I’ve always wanted to work on cars but my excuse was that a 2002 Camry wasn’t exciting to work on so I never really bothered. Now that we have a new car (“used lol”) I don’t think I have that excuse anymore so I’m trying to document the process so that when I forget how to do things I can reference my old work without having to do a ton of research to try to remember how to do things again.


How to do an Oil Change on a 2013 BMW X3

Mann-Filter HU 816 X

LiquiMoly 5W-40

Replacement pieces I used:

Here is what the overall process looks like.

  1. Raise the vehicle (I used Rhino Ramps)
  2. Open up the caps to allow for airflow. (Engine oil cap and engine oil filter cap)
  3. Remove drain plug cover, then the drain plug.
  4. Drain the oil.
  5. Replace the drain plug crush washer.
  6. Replace the oil filter and o-rings (small one and big one).
  7. Close drain plug.
  8. Fill oil.
  9. Put back oil filter.
  10. Close cap.
  11. Measure engine oil (Use your iDrive controls)
  12. Reset sensor (Buttons on the leftside of dashboard)

Raise the Vehicle

So to change the engine oil, we obviously need to get under the car. So with the Mini Cooper, I’ve just been using a jack to do tires or Rhino Ramps by themselves. But after doing an oil change on the BMW X3, I realized that it doesn’t feel nice to think that the only thing keeping the car from crushing you is some plastic. So I think the best thing to do is to purchase some jack stands as a precautionary measure in case those things fail.

Rhino Ramps 16,000 lbs

I think the RhinoRamps I’m using are the 12,000lb ones, but I don’t think they even sell those. So it’s most likely these 16,000 lb Rhino Ramps. Personally, I’d prefer it to support as much weight as possible as they’d give me more peace of mind. https://amzn.to/3xyZfCs

I think the BMW X3 is about 4 tonnes. So at 16,000 lbs we should be good. However with it being plastic it scares me a little bit to go underneath the car to do the oil change.

Jack Stands for Added Safety

In the future, I’d like to use jack stands in combination with the Rhino Ramps. Since they’re plastic I just want to have peace of mind if those ramps fail. So having jack stands gives me a sense of reassurance that I know that I’ll have something to protect me while I’m under the car. BMWs are interesting as from what I’ve checked is that their jack points are all plastic so it’s best to have a jack pad that protects the plastic jack point from the jack. https://amzn.to/3hqUQfD

Jack Pads May be Needed for the BMW X3

And then I suppose you’ll need jack pads as well. The thing that confuses me about the jack stand is that it always looks like it’ll only hold the body of the car. It’s something I’ll have to do more research into when the time comes. But for now, these will be the ones I want to purchase unless I’m proven otherwise. https://amzn.to/3ABV2QH

How to use the Rhino Ramps by yourself.

I’m not sure if you can tell but our driveway is like falling apart, so that adds to the scariness of it all. I basically just looked for the flattest part of my driveway so that the rhino ramps felt sturdy. And as long as it didn’t shake too much and didn’t seem like they were going to move I kept them there. Then I bring the car as close as possible to double-check that the ramps were directly in front of the tires (no turning required). Then I got into the car and drove slowly up the ramp.

Drive Up The Ramps Slowly

You basically hear a loud *umph* to hear when your tires hit the back wall of the rhino ramps and you stop moving. Don’t gas too hard cause it seems that’s how other people have broken their ramps. Put the car in park and engage the e-brake. (This happens around 1:15 on the YouTube video)

Secure the Car (E-Brake, Tire Chocks)

Then add tire chocks at the back of your wheels. I don’t have that so I just used two bricks that I had lying around to prevent the car from rolling backwards.

Note to Self: Buy Jack Stands (BMW X3 Oil Change on Plastic Ramps is Scary)

I know the Rhino Ramps are supposed to support up to 16 tonnes, but because the BMW X3’s drain plug is so far in. Changing the engine oil just didn’t feel safe, knowing that the entire weight of the car was just being held up by plastic above me. I know they probably don’t add much safety but I think I’d just feel better if I had jack stands beside me in case the plastic snapped. I’ve seen some reviews where the Rhino Ramps split in the middle (although I think it happens when people drive too fast over the raceway – but I don’t want to chance that.)

Something to note about jack stands though. I’m pretty sure that with the BMW X3 the jack points are made of plastic so the best thing to do is to use jack pads. I’d still need to do research but I’m pretty sure if we were to use jack stands you’d need a different looking jack point pad like this one: https://amzn.to/3BYz9eK. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.


Pop the hood on the X3

The next steps focus is on making sure the engine has airflow to make sure it drains the oil as much as possible. So we just have to pop the hood of the BMW. To do so there is a lever on the left side of the driver’s side and when you pull that you’ll hear a clunk.

This lets you reach your hand near the front of the hood to pull a lever on the right. Once you pull the latch it’ll let you lift up the hood of the X3 and you’re good to go!

Create Airflow to Help Drain Oil Faster

The nice thing about most European cars is that all the engine oil stuff is at the top so we can loosen the filter easily from the hood. And you can open the oil cap so that you can literally just let gravity do the work. The only thing that is a little sus, is that everything is made out of plastic. So you really have to make sure you have the right tools. Otherwise, you’ll end up damaging some housing like I did on the Mini Cooper.

So for the BMW X3 I learnt my lesson, and made sure that we had the right tools to do this oil change!

Open the Engine Oil Cap

The engine oil cap is on the left side of the engine and is fairly easy to open. It usually has a Castrol label and tells you what engine oil to use. But for my car, it didn’t say anything. So I just had to do some research and it seems that as long as it has BMW-LL01 it’s good. My brother-in-law had a bunch of Liqui-Moly 5-40 so that’s what I used. https://amzn.to/3hmEO6d

Couldn’t tell how much oil we needed but MDRN Engineer also doesn’t know. So I just started with the 5L bottle and would ramp up if need be. I have the N20 group model and 5L was good enough. He shows how you figure that out under the hood here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1T9WwoUoB4

Loosen the Oil Filter Cap

I had no idea how to open this cap without breaking it since it’s plastic (My mini has so many scratches cause I didn’t have that 36mm socket and I just used a filter wrench thingy). So I learned that you can get the 86mm oil filter cap that helps you hold the cap so you can use a socket to take it out. https://amzn.to/3qUf18O

Now that both the engine oil cap and the oil filter cap are loose and have adequate airflow we can start to drain the engine oil.


Drain the Engine Oil

So this is when I realized that having Jack Stand would make me feel less anxious about being underneath a car held up by plastic ramps. I had no idea how deep the access panel is but it’s pretty much behind the front wheels axel. So yes, I highly recommend getting jack stands if you don’t want to toy with chance. I did it without them and had my anxiety through the roof, would not recommend it.

Anyways, to drain the engine oil. You’ll need an 8mm socket, a 17mm socket and a catch pan. I don’t really like the catch pan that I have and would recommend something that has a wider funnel or a grate thing like this one: https://amzn.to/3jYP4Dh. But since I have this one https://amzn.to/3jYdnl8 that’s what I’ll have to use for now.

I also don’t like my current socket set. So I’d recommend one that can switch heads since I didn’t realize my socket set is 1/4 and breaker bar is like 3/8 so you can’t share heads. So having a set that has converters is pretty clutch!

Also the issue with the drain pan that I currently have is that the hole isn’t big enough that the engine oil of the car drains faster than the pan lets in. And my driveway is too sloped so the excess oil spills out the back end. So if you have a faulty drain pan like me, I’d recommend covering the ground with a tarp or in my case I used just cardboard to catch the excess oil.

Setup the Drain Pan

So I’d like to purchase a drain pan like this cause then it doesn’t matter how the drain plug is this thing is going to catch it!

The 2013 BMW X3’s drain plug is on an angle, but pretty much flows straight down. So make sure that you can line up the drain pan with the drain plug and if it looks straight enough, you can loosen the plug and watch the oil drain. Make sure that it lines up and looks like it’ll drain in the hole then you can let gravity do its thing.

Kill Some Time

I don’t know if this is the recommended process. But since these things need to be done, I’d assume this would be the most effective use of time. While I wait for the engine oil to drain I’d replace the crush washer on the drain plug, and then replace the oil filter stuff. So this is how I did it.

Mann-Filter HU 816 X

This is the filter my brother-in-law recommends so that’s what I’m going with. It’s pretty awesome and it comes with the crush washer and both o-rings (the big one and the small one).

I like purchasing from the store in my area, but if you can’t find it Amazon is blessed and pretty quick!

Replacing the Crush Washer

The BMW we bought is used and it has a little bit of rust everywhere. So I thought I’d want to give it a clean and from what I’ve seen brake cleaner is the thing to use to get rid of grease and whatnot. So I gave that a shot, dried it off with some paper towel then just switched up the crush washer.

Replacing the Oil Filter

Because we already loosened the filter I’m pretty sure it helped because when I lifted up the filter not as much oil was dripping as I’ve seen in other videos (Thanks to biz4two biz4 for the tip on MDRN Engineering video). 

When you loosen the filter the first time it’ll probably be best to check that you bought the right filter off the bat so you would know if you need to continue or not. But I was pretty positive on my research that I had everything right.

But basically, if you know you have the right pieces. Just take out the old filter so you can get access on replacing the old o-rings. There’s two of them a tiny one at the top (mine was green) and a bigger one at the bottom (mine was black). I thought you could just use a flat head to pull the o-ring off but I realized that other people have been using a pick so if you have that it’ll probably be easier with a pick. https://amzn.to/2SUVU1C

You’re also supposed to grease the o-rings with engine oil before you put them on. I’m not sure exactly why but everyone does it so I suppose it’s good. The smaller one is a little difficult to put on but if you just wiggle it enough it’ll get on there. The larger one is a bit easier and you’ll see a groove to put it on just above the bottom of the filter. Once that’s good you can put it in the oil filter and to make sure you’re doing it correctly just push it in and you’ll hear a click.

Apparently you’re also supposed to cover that in engine oil as well but I had no idea how to do that without spilling when you screw it back on. If you have any tips or tricks on how to get that done properly let me know.

Close the Drain

But once all that stuff was good it looked like the engine oil was done draining. So I basically just did the steps in reverse. Screw back the drain plug. Cleaned up the excess oil with some brake cleaner and wiped it clean with a paper towel. After that screwed back the access panel and made sure that thing wasn’t going anywhere.

Fill the Engine Oil

Since the oil cap is already unscrewed I just removed that and put in the funnel so that I could free up my hands to secure the oil filter. I used a giant quick-fill hands-free funnel https://amzn.to/3yBaDxP. I honestly was too scared to let the engine oil just sit upside down on the thing but apparently it works. Anyways I just filled up the funnel and used a mesh screener to prevent any dirt and stuff from falling in.

Screw the Oil Filter on

While I was waiting for the oil to fill I wanted to screw the oil filter back on. It’s actually pretty tight so that’s probably why they want you to grease the o-rings and whatnot so it’s easier to go in. I did as much by hand but you definitely need the filter cap wrench to make sure that it’s on there properly. The measurement I keep seeing is 25nm but I don’t have a wrench that is handheld with measurement. My torque wrench is only for tires so I think I’ll need to get one that measures smaller ones like this: https://amzn.to/3hOFj89.

I also couldn’t seem to get the filter wrench cap off (it was on there pretty tightly). So I used my old oil filter wrench to loosen the cap https://amzn.to/3AItp8w. Then it just kinda popped right off which was nice.

Close the Engine Oil Cap

Once we filled up the whole 5L of the engine oil I think everything’s done. So I just closed up the cap and started to clean up. Made sure no engine oil was leaking and then basically went back into the car.

I was so shook to find out the BMW doesn’t have a dipstick but instead, you gotta get your car level and warmed up then you can scroll thru the nav to measure your engine oil level.

Once it looks all good (we were maxed with 5L). We reset the engine oil service light by holding the bottom left button for 5 seconds. Press it 3 times to scroll thru the menu, then hold for another 3 seconds to reset.

Congrats on Doing an Oil Change

That’s literally it. We’re done changing the oil on the 2013 BMW X3! I learnt so much and feel a lot more comfortable doing them now.

Let me know if you’d do anything different as I’m still learning this is only like my second engine oil change, on my own, on any vehicle, like ever! So any tips are greatly appreciated!

Thanks! See you on the Mini in a few!


Don’t Forget to Save This BMW Oil Change on Pinterest


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