May 17

2010 BMW X3, Engine Oil Leak Repairs



Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik in Vancouver. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, in fact and we’re talking cars. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well Mark.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a BMW X3 2010 version that had some engine oil leak problems. What was going on with this X3?

Bernie: So the client brought the vehicle in for a regular maintenance service, oil change and inspection and what we noted from the inspection was there was a couple of engine oil leaks. One from the valve cover gasket area, the other from the oil filter housing. These are common areas of leaks on these vehicles once they get a little on in age, this vehicle has about 100,000 kilometres. So that’s what we noted and so we went to proceed to repair the oil leaks.

Mark: So did you find anything else interesting?

Bernie: Yes we did, and this vehicle, so this vehicle had not had it’s oil changes done regularly, it was quite overdue for an oil service by many thousand kilometres and the oil service interval in these vehicles was 25,000 kilometres which in and of itself is a very long time. But what we found, it was apparent right away when we started the service and took the oil cap off there was a lot of sludge in the oil, inside the oil cap. So I’ll share a few photos. This is our, this is the oil cap. Just take a minute to have a look. This is the underside of the oil cap and all this stuff here, this is all sludge. This is like oil that’s been kind of, it’s kind of half tar, half oil stuck to the bottom of the oil filler cap. I don’t have a clean one to show you but basically all this stuff here, that my mouse pointer swirling around should not be there. Go to our next picture and this is the inside of the valve cover. So once we took the valve cover off, we replaced the valve cover gasket, this was coated all on the inside, now again you know without having a picture of a clean one, it’s hard to get exactly, know what we’re looking at here but just know that all this stuff here that my mouse pointer is going over, it’s a thick layer about 1/8 of an inch thick of just tarry, scummy build up inside the valve cover which is not a good thing. Just a couple of things here, this is where the spark plugs sit in the middle of the valve cover. So this is the spark plug tubes. So there’s, this is a 6 cylinder engine so we’re looking at the centre of the valve cover here. There’s also a Valvetronic actuator motor that goes through the valve cover and that sits in this position here. The oil filler cap sits right there, so if you get an idea of that cap, we’re looking at the underside, that’s where that would be sitting with all the sludge.

Mark: So just to interrupt you for a second, would this be normal, is this a metal valve cover?

Bernie: No it’s plastic.

Mark: So would, it might be black on the inside?

Bernie: It would be black and once it’s cleaned up, I mean you’d see something that looks a little more like this all the way through but you know it, nonetheless I mean, we have a very, we have an awesome parts washing machine in our shop and it’s kind of like a dishwasher for car parts. It does an amazing job, we had to put this thing through three or four times to get all the sludge out of it. So the thing about the sludge, it’s not actually going to cause any damage. I’ll just share another photo, this is the BMW, this is a 2010 BMW X3. So this is the last, there are two generations, so this the last of that generation so.

Mark: So this could cause engine damage?

Bernie: Well the actual sludge itself, yes it can, but what it really represents is that the oil had deteriorated badly so the lubrication quality of the oil is way lower than it should be and so there’s definitely some time down the road there’s definitely going to be a price to pay for this bad maintenance. Whether that’s worn out timing chains, this vehicle uses a variable valve timing and so those actuators and things, they rely on clean oil without sludge because the sludge will block the passage way. So it’s critical to have that clean oil. So yeah it represents a definite problem.

Mark: So what you’re saying is change your oil regularly?

Bernie: Absolutely. I mean we say, I think every hangout we talk about changing oil regularly, but yeah it’s so critical.

Mark: And how often should the oil be changed in the BMW?

Bernie: Well it depends on who you listen to. But my advice is probably about every 12 to 15,000 kilometres for any BMWs built in the last 15 years. Most of them, all BMWs they have a service reminder, it’s usually set for 25,000 kilometre oil changes which is ridiculously too long in my opinion. You know by the time, if you actually go the the 25,000 k’s,the oil is just disgusting. I mean it doesn’t resemble oil at all anymore, whereas if you do it at 12 to 15k’s you’re still getting oil that’s still got some cleanliness to it and I think it’s a much better option. So why they leave it that long, it’s a good sales pitch you know, when you’re buying the vehicle, you’re in the showroom, “Hey our cars don’t need that much maintenance, you can come in once every year or maybe every two years, the cars going to tell you when to change the oil, so you don’t need to worry about it” which is nice, it makes things simple. But in the end, it’s not a good strategy for long life of the vehicle, Depends on what you want, if you want to lease a car for three years and replace it by all means. But if you care about your car and you want to keep it for along time, doing it more often make a lot of sense.

Mark: So there you go, if you have a BMW if you need to have some service done on, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to book ahead they’re busy or check out their website Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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