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Here's the "common sense" bottom line:

Our e46 vehicles are now from 15 - 24 years old. These are nowhere near new vehicles - and no one is making car payments on these anymore. Unless you have a seriously modified motor and are racing your e46, simply choose a good quality synthetic oil and filter and change your oil on a regular basis. Be sure to check your oil once every week or two and top off if needed.

All this talk about which oil is superior is honestly nonsense for the overwhelming majority of e46 owners. I have used Mobil-1 0W-40 since I got my e46; and I change oil religiously every 10K miles. I never drive my car hard enough, hot enough, high revving enough that this additive or that additive, or switching back and forth between whichever brand(s) BMW recommends THIS year... is ever going to make ONE BIT of tangible difference in the performance, fuel economy, or engine life of my vehicle. Period. AND IT'S THE SAME FOR ALMOST ALL OF YOU.

If you want to obsess, obsess over doing ALL the recommended maintenance and checks on the rest of your vehicle in a timely manner. Fix the burnt out bulbs; check those brake pads and tire wear and clean your leatherette seats and interior more often. Change that air filter and fuel filter and spark plugs and coil packs before you break down on the side of the road somewhere. Make sure your coolant is not 20 years old; check for leaks or deterioration in the cooling system. Wash and wax regularly and check for hints of rust or corrosion. CEL comes on, don't wait weeks / months to troubleshoot and repair. All those things will contribute SO MUCH MORE to a longer and more pleasurable life for your e46 (and for you) than chasing oil specifications...
In the E46 non M cars any of those high quality oils mentioned will be fine. Our non M cars don't have overtight bearings like the M cars and good true synthetic in the correct weight is more than enough for everyone that isn't racing their car, lives in Antarctica or the Summer in the Morocco, but I do want to add a bit of caution because I have seen this exact comment from E46 non M owners chiming in on the turbo threads....I used Billy Bob's synthetic on my E46 for 20 years and changed it every 30K miles and my car runs fine, oil doesn't matter, etc etc. Again, it does not really in the E46 because most good synthetics are more than good for a normally aspirated port injected motor like ours. In new turbo, direct injection motors, IT DOES MATTER. With Injectors in the combustion chamber, fuel reaches the cylinder walls and mixes with the oil so it has to be more resistant to thinning from fuel. Since there is no fuel cleaning the intake valves, you need one with higher evaporative temperatures to prevent too much oil from circulating through the intake system and coking up the intakes and valves. So I just want to make sure that people understand that. Shell (Pennzoil Platinum) had very good evaporative resistance compared to many and because it was made from Gas, it was supposed to be cleaner and have less contaminants than petroleum based oils so it wasn't all about which gave them a better deal. In Europe they car about the environment a little more than here. So to summarize you are correct all the good oils are fine in our non M, normally aspirated E46s as long as we use the correct weight for climate but it becomes more important in newer turbo direct injected motors.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
Very well written.
Look up LSPI. Engine killer on newer low displacement turbo engines.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
A BMW repair shop nearby said that Castrol is junk because BMW stopped using it, and that the best oil to use is Liqui-Moly
Your shop is behind the curve. Castrol IS the supplier again.
Keep in mind that BMW does want good oil (notice I said good, not great) but just as important is price point.
Plus Castrol wants their name on every BMW oil filler cap. BMW has a large prybar behind their back.

LM makes great oil, in Germany.
 

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Your shop is behind the curve. Castrol IS the supplier again.
Keep in mind that BMW does want good oil (notice I said good, not great) but just as important is price point.
Plus Castrol wants their name on every BMW oil filler cap. BMW has a large prybar behind their back.

LM makes great oil, in Germany.
That repair shop sucks. I even went as far as writing them a bad review for the crappy work and even suggested the name of another one, but I can only hope its effective..
 
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