Today’s feature is a maintenance service on a 2011 BMW 550ix, brought to us by a client from Richmond, BC.
The BMW 550ix is an amazing vehicle, and with its twin turbo V8 engine and all wheel drive system moves incredibly quickly and sticks to the road. While all that technology is great, routine maintenance keeps it running well and holds repairs to a minimum.
BMW has used a maintenance reminder system for several decades. The original system featured several green lights for the oil change and amber lights for a general inspection. After service was performed the reminder lamps on the dash could be reset with a special tool or in later years by a scan tool.
With their newer models, from the mid 2000s and newer, BMW has come up with a more sophisticated system. Maintenance status is accessed with the idrive: that large round knob on the console and illuminated on a display panel.
The system now advises you of more than just oil change and inspection. It reminds you of when your brake pads need to be changed and your brake fluid flushed. After service is performed a scan tool is required to reset the related service.
What BMW has done here is taken the critical service items and put them on display to make sure that they are handled as needed. Add the convenience of tire pressure monitoring and you can pretty much just drive your BMW until a warning lamp comes on to tell you something is wrong or a service is required.
Sounds pretty fantastic, however it still leaves many vehicle system unattended. What about the level and quality of drivetrain fluids? What about the steering and suspension? What about a worn belt or an about to fail cooling system component? A routine comprehensive inspection performed annually on an over five year old vehicle is critical to keep your car running well, safe and reliable.
One concern that I have is that BMW’s oil change interval is too long; 24,000 kilometers is really pushing it. By the time we change oil with this long usage it is extremely dirty and contaminated. Changing oil every 15,000 kilometers is more prudent if you want long life out of your vehicle. If you drive lesser amounts an annual inspection and maintenance is still critical.
It is great to appreciate and embrace the technology of modern cars however just remember that automobile manufacturers are in the business of selling new cars. Their primary concerns are that the car is trouble free in the warrantee period and somewhat trouble free for a few years after that. Most vehicles are built far better than most people think and will easily last 20 years with little trouble, provided you maintain them well.
Keeping a car on the road for a long time minimizes the carbon footprint and resource usage in the manufacturing of that vehicle: it’s better for our planet. This is what we do at our business: prolong the life of your vehicle to save you money and our environment.