Which brand and type of motor oil you choose to put into your BMW’s engine can make the difference between a longer engine life or a shorter one.
Motor oil is the lifeblood of the internal combustion engine. It keeps the moving parts lubricated in conditions of high heat and pressure. Those conditions cause even synthetic oils to break down, and debris to clog the oil filter.
BMW lists recommended oil viscosity, type, and brand for each of its vehicle models on their website and your owner’s guide. They also create Long Life formulations from time to time for owners maintaining older vehicles that you may want to research.
Modern BMW engines are designed for specifically formulated synthetic motor oils, unlike older engines that could use conventional motor oil. If you’re wondering how to choose the best oil for BMW, we’ll break it down into a few key factors in a buyer’s guide after our reviews.
Top 5 BMW Engine Oils
1. Mobil 1 120760 Synthetic Motor Oil 0W-40
2. Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 5W-30
3. Castrol 03084 EDGE 5W-30 Advanced Full Synthetic
4. Motul 007250 8100 X-cess 5W-40 Synthetic
5. Mann/Genuine Synthetic 5w30 7-Quarts Motor Oil & Filter Kit
- Top 5 BMW Engine Oils
- 1. Mobil 1 120760 Synthetic Motor Oil 0W-40 – Best Overall Quality
- 2. Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 5W-30 – Best All-Weather Oil
- 3. Castrol 03084 EDGE 5W-30 Advanced Full Synthetic – Best Value Oil
- 4. Motul 007250 8100 X-cess 5W-40 Synthetic – Best Diesel Engine Oil
- 5. Mann/Genuine Synthetic 5w30 7-Quarts Motor Oil & Filter Kit – Most Convenient Option
- How to Choose the Best Oil for BMW
- The Bottom Line
We’ve done the research on each of the top five brands of motor oil that will ensure your new BMW keeps running at its peak performance. We laid out the pros and cons of buying each of them, along with our notes about the formulation’s selling points. Below is a list of the best oils for BMW vehicles that are available on the market today.
1. Mobil 1 120760 Synthetic Motor Oil 0W-40 – Best Overall Quality
The 0W cold-start rating is excellent for drivers who need to start their engines on frigid winter mornings. The low viscosity will minimize engine wear while it warms up.
Mobil’s synthetic formulation includes a special detergent that dissolves the sludge that can build up between oil changes, and the oil’s viscosity is designed to maximize fuel efficiency.
We recommend this brand to BMW owners looking for a motor oil formulated for European performance engines.
2. Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 5W-30 – Best All-Weather Oil
It’s also considered to be a good oil to keep in an engine when it sits in storage for long periods of time. It doesn’t harden gaskets as quickly as other oil formulas can.
Valvoline comes in second in our round-up of BMW oils. It’s more affordable than other brands, but it provides good protection even when you don’t drive a vehicle daily.
3. Castrol 03084 EDGE 5W-30 Advanced Full Synthetic – Best Value Oil
It provides excellent viscosity at both cold and hot temperatures, which is helpful for those who drive in both wintry and steamy seasonal weather.
It’s also made to delay the hardening of engine gaskets that can lead to oil leaks.
The mileage that five quarts of Castrol Edge oil is rated to last isn’t as high as other oil formulations, but your savings on the lower price somewhat makes up for that shortcoming. We recommend it for buyers with tight budgets.
4. Motul 007250 8100 X-cess 5W-40 Synthetic – Best Diesel Engine Oil
In fact, it was the best diesel oil for BMWs that we reviewed.
The oil stands up well to the high temperatures and pressure that larger engines create. Motul partners with racing teams to create custom synthetic oils for their high-performance vehicles, which the brand has used to improve their consumer motor oil as well.
If you have a high-performance BMW or a diesel engine, we recommend Motul’s X-cess brand synthetic oil if you have the budget for it.
5. Mann/Genuine Synthetic 5w30 7-Quarts Motor Oil & Filter Kit – Most Convenient Option
This Genuine synthetic oil change kit comes with everything you need to complete the job.
The catch is that you’ll potentially get a couple of extra quarts of oil if you have a smaller BMW engine. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since BMW engines will consume some oil under the best of conditions.
We recommend this kit for DIY home mechanics who change their own oil and want to save some time spent finding the right oil filter. Just make sure the kit fits your engine before you buy it.
How to Choose the Best Oil for BMW
BMW recommends or requires synthetic motor oil for most engines made in recent years. There’s plenty to be said about the superiority of synthetic oil over conventional motor oil, but it can more difficult to compare synthetic oil brands.
There a few different specifications to check when choosing which oil to buy when it’s time for an oil change. It’s important to match the oil to your BMW’s engine design, but there are other factors like your local climate and type of driving.
SAE Approvals for BMW Engines
SAE codes like 5W-30 describe the viscosity of motor oil at cold and hot temperatures. The first number is the viscosity at winter temperatures, and the second number is the oil’s thickness at the temperature of a running engine.
BMW recommends certain viscosity ratings for engines depending on the year of its make. It’s important to stick to these ratings for your vehicle when you buy oil. If you live in a cold-weather area, buying lower cold-rated oil formulations will make cold-starts easier.
BMW Recommended Oil Brands
From year to year, BMW changes the brand of motor oil that they consider the best brand for their vehicle engines. While many BMW owners may have their own preferences, the automaker does perform extensive testing to decide which brand is best in their vehicles. Following this recommendation is optional, of course. Modern engines can operate with any appropriate motor oil within the viscosity ranges that BMW specifies.
Number of Quarts
Engines require different amounts of oil per change based on their size and performance. Most smaller engines use five quarts of oil, while larger high-performance engines can require as much as eight quarts of oil. Check your owner’s manual for the right amount for your BMW.
Oil Change Frequencies
The need to change motor oil periodically stems from two different problems. First, oil breaks down chemically over time because of the heat and pressure inside of a running engine. When this happens, it eventually loses its ability to lubricate the engine properly, and engine damage will happen unless the oil is replaced.
The second problem is that debris from the friction of moving parts rubbing each other eventually clogs the oil filter and remains in the oil. That debris will also cause excessive engine wear if it isn’t removed. Follow the frequency of oil changes recommended for your BMW model and buy oil that’s designed to last that long.
Kits and Price
Another consideration is the savings that you can get from buying kits that bundle oil filters together with the number of quarts needed for an oil change. The pricing on different brands can also be a factor to consider when deciding what your maintenance budget will be for your BMW.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you find the right motor oil that fits your budget and your BMW’s engine. The differences between brands of synthetic oil aren’t large, but they do make a difference in the long run.
While Mobil 1’s synthetic oil impressed us, the other choices in this line-up each have their strong points, like the convenience of the Genuine synthetic oil and filter kit. Come back next year for an update on the motor oils best suited for BMW vehicles.