The 2002 BMW M5 owners manual states that the car's service intervals are not determined by mileage or time per se but that the car actually takes into account driver style and useage. This is then reflected in the service indicator gauge (the little green lights in the lower left of the instrument display). I am aware of the 1200 mile service interval but have heard others on this board refer to regular service intervals. Moreover, my deler just sent me a letter saying that the dealer would remind me of service intervals. Is there a regular service schedule for the M5 beyond the 1200 mile check up or do you just wait for the car's indicator to tell you when service is necessary?
Welcome to the board! You have come to the right place for advice, but realize you will get varied opinions and answers to this question?... Here is my response.
I have always been one of those people who believes in preventative maintenance and I don't much care what BMW says, I am going to change my oil every 3000 miles no matter what. I had my mechanic change my oil during the 1200 mile service, and I have been religious ever since changing it every 3000 miles.
Now you ask if this is necessary? - probably not?! But I feel it is cheap insurance to guarantee my engine always has clean lubrication.
As for the service interval lights, the system is "supposed" to be smart enough to take into account your driving style, ambient conditions, etc... as well as mileage to determine when to light up the last LED indicating it is time to bring her in. Several folks here have indicated that they went way past 10K miles before doing the first oil service. Again, although this is probably ok and is certainly supported by BMW, and given the great advances with synthetic lubricants these days, it is very likely this is perfectly ok for the motor. I, on the other hand, am from the old school and will stay with my "every 3000 miles" regimen.
Older BMWs had service intervals that were tied to mileage. Thus, there really were regular service intervals every few thousand miles.
Newer models are "smarter" and the service intervals are determined by the car's systems, which are supposed to factor in how hard the car is being driven, rather than being tied specifically to mileage.
Although the service intervals are not time-based, the manual also says that if you drive less than 6,000 miles per year, you should change your oil at least annually.
The service intervals are not, however, limited to oil service. There are other components of the car that are scheduled for inspection, replacement or service at different points in the car's service life.
The dealer will just be making a SWAG at your service intervals, until you have established a pattern of useage that allows their service department to make a more educated guess.
I've heard that modern oils are good for much greater service intervals that the oils our fathers used. As he said, changing the oil every 3000 miles is probably not necessary, but you can't fault him for being religious about preventive maintenance. Andy takes very good care of his car.
I agree with Andy. Do not rely on those service lights to be accurate.
We have a '98 MRoadster and enjoy driving in a spirited manner, it also goes to a few track events. The lights on the Roadster went out slower than the lights on our '98 528i and we barely ever pushed that car.
Best advice, change the oil yourself, but don't let anybody reset the lights.
I think there is another thread on this, but as I recall, the predominate factor affecting how fast your green lights go out is fuel consumption, the idea being that if you drive hard, you guzzle more gas, and thus need service sooner. But if your hard driving is a track event where you might be cornering hard, but not necessarily consuming a lot of fuel, then the lights won't go out any faster than a street driven car. Also, as far as I can tell, there is no time feature, so if you don't consume enough fuel, the lights still don't go out in a year's time. I know it's supposed to keep track of cold starts and all, but I can't tell the difference.
Everyone has their pet schedules that vary from the recommended intervals. I'm rather inconsistent, but try to change oil either when 1/2 the lights go out and again when they all go out, or at least every 6 months. I'd say whichever comes first, but usually, I lose track so more often than not it's when 1/2 the lights go out. (Now, you will point out to me that there are 5 green lights, so do I change at 2 out or 3 out? Usually 2.) For me, that's about 7-8000 miles, as I get incredibly good fuel mileage for an M5 since most of my (rather long but enjoyable) commute is on the highway. Yes, this means I have to pay for at least half of my oil changes, but to make it easy on myself I use one of those vacuum machines that suck it out of the dipstick tube. I probably should change the filter, too, but about half the time I don't, since according to BMW, I'm not supposed to even need to change the oil.