StatisticsReview of Schneller BMW Performance

26 Middle Rd #1
Newbury, MA 01951
Phone: 978 465-2002

BMW Lifetime Fluids…Whose Lifetime?


The car industry today is being shaped by the outcomes of the JD Power Consumer Satisfaction Surveys. It is clear from the survey results that driver's want cars that they don't have to service, or maintain. In an effort to build the low/no maintenance car, we have seen factory recommended service intervals increase dramatically.


Manufacturers are using expensive & exotic fluids in their transmissions, final drives & engines. Spark plugs are incorporating platinum to extend their service life, while engine management systems are capable of adapting to worn out spark plugs & dirty air filters, accommodating the associated loss in performance and fuel economy, all the while keeping the car emissions legal.

We feel that this scenario is more marketing driven than engineering driven. The program is great for the first 60,000 miles. The vehicle's 1st owner will rave about the low maintenance car where he received 4 free oil changes & maybe a brake job. A happy owner drives JD Power Consumer Satisfaction Scores up, more new cars are then sold, and the manufacturer is very pleased.


In our experience, if you'd like to run your BMW reliably beyond 100,000 miles, then the service intervals need to be stepped up - the sooner the better! A joke among BMW Technicians concerns the definition of "Lifetime" relative to BMW Lifetime Fluids. Whose Lifetime...yours, mine, the car? The consensus is that the fluid is good for the lifetime of the fluid & nothing else. Once it's dirty & worn out it needs to be changed. In our experience, automatic transmission fluid & filter services should be performed at about 80,000 miles. Final drive units and manual gearboxes should be serviced at 50,000 mile intervals. Much of this is also subject to driving style. Cars that are driven on short trips (20 minutes or less) need more frequent services. If you don't change these fluids preemptively, then the fluid's lifetime will certainly dictate the lifetime of your vehicle - which could be as low as 100,000 miles.

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