Quick, Cheap, and Expensive Oil Change. Yup, you're right... it's an oxymoron.

We're referring to the BMW 2002s we see at our shop about once a week who have had an oil change at a quick, cheap place. Now don't get me wrong... I'm all in favor of quick and cheap oil changes. They help keep you engine alive longer. What I'm not in favor of is the oil pans which we see with cracks in them because the oil drain plug was overtightened, stripped and/or oversized.

The oil pan on most BMW models is aluminum and uses a drain plug with a thin aluminum or copper crush washer. It is supposed to be tightened to a factory-specified torque... no more, no less. When it is overtightened, it can strip threads out of the pan, break off the drain plug bolt and/or crack the oil pan.

Oil pans average a few hundred dollars, while labor is another few hundred. Although some pans can be repaired a few times, many become expensive scrap metal. Your quick cheap oil change just became expensive. We make the point repeatedly because we see at least a few pans a week that need replacement unnecessarily due to... well I didn't want to say it but I will... STUPIDITY.

If you have your BMW 2002 serviced by a facility that not only knows what it is looking at, but also knows what ELSE to look out for, you will sleep a lot better Ask me one day how I know this...

Author: Jim Wheeler
The Cajun Courier, April 1999 BMW CCA Bayou Chapter