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Discussion Starter #1
Guys,

Just want to run something by y'all. I've had this warning come up as I switch off the engine about 3 times in the last year and it's concerning me.

It seems to come up mostly when the car is on an incline or decline. When I check the oil with the dipstick it is never below the middle mark...I check it regularly.

I only recently put 1.5litres in, then another litre a couple of weeks earlier.

Is my engine using more oil than it should be? In total I've probably put in 3 litres over 3k miles. Seems like a lot. OR is there a problem with the oil level sensor?

In your experiences, at what point does the sensor let you know the oil is low? Does it let you know quite early or is it at a very late stage when the engine is desperate for oil?

Also, today when I removed the filler cap I noticed some very slight (steam/smoke/vapour) come out. Never noticed this before - the car had only been running for 10 minutes? Normal?

Any advice appreciated
 

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A little over a litre normally takes me from the dash warning to the top mark. If you are filling 1.5 litres from mid mark, my hunch is that this is overfilled and you will use more in that case.

The dipstick is the master... use that on a level to monitor your usage. I was using a litre in less than 1000 miles, but had no particularly bad symptoms. One time I used a litre in 350 miles which is one of the reasons I took the engine down for rebuilding.

As for the vapour, pretty normal. Condensation evaporates off as you warm up, and you'll have a little more blow-by when cold.
 

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Babs. My car bonged at me once for low oil a few years ago. At that point the level was about a quarter to a third of the way between the dipstick marks. So it's an early warning that kiks in well before you torch your engine - so all is good.

I now check it every week and don't let i get below halfway. Although since switching to Fuchs 15w50 i doesnt seem to use much at all.

As Ben says, the key thing is to use the dipstick regularly - and hank the good lord you own an E34 which still has that functionaliy. Pity those E60 and F10 owners who only have the goobledegook their computers tell them for information....
 

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Some thoughts ...

An oil consumption up to 1-1.5 litres on 1000 km would absolutely not be worrying me.
Oil warnings - similar to other alarms - may pretty often be caused by electronic reasons.
 

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In May I did a 1700 mile round trip in the e34 and had the oil light come on twice during the trip. It sounds like that falls right in line with the posts above. Having an e39 M5 also made me familiar with and more accepting of the consumption issues of an M car. Not knowing that may have caused me to freak out a little too.
 

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Bit of a voice in the choir, but depending how hard i flog the girl i can go a whole oil change with only 1L drank, or i can do some blistering runs and do about the same as you (1L/1000km). one thing i started doing that has improved things is adding zinc to my oil. it really has reduced consumption rates. Trick i learned from the british side of my fleet, as if i dont do this, she drinks deep at the trough. i have been assured that there is no harm in this as older oils (even for our young cars) had a much higher zinc content back in the day.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the responses guys. Seems like my oil consumption is in line with most people.

I'm using the car a lot more than I used to so I may not have noticed it before. Also since i switched to Mobil 1 1060 EL it's definitely using more.
 
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