F30 N55 BMW oil change – detailed DIY


It’s an oil change DIY. Not much more to say.
It’s really straight forward but I enjoy writing these, so why not.

Technical skill
Time commitment
PITA factor


Make sure you have the tools needed for the job:

All the tools I ended up using for the oil change
  • 7 liters of the oil of your choice (I use the standard BMW Twin Power Turbo 5w-30)
  • New oil filter (I use the MANN HU816-X)
  • New oil drain plug and washer
    • NOTE: The above MANN oil filter comes with it’s own crush washer, if you reuse your bolt you don’t need this.
  • 17mm or 18mm socket (to remove oil drain plug)
  • Oil filter cap removal tool
  • Oil drain pan (This is the one I use, I feel like it’s cheaper to buy at the autoparts stores)
  • Race ramps or a jack and jack stands
    • I use these ramps on my M-Sport suspension, 19″ rim, 335i. If you’re any lower, you’ll need a lower profile ramp)


  • Oil absorbant pads (these things are amazing) or a roll of paper towels
  • Disposable gloves
  • Blue Tarp (makes sliding around and the inevitable spill cleanup easier)
  • Funnel (not entirely needed but recommended)
  • Torque Wrench
  • Hook and pick tool set (for removing the washers on the oil filter)
  • Turkey baster or pipettes (For removing residual oil in oil filter housing)


CAUTION! Make sure the car is not at full operating temp! Warm is good, but 230-240º F oil would hurt a lot.

  1. Get your car up in the air however you choose, I use race ramps
  2. Lay down your tarp, open up the little access door, position your oil drain pan centered under the bolt
  3.  Using your 17mm socket, slightly loosen the oil drain plug, and do the rest by hand. Be ready for it to pop out with a heavy stream of oil behind it!
    • If you’re taking an oil sample, wait about 15-20 seconds then fill it in the outgoing stream
  4. I wait about 5 minutes after initially pulling the drain plug because when you open the oil fill cap or the oil filter, a big rush of oil comes out and that sometimes will splash out of your pan. If you have a deep oil catch pan you should be OK, but mine splatters all over.
  5. Get your oil filter wrench and loosen up the oil filter

    • Try to keep an eye on the oil flowing out of the drain plug, if it rushed out to fast for your catch pan, this is where those oil cleanup pad things really come in handy
  6. Let the oil filter sit in it’s holder for a few minutes while most of the residual oil drains out and then transfer it to your catch pan if possible
  7. Optional: Get rid of all the residual oil in the oil filter housing, I bought a pack of 100 disposable(single use) 3ml pipettes and get rid of all the oil in the following picture (they are great for other stuff too)
  8. Remove your oil filter by just pulling it off the holder thing
  9. With the filter removed, remove both old gaskets on the oil filter holder frame, the little one and the big one
    • Install the new gaskets, rub a little of the inevitable oil left on the holder on the gasket before reinstalling them

  10. Push your new filter in, it will stop once and then push hard again, it should fit in very snug
  11. Reinstall your oil drain plug (~17.5 ft/lbs of torque) and your oil filter (there should be a paint marker line so you know when to stop tightening)

  12. Home stretch here, add your oil (my car calls for 6.7 liters of oil) but I swear the oil level test never shows completely full when using 6.7 liters.
  13. To reset my service light I use Carly
    You can also use this method as posted by Sephanite on bimmerpost:
    Reset light procedure

    1. Without pressing the brake/clutch, press the start/stop button
    2. Wait for the service reminder to disappear
    3. Press and hold the odometer reset button. You will notice your trip meter reset and then go back to the value it once was. Keep holding for a couple more seconds At this point, service values that can be reset will come up. Use the odometer reset button to scroll through the menu.
    4. At the value you want to reset, press and hold the odometer reset button. “Reset possible” will change to “Reset?”
    5. Press and hold odometer reset button again until value is reset 6. Press the start/stop button to start car or turn off car


Other stuff

I didn’t install a magnetic drain plug this time around because I do oil tests. The magnetic drain plug will pull out some of the metals this test looks for.

I always send in a oil sample to https://www.blackstone-labs.com for analysis. It’s $28 a sample and can give you some great insight into what’s going on in your engine. Read more here: https://www.blackstone-labs.com/faq.php
(PS, I’m not affiliated with blackstone-labs in anyway, they are a cool group of folks I’ve talked to a few times on the phone.)

In the down time while the oil is draining I fill out the sheets and get the sample ready for the mail.

Here’s an example of what they send back:

6 comments Add yours
  1. fun read. I thought you were supposed to drain oil from a hot engine though….Me, i like my Fumoto valves; makes it a piece of cake to drain that pan…no burning oil on you…

    1. Thanks, Dan. From what I’ve read (I’m far from an expert) you want to drain it warm/hot. Considering these car’s operating temp is roughly 230-240º F, full operating temp would hurt a lot.

      On my first oil change I just let the car idle up to a warm temperature and put that in my note to Blackstone-Labs. Here is their response:

      “We didn’t find any fuel in this sample, so your sampling technique was fine. Next time you can
      forego the idling — sometimes that introduces a little fuel into the oil (but not this time, apparently). ”

      I’ll change my wording up there a bit to say to do it on a warm engine.


      1. yep, i have always changed oil as soon as i get home from regular drive. it IS hot, but the Fumoto valve thingy makes its EZ PZ..

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