Frustrating Oil Leak - Dealership Questionable

I am afraid that my dealership is taking advantage of my lack of knowledge. I am driving a 2004 BMW 745i. I have an extended warranty, and several months ago, the temperature light went on while I was on the highway. The water pump went out, and everything started to go wrong. The power steering wouldn’t work, and the car got very hot, as you might imagine.

The dealership says they fixed everything, but about a month and a half later the oil light went on. I added oil, and a month and a half later the oil light went on.

The dealership checked it out and replaced a set of gaskets. A month and a half later, the oil light went on. They ran an oil loss test over the next month and a half when the oil light went on again, and they said they found another gasket or two that needed replacing.

Now, a month and a half later, my oil light is on again. I think they are trying to replace gaskets one at a time until the rate of oil loss is reduced to a level that they can refuse to do anything more.

I have less than a year left on my extended warranty. How should I handle going back there with yet another oil light problem? Thank you in advance.

Try another dealer. I recently had an oil leak on my car. After 4 trips to the dealer (over a period of 4 months) the car still leaked oil. I took my car to another dealer and they were more than happy to have a new customer. The second dealer fixed the leak. It’s only been about a month but so far so good.

You’ve provided no details about mileage on the car, what gaskets are being replaced, and whether warranty is paying for any of this. (There’s a reason for the warranty comment)

Replacing gaskets has nothing to do with the oil light coming on. That is likely due to low engine oil pressure which is due to worn engine crankshaft bearings.
Worn bearings could be due to coolant diluted engine oil if I assume that one of the gaskets you mention is a head gasket.

Considering the circumstances, a compression test and oil pressure test could have been performed at the start to determine if the engine was even worth fixing.
A large part of this is your fault due to your refusal to stop immediately when the temperature light came on. One should never continue to motor on down the road even if the engine is only moderately overheating much less a severe case of it.

I suspect that the OP is talking about the low oil level light, not the low oil pressure light.

Is this one of those cars with no oil dip stick?

Are you able to check the oil instead of waiting for the oil light to come on?

I appreciate your response. I had to get off the interstate, so you’re right, some of the damage is my fault. The problem is with the oil level, not the oil pressure. It is simply losing oil. I don’t remember offhand which gaskets have already been replaced, but they have certainly admitted that two different sets of gaskets have been damaged and were leaking a lot of oil. The problem continues, and I just want them to fix it.

Thank you for your response. I think that is the best advice I’ve received yet.

Whitey beat me to it.
If I had a car with a known oil problem, you can be sure that I would be checking the oil often enough–every day if necessary–to avoid having the low oil warning light come on. This frequent low oil level is certainly not helping the problems that the OP has with the engine.

That being said, I agree that another dealership should be the next step for the ongoing problems with this car.

What’s the point of fixing it if you don’t check the oil on a regular basis? The oil will just get low again between oil changes and the problems will persist.

What was the conclusion in regards to the oil loss test? Are you leaking oil onto the ground? (can you see spots?) Or is there a suspicion that the oil is being burned? If its being burned I am suprised the Dealer is not saying it is due to the oveheat condition. Why are they replacing gaskets due to oil burning? Perhaps the crankcase vent valve and oil is being drawn into intake?

Again get us oil consumption figures, in quarts per 1000 mile format. Why have they not thought of replacing oil level sensor? any chance your engine is sludged up (due to missed oil changes, overheating)?

If the oil light in question is a red one then the engine has suffered.
If the oil light is a yellow one then the engine has also likely suffered; just not nearly as much.

Since the engine was seriously overheated maybe the oil loss is past the valve seals and the piston rings.
Overheating can cook valve seals and ruin the piston rings 2 ways; by coking them into the piston ring lands where they can’t move freely or by removing the temper from them and leaving them with no spring action at all.

I just returned from the dealership. Since I did not add oil before the oil light came on (as they recommended), they were able to calculate the rate of consupmption since they replaced the head gaskets last month. They have determined that there is, in fact, an oil leak, and it is back in the shop.

My concern is that this is the third time the dealership will have addressed an oil leak in the last 5 months. I am afraid that they will chip away at the problem until my extended warranty runs out.

Are you seeing oil spots on the ground that are caused by your leaking car? It is much better for you if the oil is leaking, not being burned.

I am troubled by it taking so much time to come to the conclusion you have a oil LEAK.

I believe there has been some poor communication and you really have excessive oil consumption not oil leakage.

Have them check the PCV system. If the crankcase gets pressurized oil will leak out all over the place.

I will ask again:

*Does your vehicle have an oil dip stick?

*Are you able to check the oil instead of waiting for the oil light to come on?

I do not understand your attitude. You obviously know more about cars than I do, but I have been following my dealer’s recommendation of waiting until the light comes on to enable them to calculate the rate of oil consumption. That appears to be more important to them than monitoring the exact level on a regular basis, because gradual loss is acceptable up to a point. You do not need to bother with this inquiry any more.

First, following your dealer’s recommendation can lead to engine damage. I am trying to help you avoid that.

Second, checking the oil level doesn’t mean you have to add any. If you want your mechanic to be able to gauge your oil loss, this is a pretty good idea. All you have to do is regularly check the oil to make sure you don’t destroy your engine. You don’t have to add any oil. You can also keep a log of when you add oil and how much you add. Your mechanic should be able to use that log to figure how much oil you are losing.

I am simply trying to help you avoid doing damage to your engine by helping you get in the habit of checking your own oil. Ignore this advice at your own risk.

Lastly, I would apologize for my “attitude,” but is a direct answer to a direct question too much to ask for someone who is trying to help you? I guess that is asking too much from you.

Thanks. I’ll mention it to the dealer. They have it on the rack now.

Excessive blow-by from fried piston rings can also cause oil leaks; especially if the PCV valve is defunct.
The PCV is cheap; the rings are not.

JMHO, but considering the overheating circumstances behind this issue running a leak-down test on the engine should be, or been, a first step.
If the rings are fried everything else is irrelevant.

This is one of those cases where the extended warranty has paid off for the owner. I can barely comprehend the costs of all this service if the BMW dealer was billing the owner for all the work done. Glad you have coverage for all of this, and I hope they finally get your oil problems resolved.