If you relied on the dashboard service lights to time your service, how many kilometres would you be doing between each service?


Asked by May 29, 2015 at 11:59 PM about the 2001 BMW 5 Series

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I like to service my cars every 5,000 kms.  If I went by the lights, would it be leaving it too long , as German engines like good oil!

8 Answers


It varies. The computer calculates engine RPMs, engine temps, and driving habits to determine when to service the vehicle. You won't be hurting anything, in my opinion, doing your service intervals the old fashioned way. That's what I do. Just remember to reset the system each time you service your BMW. That way you won't get a false service reminder light. HTH. -Jim

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Thanks for your advice, Jim. I suppose one could follow both principles! Mary

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OK- this is a pretty generalized question on a very sensitive machine- I would say to change the oil more often, 3000 miles- keep up to date on all other service items- find a good BMW technician and have the garage evaluate the condition of your car and find out all problem areas of your model- be very proactive with the BMW's maintenance, or you will find some very expensive problems stalking you- they already are-

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I wouldn't rely on the service indicator. I change my oil every 5,000-7,500 miles using full synthetic.

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You're welcome, Mary. Glad to help. -Jim


Thanks, everyone. It's an interesting topic. I agree about being 'proactive' with maintenance. I do love the sensitivity and superiority of these superbly-crafted engines & I feel they deserve respect. (Anyone who drives a BMW like a hot rod has no sense of style!) I have a 735i that is over 30 yrs old. I've had doubts about the reliability of the service indicator lights, especially on the older models (is this unreasonable of me?) so I've been changing the oil every 5000 KMS & the engine has never skipped a beat. But I'm looking at buying a used BM & hoping the former owner has been as meticulous as us! (Mary)


You can get a vehicle history report such as Carfax that will show you the service history. Most reputable service facilities now report to Carfax. When I sold my '93 Chevy Caprice in 2012 I ran the Carfax report for the car. Every time I had taken it in for service it was noted on the report. Even though I bought the car new the Carfax report was about 6 pages long. My local Chevy dealer began reporting to Carfax in 2000. The guy who bought my Caprice knew that he was getting a well maintained car. HTH. -Jim

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You can't always rely on Carfax for service, though. Many people change their oil and perform various jobs themselves. I'll only go to a mechanic when something needs to be done that I don't want to do or can't handle.

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