What Are Recommended BMW Oil Specifications & Why Are They Important?

PAGE DISCLAIMER: The information below is 'General Information' and should be used as a guide ONLY. The BMW motor oil information on these pages should not be used as a substitute for what your vehicle owner's manual, factory service manual, or authorized BMW dealer recommendations. Consult your BMW owner's manual for recommendations on the correct type of BMW oil that is to be used for your specific BMW model.

As an independent service garage with over 27 years of hands-on European car experience, we've seen many mechanical breakdowns on vehicles. Thoroughly flushing your fluids at the proper intervals can help your BMW reach 150,000 miles and beyond!


A Little BMW Oil Quality Standard History

Understanding a little history regarding the advancements of motor oils may help you make the right choice when choosing your BMW engine oil. Before automobile manufacturers began establishing their own oil specification standards (1990s), many owner's manuals referenced an oil quality by the API standards. These sanctioning bodies, such as SAE (Society of American Engineers), API (American Petroleum Institute), and ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association) were and are still responsible for establishing oil standards for motorized vehicles.

There has been increased requirements for vehicle manufacturers worldwide to reduce emissions, minimize their carbon footprint, and improve fuel economy. It was around the late 1990s and early 2000s that more demanding motor oil quality standards began.

Consequently, the development of new advanced internal combustion engine designs being engineered to meet these emission requirements and fuel mileage demands. Motor oil plays a crucial key role in meeting these requirements. Thus, new advanced cutting-edge BMW synthetic motor oil formulations were created. Around this time (mid 1990s) manufacturers began to establish their own unique oil quality standards and specifications rather than relying solely on API or ACEA standards to ensure the correct type of oil was being used in their engines. BMW has created very specific recommended oil formulas for their engines and around the mid 1990s - onward BMW models require a motor oil that meets a specific BMW motor oil quality standard or specification.


When Changing BMW Oil, It's Important To Use Factory Recommended BMW Oil Type For Your Specific Engine

CAN I USE NON-APPROVED OIL THAT DOESN'T MEET BMW OIL QUALITY STANDARDS?

No, it's not recommended. Old petroleum-based motor oils are a thing of the past. BMW engine designs are too technologically advanced. All modern BMW engines are designed, engineered, and manufactured to exact tolerances using unique materials (alloys) to meet target performance requirements. Newer models also use advanced fuel injection and valvetrain systems that are lubricated using specific motor oil formulations to ensure optimal system reliability. These advanced engine and fuel injection systems must meet stringent emission requirements focusing on improving fuel economy without compromising engine performance. Therefore, exact BMW motor oil specifications were designed, are required, and should be used in your engine.

It's also important to consider that many BMW oil change intervals are from 10,000 - 15,000 miles. Throughout these BMW oil change intervals, the motor oil must provide maximum lubrication and performance. Providing stable long-term lubrication protection for extended BMW oil change intervals can only be achieved when the designed and designated BMW motor oil quality specification is used.

Using conventional motor oil that do not meet your needed BMW oil quality standard is very risky. Using the wrong motor oils will likely damage internal engine components, reduce fuel mileage, increase emissions, and can void applicable vehicle warranties. Consequently, it's important to use the proper BMW oil that states that it has been approved or meets your corresponding BMW oil quality standard.

Factory Approved BMW oil is key to ensuring engine reliability, optimal fuel economy, and the demands of meeting today's emission standards.


HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT BMW OIL FOR YOUR MAKE

BMW OIL QUALITY STANDARD LIST (SEE RELATED PRODUCTS)

BMW Special Oil Spec: BMW Special oil is formulated for older BMW engines from around 1992 until 1997. Typically this BMW formulation is a semi-synthetic SAE 10W-40 viscosity. (RAVENOL TSI 10W-40)

BMW Longlife-98 Oil Spec (aka BMW LL98, Longlife 98, LL-98): BMW's first long-life engine oil. Usually required for BMW's gasoline engines manufactured before year 2002. Since then BMW has discontinued this option for motor oil and has superseded the BMW Longlife-98 spec to the Longlife-01 oil specification. However some motor oil manufacturers still offer the BMW Longlife-98 formulation for those who still desire it. (See Related Products Below: RAVENOL SSO 0W-30, RAVENOL HPS 5W-30, RAVENOL VSI 5W-40)

BMW Longlife-01 Oil Spec (aka BMW LL01, Longlife 01, LL-01): Formulated around the year 2002 for BMW gasoline engines. This formulation is a fully synthetic long-life motor oil and can also be used where a BMW Longlife-98 oil is recommended. This formula is always a fully synthetic engine oil with a variety of viscosity options such as SAE 0W-30, 0W-40, 5W-30, and 5W-40. (See Related Products Below: RAVENOL SSO 0W-30, RAVENOL HCL 5W-30, RAVENOL SSL 0W-40, RAVENOL VST 5W-40)

BMW Longlife-04 Oil Spec (aka BMW LL04, Longlife 04, LL-04): Formulated around 2004 for BMW diesel engines equipped with diesel particulate filter (DPF) exhaust systems. This formula is always a fully synthetic long-life oil with a variety of viscosity options available such as SAE 0W-30, 5W-30, and 5W-40. (See Related Products Below: RAVENOL ALS 0W-30, RAVENOL VMP 5W-30, RAVENOL HLS 5W-30, RAVENOL VMO 5W-40)

BMW Longlife-12FE Oil Spec (aka BMW LL12FE, Longlife 12FE, LL-12FE): This BMW motor oil specification was formulated around 2013 for both BMW diesel engines equipped with diesel particulate filter (DPF) exhaust systems and also some gasoline engines. Recommended for BMW diesel engines from 2014. Recommended for BMW gasoline with three cylinder, four cylinder and six cylinder engines with one or no turbocharger. The BMW Longlife-12FE formulation is always a fully synthetic long-life oil with a viscosity of SAE 0W-30. The BMW Longlife-12FE motor oil should not be used in gasoline engines with multi turbo systems. (See Related Products Below: RAVENOL FES 0W-30)

BMW 10W-60 M Series Oil Spec: The BMW M Series oil quality standard is a formulation specifically for the BMW S85, S65, S62, and S54 M engines. It is formulated with racing technology to offer these high revving BMW M engines superior protection under the most demanding conditions and is always an SAE 10W-60 viscosity. (See Related Products Below: RAVENOL RSS 10W-60)