BMW automobiles are known for their high performance capabilities – in particular, the ability of their engines to provide an excellent balance of horsepower and fuel mileage. It is only logical, then, that in order to maintain the engines found in BMW cars and crossovers it is necessary to use the highest performing engine oil in the business: synthetic oil.
What is synthetic oil, and how is it different from traditional engine oil? Conventional engine lubricants are based on petroleum products which have been refined from crude oil, and while they do an adequate job of protecting most engines from wear and tear, their natural origins and characteristics limit their ability to address extreme conditions or special engine needs.
Synthetic oil is an engine lubricant that is typically created in a laboratory and which contains a specific mix of additives that are designed to meet the high pressures and temperatures found in modern engines. With complete control over the size of each oil molecule as well as the composition of the lubricant itself, synthetic engine oil often contains properties that cannot be found in traditional engine oil.
Synthetic oil also has to meet much higher performance standards than standard engine oil. Synthetic oils resist thermal breakdown (the propensity of oil to lose is viscosity due to heat) better than traditional lubricants and as a result they offer better performance over extended intervals, allowing oil changes to occur less frequently than with standard oil. Synthetic oil also flows better at very low temperatures, which reduces engine wear at engine startup in winter climates. The additives in synthetic oil further play an important role in cleaning out engine deposits and other unwanted debris, helping to keep the valve train cleaner and running more efficiently than standard oil.
Given the benefits provided by synthetic oil versus traditional engine oil, it is no surprise that BMW requires its use in each and every one of its automobiles. In fact, BMW provides its own brand of synthetic oil to its dealerships: BMW High Performance SAE 5W-30 Synthetic Oil. BMW M cars see their own unique formulation of synthetic engine oil from the company (BMW Long-life rating LL-01 Synthetic), a lubricant that is specifically designed to meet the rigors of the race-bred motors found in these automobiles.
Heading to your local BMW Center for an oil change is the best way to ensure that your BMW is refreshed with genuine BMW synthetic oil. However, if you are ever caught in a pinch without access to BMW-branded synthetic, the company does offer a list of alternatives that should see you through until you can get to a BMW Service Center and have your oil completely changed. These oils, which are listed online at the BMW website (http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Content/Owner/SyntheticEngineOils.aspx), have been judged to meet the German automaker’s high standards for synthetic oil performance.
There are no substitutes for the important technological advantages offered by synthetic oil when properly maintaining your BMW.