into place. I recommend lubricating the new oil-ring with a little bit of oil

Re-install the oil filter. Use the recommended torque specifications as written below

Torque Specifications: 25Nm (18 ft-lbs)

Locate your new crush washer from your oil change get and replace the oil one located on your drain plug bolt

Crawl back under the car and make sure all of the old oil has drained out of the pan. When ready you can install the drain plug bolt and tighten it down to the torque specs below

Torque Specifications: 25Nm (18 ft-lbs)

Reinstall your undercarriage panels

Grab you oil and fill to your recommended specifications. When complete, get the car down off the ramps or stands and start the car. Run engine check and check the level of the oil. Add if necessary

Oil Service Indicator Reset

1999 & 2000 E46: You need a service internal reset tool. You can also do it manually by following the link below

Manual Service Indicator Reset

Post 2000 E46: On Board Computer

1. Hold the odometer reset button and while turning Ignition to Position 1. Hold button until it displays "OIL SERVICE" or "INSPECTION" with RESET
2. Release button and press it gain until "RESET" or "RE" flashes.
3. Press the button again

That is pretty much it. You are all set for a couple more thousand miles before your next oil change

Hope this article has helped and motivated you guys to continue doing your own maintenance. Any questions please feel free to ask.

Last edited by joeycannoli; 10-08-2014 at 06:41 PM.
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