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Hi Guys,

I'm new in the forums and only got my e46 318i 2004 5 months ago.

An amber oil light came up yesterday in the dash board so I check the oil this morning and it's in a very low level (minimum level), even though the car is not due for service according to the reading in the dashboard. Anyway, I called the dealer to book a service but the booking has to be made one week in advance, so I don't know what to do?

Should I buy some oil and top it up while the next week they can service my car? Or is it okay if I keep driving like that?

Also, I'd like to know if anyone else has had this problem? Why is the oil in such a low level? It has no evident oil licks and looks pretty clean under the bonnet also I've only drive it about 6000Km since I got it though I never checked the oil before but you assume the dealer take care of that before selling it.

Anyway, I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks
 

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Just go to your local auto part store and buy a oil and add it to the line is full. And you have a leak in the valve cover and it's burning off on the exhaust manifolds.
 

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Hi Guys,

I'm new in the forums and only got my e46 318i 2004 5 months ago.

An amber oil light came up yesterday in the dash board so I check the oil this morning and it's in a very low level (minimum level), even though the car is not due for service according to the reading in the dashboard. Anyway, I called the dealer to book a service but the booking has to be made one week in advance, so I don't know what to do?

Should I buy some oil and top it up while the next week they can service my car? Or is it okay if I keep driving like that?

Also, I'd like to know if anyone else has had this problem? Why is the oil in such a low level? It has no evident oil licks and looks pretty clean under the bonnet also I've only drive it about 6000Km since I got it though I never checked the oil before but you assume the dealer take care of that before selling it.

Anyway, I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks
The light indicates low oil. Does the light stay on when driving?

In any case, in a.m., check oil level on dipstick, and add appropriate amount of proper oil (anything that says "BMW LL-01") don't just buy by the two 'weight' numbers.

You can use advanced search for 'approved oils' and get two threads with complete list of approved oils. Pick one, any one, and top off.

Don't overfill...which you might if you turned off engine and pulled dipstick right away...oil will still flow down to oil pan. Use a.m. reading.

No, not good to drive with low oil, and also, fyi, no need for dealer to look at that for you at all.

If oil is dirty on dipstick, just change it yourself and save money, win friends! If you can't do this, OP, this is going to get to be a real expensive car for you.

One bolt under the car, $40 materials, and the start of an exciting diy career!

Not good to run low, but that is better than running too high on oil.

Get to oil change pretty soon. Dealer didn't do anything with oil when they sold it, unless it had to...and it didn't! Also, losing even a qt. in 6000kms+ of driving isn't so bad...many have it much worse.

You can look for drips as I'm sure you have them...but as long as you monitor level, drips are just an embarrassment, not really a serious mechanical issue.

Just read post above...we don't know it's a leak from vcg at all. OP didn't mention burning smell, so I'm going with the easy to guess oil filter housing gasket, ccv, with a touch of vcg and perhaps poor engine break in.
 

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d max, what does it mean when the light comes on only after shutting the car off? Occasionally when I shut my car off the yellow oil light will come on and stay illuminated for a minute or two, whether or not the key is out of the ignition, will even stay illuminated when I have exited and locked the car.

I know I'm not low on oil either.
 

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d max, what does it mean when the light comes on only after shutting the car off? Occasionally when I shut my car off the yellow oil light will come on and stay illuminated for a minute or two, whether or not the key is out of the ignition, will even stay illuminated when I have exited and locked the car.

I know I'm not low on oil either.
If your not low on oil then the sensor might be be broken but it can also mean your a little bit on the low side and the car registering it right when it get turned off because not all the oil has drip back down to the pan where the sensor located. It then turns off after enough oil has made its way down to the pan.
 

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d max, what does it mean when the light comes on only after shutting the car off? Occasionally when I shut my car off the yellow oil light will come on and stay illuminated for a minute or two, whether or not the key is out of the ignition, will even stay illuminated when I have exited and locked the car.

I know I'm not low on oil either.
Lust,

All I can say is that I think you may be low on oil...and I know you're saying you checked your dipstick and it's fine...but for one, low odds, but dipstick could be wrong one...mine was.

Second, I know my oil level sensor is bad...it comes on 10 secs. after starting the car and goes off 15 secs. after.

I don't believe your oil level sensor is bad since you're not doing what mine does...and have it on good authority that this is how it signals it's bad.

Try checking level of oil in a.m., and if it's a little low on dipstick, try adding just a 1/4 qt. and see if the light goes off...bet it will.

Next oil change, drain everything well on level ground...add 6.9 qts. Run engine, let it cool overnight, check your dipstick...'this' is your full level, independent of what the dipstick says.

Addendum: Lust...what year is your car and what numbers are on your dipstick? My old one ended with '493' and it took me 40K miles to learn I'd been running about 5/8th qt. low on oil that whole time (still within range, thankfully!). My new dipstick ends with '293' and after 6.9 qt. I get right to the bottom of the top notch, just as I should. YMMV...also, check realoem for pn. Many have done ccv; many have replaced guidetube with superceded part, but not the corresponding dipstick that 'mates' with it.

Don't think with your dipstick...think about it! LOL
 

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Hi Guys,

I'm new in the forums and only got my e46 318i 2004 5 months ago.

An amber oil light came up yesterday in the dash board so I check the oil this morning and it's in a very low level (minimum level), even though the car is not due for service according to the reading in the dashboard. Anyway, I called the dealer to book a service but the booking has to be made one week in advance, so I don't know what to do?

Should I buy some oil and top it up while the next week they can service my car? Or is it okay if I keep driving like that?

Also, I'd like to know if anyone else has had this problem? Why is the oil in such a low level? It has no evident oil licks and looks pretty clean under the bonnet also I've only drive it about 6000Km since I got it though I never checked the oil before but you assume the dealer take care of that before selling it.

Anyway, I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks
If the light came on, and the level on the stick is low, then by all means put some in. That's what the light is telling you.

The marks on the stick are a quart apart. At the lower mark, it takes a quart to get to the upper mark. If the oil is in the middle, then wait. If it is at the low end, add a quart. If it is off the bottom, then add 2 quarts, and check more often.

The Inline 6 motors take 7 quarts on a fill up, I don't know that the 4-banges take that much or not. The E36 318s only take 4.7 quarts. Most just put in 5 quarts. 0.1 quarts is only 3 ounces, so the difference in 4.7 and 5 is a cup. Not gonna be a big deal.

In any case, the light worked for you -- the level dropped to the danger zone, and the light came on to alert you of the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone.

I'm going to get some good synthetic oil and top off the engine tomorrow a.m. and then keep checking the level more frequently.

Cheers
 

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What about the dash baord mileage, how do I change that to show that I change my oil? I have been changing my oil myslef and I can't figure out how to tell it to let me know around 5k miles that I need another change. I have a 2001 E46 325i perfomring and touring edition
 

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What about the dash baord mileage, how do I change that to show that I change my oil? I have been changing my oil myslef and I can't figure out how to tell it to let me know around 5k miles that I need another change. I have a 2001 E46 325i perfomring and touring edition
There is a reset procedure that involves shorting Pins 1 & 19 in the Data Link Connector while standing on your head spitting wooden nickles, or something like that.

This should do the trick...
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=145270


I was in the wrong forum, try this instead...
http://www.europeantransmissions.com/Bulletin/DTC.BMW/BMW SRI Manual Reset 2001.pdf
 

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What about the dash baord mileage, how do I change that to show that I change my oil? I have been changing my oil myslef and I can't figure out how to tell it to let me know around 5k miles that I need another change. I have a 2001 E46 325i perfomring and touring edition
You can't get it to tell you 5K because it's programmed to tell you to change it at around 15K miles...depending on how you drive.

There is a reset procedure that involves shorting Pins 1 & 19 in the Data Link Connector while standing on your head spitting wooden nickles, or something like that.

This should do the trick...
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=145270


I was in the wrong forum, try this instead...
http://www.europeantransmissions.com/Bulletin/DTC.BMW/BMW SRI Manual Reset 2001.pdf
OP, please be careful listening to people like JD; he's old and not really up on stuff anymore. You really weren't ever supposed to stand on your head; that was a typo. As for the wooden nickels? No. The BMW TIS specifies early on just to spit on the ground for good luck. That's all it was!

You can take car to any Indy with the right software...probably not worth it...or buy a Peake scanner from Bimmertools and reset it yourself, or best would be to develop a good relationship with a local, well-recommended Indy and ask him to do it.

Long-term, rather than shopping around for price for every job, shop around for a shop. When you find the right one, stay loyal, and I bet it'd stay loyal to you...and reset the light for free.

You'll really want to work on your searching skills also. My favorite trick is to use advanced/title search.

BTW, JD is really one of our best here...you can pretty much always trust him, even when I disagree with him! :lmao:


Ninja Edit: You also don't want to change your oil at 5K. Maybe 7500 at the earliest, but I just did 10K and many do likewise. It's a whole big deal here, but those who know, go longer...not to be cheap or risk takers, but because going longer provides benefits (like coating the engine with a protective film) that you don't start to get much below 5K miles. So I've read and believe. I read a lot, btw, but believe very little!
 

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I used the first link to reset my E36, the forum I was thinking I was on when I linked it, but it directs one to E46Fanatics, so it must work on the E46s too. I used the second link on both of my '00 E46s.
 
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