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2020 BMW 540i - What oil?

Synthetic oil specification recommendation?

What ever your owners manual says to use.


I like LiquiMoly. Use the weight your owners manual says to use, or look at the oil fill cap in the engine compartment.

What is the EXACT wording in your owners manual or on your oil fill cap?
Recommended = suggested
Required = mandatory

In either case, why skimp on a brand new beemer?

BMWs have a very specific oil spec, read it and google for brands that meet that spec.


You would think a dealer would give free oil changes on a 60k car? At least for 1st yr.

I was under the impression that “Complimentary Maintenance” was included for a couple of years on most new cars. I guess that I was wrong.

On the other hand, perhaps the OP wants to keep a qt or two of oil on hand for adding between oil changes. If that is the case, then he is to be applauded for wanting to be prepared.

In any event, as others already said in one way or another…

Why try to second-guess the vehicle’s manufacturer?
Just adhere to the specification stated in the Owner’s Manual.

BMW (and most other Euro cars) have a very specific oil requirement. It’s not likely that a bottle of Valvoline 5W30 will meet these requirements. For the sake of keeping your warranty intact, use only oil that meets the correct ACEA specs and BMW LL requirements and is the appropriate weight.

My wife drives a 2018 car that came with free service for the first 2 or 3 years. But it’s still easier for me to drive her car to work and do an oil service and rotation at lunch than for her to make an appointment, drive across town, lose 2-3 hours of work, etc.

Maybe the OP’s BMW dealer is an hour away and he prefers to do it himself?

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simple question. oil cap may even say what weight to use.
i thought new bmw’s didnt even have dipstick?
dont they have a dash light for low oil level?
soon, they will have a dealer only lock on the oil fill cap.

With European makes like BMW, it’s not just the viscosity that one has to be concerned about.

The bizarrely-extended oil change intervals for these cars mandates oil of a far “higher” specification than most US manufacturers require.

Agree with @asemaster and @VDCdriver, but will add that the oil you see at the discount department store or even the local national parts chain may not meet those specs. A bottle of Mobil 1 or Castrol Edge may be full synthetic with the correct weight and that it may look just like the bottle you get from the dealer, but look carefully. The dealer provided oil will have all the required specs listed on the bottle but the stuff from another store may or may not have the same specs.

This was a problem a few years ago when the major oil companies produced different oils for the European market and the North American market. They may have fixed this issue but just be sure to check.

Also check your manual very carefully. You may have an indicator light that will tell you when and what service is needed, but it may also give a time limit. I.e. it may say to have the oil changed once a year even if the indicator light does not come on. This is very important and often overlooked.

Edit: Let me add one more thing. I’m not sure the reason you asked this question, whether you are a DIY kind of guy or are just not comfortable with anyone other than the dealer working on your vehicle. If you are the second type, you may concerned that you may get a “low oil” light, which is a yellow oil lamp symbol with two wavy lines under it, and may feel you have to add oil immediately.

If you get the low oil light, your oil level is about one quart low. Your engine probably has 6 or more quarts when full, your owners manual will tell you that. One quart low is not an emergency. It is a caution. You have plenty of time to go to the dealer and have them add a quart. If you are on a road trip, you time to find a nearby dealer and have it added.

If you are truly a long way away from a dealer and are just not comfortable, you have two choices, one is to buy a spare quart and carry it in the trunk, there is probably plenty of room around the spare tire. Have the service rep show you how to add the oil.

If you don’t have a spare quart, you can get any major brand synthetic of the same grade and add it, but plan on getting your oil changed earlier than usual. You can discuss this with your dealer in the event this ever happens. Keep the empty bottle for the dealer to inspect to see if the oilis really compatible. If he is honest, he will give you an informed opinion.

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Short term, if you’re having trouble finding the correct oil at the store, bite the bullet and buy a couple of quarts from the dealer. You want to have a quart when you need it.


I always use Mobil 1 but this was not a recommended oil for my son’s BMW. There were a couple brands they had recommended which I don’t recall now, but I think the best is to just go to the dealer and use their oil. I don’t remember it being all that more expensive. The problem was oil usage with other oils for some reason, the engines are fussy.

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“free” maintenance and/or service for a specified time period . . .


Free . . . yeah, sure

The driver already paid for it, but if he wants to believe he didn’t, go right ahead