2015-04-04 M3 replacing Engine oil E46

In this article, I’ll go over the steps involved with replacing the engine oil and filter on the BMW M52 and M54 engines. Be sure to work with a cool engine and have a drain pan with the capacity of at least 10 liters. You should replace your engine oil and filter every 5,000 miles. Changing your engine oil is one of the most frequent and basic tasks you will perform on your E46. Remember to use high quality oil that meets BMW specifications, (specifications can be found in your owner’s manual) a high quality BMW oil filter and keep yourself protected from engine oil using eye protection and gloves.

First, run the engine for 2-3 minutes to warm your engine oil. Do not allow engine to get too hot. Next, raise and support the front of vehicle so it’s easy and safe to work on.
Using a 36mm socket on a 6” extension, loosen the oil filter housing lid until you can see the sealing o-ring (green arrow).
Figure 1
Using a 36mm socket on a 6” extension, loosen the oil filter housing lid until you can see the sealing o-ring (green arrow). This allows the oil in your BMW filter housing and filter to drain into engine oil pan. If you do not do this first, you will leave about a liter of old engine oil behind. If equipped: Open the oil drain plug access door. Most of the access doors are missing from vehicles I work on. Place your drain pan so it’s centered below the oil drain plug.
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Using a 17mm wrench, remove the oil drain plug.
Figure 2
Using a 17mm wrench, remove the oil drain plug. Allow all your engine oil to drain until it stops dripping. Keep an eye on the oil as it drains. The stream of oil will move and there is a chance it will miss the drain pan and it’s never any fun cleaning up oil spills. Install the oil drain plug with new sealing washer and torque to specs. Close the oil drain plug access door if your model has one. Remove the drain pan from below vehicle.
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Remove the oil filter cover from the engine by pulling it straight up as shown and then remove your old BMW E46 oil filter from the cover.
Figure 3
Remove the oil filter cover from the engine by pulling it straight up as shown and then remove your old BMW E46 oil filter from the cover.
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This photo shows what can happen when a low quality oil filter is used.
Figure 4
This photo shows what can happen when a low quality oil filter is used. The filter can collapse and fall apart inside oil the filter housing. If your filter is bent like the one shown, inspect your filter housing and filter cover for oil filter debris. A broken piece of filter will jam and crush the new filter when you tighten the cover.
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Using a small flathead screwdriver, remove the o-ring from the oil filter cover (yellow arrow).
Figure 5
Using a small flathead screwdriver, remove the o-ring from the oil filter cover (yellow arrow).
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Install a new o-ring and filter.
Figure 6
Install a new o-ring and filter. Then torque the oil filter cover to specs.
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Fill engine with engine oil, while filling use dipstick to obtain correct level. Rear wheel drive models: 6.5 liters All wheel drive models: 7.5 liters M3 models: 5.5 liters
To check your work, start the engine, confirm the oil warning light goes out after a few seconds and shut off the engine.
Figure 7
To check your work, start the engine, confirm the oil warning light goes out after a few seconds and shut off the engine. Next, pull the dipstick and recheck your oil level. The oil level should be within area marked by the green arrows. Check that there are no oil leaks, lower vehicle from jack stands and you are done.
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