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Maintenance needed for low mileage/yr BMW Z3


These days, I only put 1000-1500mi per year on my '97 Z3 and most of those in the California dry season* (May - Oct). If I followed the maintenance minder I’d change the oil every 5 years and the other fluids every 10 years or more. Seems like some items ought to be replaced/flushed more often…but I don’t know what’s realistic and what’s shop avarice. Some thoughts and suggestions would be great.

*During the top up season, I might not drive the car for a month and will hook it up to a trickle charger as needed.

I’d change oil once a year. I used to get 7-15 miles a year on my Olds between oil changes.


My late mother in law had the same problem. I advised she change oil once a year. She did in the fall and had the shop check out her battery and cooling system at the same time.

She had a 1994 Pontiac Sunbird which she never got over 45,000 miles by the time she turned 92 and stopped driving.

Common problem, common questions for multi-car owners. I agree with the other 2 here. Once a year oil change, maybe I’d stretch it to 2 max with synthetic oil. It just gets the moisture out of the oil. Less of an issue in a dry climate, though.

I’d suggest adding fuel stabilizer towards the end of convertible season to the last couple of tankfuls before storage. You never know exactly when the season “end” is,right? I’d add some if it takes 3-4 months to run through a tank of fuel, too.

Change coolant and brake fluid based on time. 3 years on coolant and brake fluid. Change transmission fluid and differential fluid in half the mileage BMW recommends or 50K (or 5 years or so) for each. Again, moisture.

Your PM schedule has time/miles whichever comes first. If you only drive it a couple times a month, longer but fewer trips, you can double the time for the oil change, but not coolant or belts.

Concur w/the others. Suggest OP to pay particular att’n to @Mustangman 's comment. The cooling system and brake hydraulic system need to be serviced based on time, not miles. Sounds like a cool ride!

Edit: Anything rubber, same. Belts, hoses. Tires in particular.

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Thanks for the replies. Very helpful as I creep toward 90k miles. Maybe next year :slight_smile: