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      09-16-2009, 08:19 PM   #1
AMPowerJ
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Oil Gauge - Don't know which reading to believe!

Hi Guys - I need some help. I am not sure my oil gauge is working properly. Let me start off by stating I have 5000 miles on my car since the 1200 mile service and I have never added any oil. Also I have noticed in the past that on the interstate the oil gauge will drop a tick or two. However, I have read on this forum that the gauge is most accurate when reset with the car on level ground and not moving. Using this method it has always read full for the past 5000 miles.

Today while on the interstate I received a warning that I needed to add 1qt of oil. When I arrived at my destination I reset the oil gauge to double-check and it read full again. WTF? On the way back home the oil gauge was reading full and suddenly dropped down all at once to state I needed to add a quart. However when I got back home and checked the oil in the garage it again went back up to full.

So what the hell do I do? I could understand a slight difference between readings while moving and while stopped but not a whole quart. I don't want to drive a quart low but don't want to add oil when I don't need it for obvious reasons.

Can anyone describe how this gauge actually gets its reading? I think I am going to drain all the oil out and check to see how much is actually in it. That is the only way I really know how to figure this out. Think the gauge is faulty or have others seen this same thing?

This by far is the worst part of the car!
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      09-17-2009, 09:31 AM   #2
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the sensor that is responsible for the oil level reading can become clogged causing inaccurate oil level readings-

When i worked for BMW i used to see a lot of m5s/m6s come in with the same problem.

It turns out that the owners were 'pussy footing' the cars around and not getting the oil hot enough to burn or clean the contaminants/moisture off the sensor-

basically, BMW issued a fix that involved keeping the motor at high rpms for several minutes; and then you would do that several times-

They say that would clean the sensor- If not, then sensor replacement is necessary-
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      09-17-2009, 09:37 AM   #3
AMPowerJ
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Thanks. I keep my oil as hot as it will go so I doubt that is the problem but who knows. I am not going to add any oil right now because this morning it is reading full. When I change the oil in a couple of months I should get a better picture of how much is actually in it. Do you think it is normal for the oil gauge to read low after sustained RPMs like on the interstate?
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      09-17-2009, 11:34 AM   #4
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What do you mean by reset? I'm under the impression, that all you should be doing is reading it via the instrument cluster or idrive.
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      09-17-2009, 01:04 PM   #5
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You can hold the button on the stalk to reset the oil gauge to have the computer take another reading. Same thing happens if you turn the car off and start it again.
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      09-17-2009, 04:06 PM   #6
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what a BS problem to be having...a simple DIPSTICK would cure all of this wondering.
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      09-19-2009, 07:33 AM   #7
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I have 10,000km and never added any oil, it's on the same level as day 1
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      09-19-2009, 07:56 AM   #8
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I would take it to the dealer and complain. They should drain your oil and refill it manually counting how much is in there.... (free oil change).

I got a free oil change due to my dealer screwing up when my oil was slightly low one time. The put less than half a quart in and it read over full, but since no one knows how much over full is they were forced to drain the oil and manually measure it. Turned out to be just a couple ounces over. But they had to refill it with fresh oil
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      09-19-2009, 03:16 PM   #9
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You're doing it right buddy. To make doubly sure, just turn the engine off and on again while sitting in your usual garage spot (with the engine fully hot), rather than thru a reset. If it shows full again, no need to ever do that again (just the 'reset', like you've been doing). Remember the sensor can take a reading at any moment between 5 and 15 miles, so DON'T pay attention to those readings. If you were negotiating a curve, or braking, or accelerating... there goes your 'quart missing'.

By the way, a bad/malfunctioning sensor at only 6K+ miles is extremely unlikely, especially when it reads full the way you're supposed to measure oil level. I wouldn't worry about that, but it's a great idea to measure the amount of oil that drains out. Please keep us posted on that. Take care.
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      09-19-2009, 03:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elp_jc View Post
You're doing it right buddy. To make doubly sure, just turn the engine off and on again while sitting in your usual garage spot (with the engine fully hot), rather than thru a reset. If it shows full again, no need to ever do that again (just the 'reset', like you've been doing). Remember the sensor can take a reading at any moment between 5 and 15 miles, so DON'T pay attention to those readings. If you were negotiating a curve, or braking, or accelerating... there goes your 'quart missing'.

By the way, a bad/malfunctioning sensor at only 6K+ miles is extremely unlikely, especially when it reads full the way you're supposed to measure oil level. I wouldn't worry about that, but it's a great idea to measure the amount of oil that drains out. Please keep us posted on that. Take care.
Thanks man. Yeah I didn't add any oil and it seems to be okay. I believe what you say about how the gauge operates but I wonder why the manual does not go into more detail about this? If I pulled over as soon as the gauge said to add a quart and I did that I would most likely have a significant overfill situation. I am going to report how much oil is actually in it when I change it soon.
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      09-19-2009, 04:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMPowerJ View Post
If I pulled over as soon as the gauge said to add a quart and I did that I would most likely have a significant overfill situation.
Yeah, that's exactly what happens to a lot of owners who don't understand how the sensor works, and end up at a dealership to get some oil drained (which is very easy to do youself, by the way, since the front sump holds just 1/2L). Same with topping off oil; manual only says to wait until you get the 'add 1L oil of risk engine damage'() message, rather than explain how to top it off 1/4L as soon as level drops below full (which is exactly what I plan to do, just like I do with my dipstick-equipped cars). Germans think we're too stupid to understand how to deal with electronic sensors, so decided to leave that out of the manual . Take care.
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