How to Change Oil on a BMW 330by Russell Wood
German cars are different than American or Japanese cars, and one particular example is the oil filter. On an American car, the oil filter is at the bottom of the engine and is a complete assembly. On a German car, the filter is typically a filter cartridge, mounted on the top of the engine. It's almost easier to replace than an American oil filter, because it doesn't spill oil down your arm, but there are different steps involved. In this case, the project vehicle is a 2001 BMW 330i, but the process is similar for other vehicles as well.
Open the hood and locate the oil filter housing, which is at the front of the engine, just to the right of center. Remove the cap on the housing using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket, then remove the cover and lift the oil filter element out of the engine. Allow the excess oil to drain from the filter so that you don't make a mess.
Slide off the old oil filter element and throw it away. Remove the O-ring on the oil filter housing as well. Lubricate the replacement O-ring that's included with the replacement filter element using the motor oil, then install it on the housing. Slide the replacement filter onto the housing, then reinstall the assembly onto the engine using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Be careful not to over-tighten the housing, as you could damage it.
Raise up the front of the vehicle using the jack and set it on the jack stands. Make sure the vehicle is solidly on the stands before crawling underneath. Slide the drain pan underneath the oil pan. Open the drain plug on the bottom of the oil pan using the ratchet, and allow the engine oil to drain into the pan. Once it's complete, reinstall the drain plug with a new gasket (included with the oil filter kit) and tighten it in place using the ratchet.
Open the oil fill cap on the top of the engine with your hand and fill the engine with the oil. Once complete, lower the vehicle off the stands using the jack and set it on the ground.
Things You'll Need
- 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set
- Drain pan
- Replacement oil filter element kit
- Jack stands
- 6.5 quarts synthetic 10w-40 motor oil
Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.