I recently completed an oil change for my 2009 MC at about the 5000 mile mark . After looking around quite a bit, I wasn't able to find a good point for point oil change post for the 2nd generation MINI. So, after cobbling together whatever info I could find, (since the owner's manual is decidedly silent on some things), I put this post together in the hopes that it helps others out there who would like to take care of their own MINI without having to run out to BMW for every little thing.
Here's the items you will need:
1. Oil Filter. I picked up this Purolator filter at Advance Auto Parts for about $26. Way too much money but the only one available at the time. You can also use WIX 57512 (about $16). Others have said you can find OEM filters cheap on the internet.
Made In Germany: Made me feel a little better about shelling out the $$ for it, but not much. I assume the numbers are date of manufacture. The internal support structure is made of plastic.
Before you leave the store, make sure it has the included o-ring in the box.
2. Oil (duh). 4qts is all I needed. Buy 5 if you just want to sure you have enough (always better to have extra than too little). Now, there are differing opinions on which oil is the best to use, but you do have choices other than the MINI oil that you have to get from BMW. I chose 0W-40 because it does get warm around here (Texas), and I'm curious if it will effect my gas mileage. I'll add that to the post when I find out. And yes, I know MINI recommends Castrol, but I couldn't find it at the time and Mobil 1 is on the list.
I put this here to save ya'll the trouble of fishing for it. But if you go to miniusa.com and make an account in the owner's lounge and then navigate to my mini, and then read down in the warranty section, you will find this. So, pick which ever oil you are most comfortable with according to your climate. But it would probably be a good idea to stick to whatever they have listed, just from a legal standpoint in case anything goes weird.
OK. Now the work. Here's looking at the engine oil drain plug from behind the front passenger tire.
You will need an 8mm hex head socket to unscrew the drain plug.
Not to be condensending, but the oil pan is on the right
side of the car. The left side (driver's side), has the silver metal housing which is the transmission. It also has a drain plug. It also has a sticker that says you never have to drain it. Just so you know.
I drove the car up on some ramps and as you can see, this is a shot from under the front of the car. You can tell the drain plug is at the back of the pan, so having the car tilted back shouldn't cause a problem with undrained oil.
I was able to figure out how much to tighten this plug by backing it out a fraction and then using a torque wrench to get it tight again. When reinstalling, tighten to 120 inch lbs.
If you don't have a torque wrench, observe the flange of the plug and you will notice a very small "N" stamped onto it. Just take note, or make a mark on your pan, of where the "N" lines up, and tighten to there. Don't over tighten.
As you can see, there is no way at all to get this plug out without getting a little dirty. If someone out there figures out something clever, feel free to share. This may seem obvious, but make sure your oil is not scorching hot when you do this. The neighborhood children might be listening. The oil should be warm, but not cook you.
Some folks have stated their oil was very dark at their first change while other have noticed a slight sheen due to microscopic metal in the oil due to break in and normal wear and tear. I didn't see any of this. The oil was fairly clean with a dark honey color. About what you would expect from a synthetic oil after 5000 miles. Perhaps it could go for 15,000 miles like MINI says. But like most of ya'll, I just don't feel comfortable with that.
Now on to the filter. Now, I know
this is a European car, but I found that a 1 1/16 12 point socket fit just right on the head of the filter casing. So you can use that if you've got one. Other folks have said it takes a 36mm 6 point socket.
Access is pretty good, I didn't need to move anything to get to the filter.
If I'm reading this right, it says to tighten to 25.5 Nm (Newton Meters)
Which near as I can figure is equal to 225 inch lbs. But that is way too tight
so I must be reading this wrong. Somebody come up with the correct answer for the benefit of the readers. Read below for the proper way to tighten this casing.
If you don't have a socket, a large crescent wrench will do. But be sure to get a proper bite on the flats of the casing hex head or you will strip it. It's only plastic.
In the end, I just reached down there and discovered that while very snug, it was just hand tight. And when you reinstall it, that is how tight you will go. It turns until a certain point when the plastic flange touches the metal body and then that's it, it's tight. Maybe give it another 1/8 inch turn for fun and then let it be.
As you unscrew the filter housing, you will feel a constant resistance. This is due to the o-ring on the housing in contact with the metal body. Unscrew until this point and then let it sit 2-3 minutes to allow any oil to drain from the filter down into the pan. Note the paper towels tucked underneath the housing to catch any dripping oil.
Filter housing removed from engine casing. Use some paper towels to catch any oil that drips out. It's not necessary, but I also sopped up the remaining oil out of the casing.
Filter housing removed from engine.
Old filter next to new filter. The first thing to do is remove the old o-ring from the filter housing.
You will need a small flat head screwdriver to get under the lip of the o-ring and coax it off. Roll it up and over the threads. Be careful not to damage it in case you break the new o-ring and have to reuse the old one.
Get a few drops of oil out of the housing and rub it all over the new o-ring. Gently roll it down over the threads and into it's seat. Make sure and lubricate it with oil all around so it does not tear or bind when you reinstall the housing onto the engine. Place the new filter into the housing. Mine went in with little resistance but enough to hold it in place.
Carefully screw the filter housing back into the engine casing. You will feel resistance as the o-ring presses against the metal. Tighten the plastic filter housing by hand until the plastic flange contacts the metal collar. Tighten maybe another 1/8 inch to snug it up, and then let it be.
At this point, reinstall the engine pan drain plug as noted above. Torque to 120 inch lbs. and clean the area thoroughly. This will make it easy to tell if you have any leaks rather than wonder if it was some oil you left behind.
Add your oil. I added 4 quarts and that brought the oil level to half way on the dipstick indicator. Start the engine and crawl under the car for a minute and make sure there is no leakage at the drain plug. Also check for leaks around the filter housing. I backed it off the ramps, let is sit 5 minutes, and it was still at the proper level of half up the indicator. I drove it around until hot, let sit a few hours until cool, and the level was the same. So I guess 4 quarts it is. I thought it would be a bit more, if someone has the OEM specs, please share. The engine oil capacity is not listed in the owner's manual or anywhere else that I can find.
Yea, I know it says Castrol, but don't get spooked. Castrol doesn't make the only good synthetic oil out there.
As many people have noted, the dipstick on this MINI is difficult to read at best. If you take a look at the dipstick tube, you see that it has a pretty good curve going into the engine. I have found that as you pull the dipstick back out of the tube, the indicator rubs against the outside bend of the tube and gets covered with oil. Basically ruining your ability to read the oil level.
So the way to get around this, is to pull the dipstick out without rotating it to keep one side of the dipstick to the outside of the bend, and one side to the inside of the bend so it doesn't get wet.
Keep track of which side was on the inside of the curve as you pull it out and this is the side that you read. It's still hard to see but you will get more consistent readings if you follow this procedure.
I didn't reset the oil change reminder on the computer because I just change the oil every 5000 miles anyway. I'll let BMW change it at 15,000 and they can reset it then.
Well, that's it. Hope this post, if a bit wordy, helps others out there. Needless to say, like the rest of ya'll, I love my MINI. If my gas mileage changes due to viscosity of the new oil, I'll make a note of it down here.
I'll have another post up soon on tire rotation. Not a hard thing, but what the heck.