Change Your Engine Oil and Keep Your Engine Running Healthy

We’ve documented the oil change frequency on our Ultimate E46 M3 Maintenance Guide and now we’re going to tell you how to change the oil yourself. It’s especially important to change your oil based on the Inspection I or Inspection II schedule because the viscosity of the oil protects your S54 rod bearings, which already is a sensitive wear and tear item. This article will go through the entire oil change process including step-by-step directions and high quality photos to explain the DIY as easy as possible.

⚠️ Disclaimer: This DIY does require you to lift your car so please use proper tools and follow all safety procedures if you choose to attempt. This guide is for your reference only. We are not liable for any damages or injuries that result from this guide.

Tools Required

  • 6mm Hex Socket
  • 13mm Socket
  • Socket Wrench
  • Torque wrench
  • Oil Drain Pan
  • Shop towels or rags
  • Small pick
  • Funnel (optional)

Parts Required

  • 6 Liters of engine oil
  • Oil drain plug (optional)
  • Oil drain plug crush washer (included with most kits)
  • Oil filter

Recommended Parts

Oil Change Instructions

1. Run the engine for 3-5 minutes (if on a cold start) to get oil temperature up. This will help the oil flow out better when you extract it.

BMW E46 M3 Oil Change DIY

2. Jack up the car’s front end to access the drain plug. Access the engine bay.

BMW E46 M3 Oil Change DIY

3. Locate the drain plug underneath the car and loosen the 6mm hex bolt.

3.1 Unscrew the last few turns by hand and let the engine oil drain into a drain pan. Discard the old crush washer.

BMW E46 M3 Oil Change DIY

4. Locate the oil filter housing (OFH) and throttle position sensor (TPS) which is right above the OFH. Perform this while the oil continues to drain.

4.1 Unplug the TPS sensor by pushing down on the metal tab.

BMW E46 M3 Oil Change DIY

5. Remove the OFH cap using a 13mm socket.

5.1 Remove and discard the old oil filter.

BMW E46 M3 Oil Change DIY

6. By now the engine oil should be drained. If the oil is extracting in a constant stream give it a few minutes until you see it drip.

6.1 Install the drain plug along with a new crush washer. Torque to 18 ft-lbs.

BMW E46 M3 Oil Change DIY

7. Clean out the OFH.

BMW E46 M3 Oil Change DIY

8. Open the contents of your oil change kit. You should have: (2) o-rings and (2) washers including the one you already used (copper) for your oil drain plug.

BMW E46 M3 Oil Change DIY

9. Remove the old o-ring on the OFH with a pick and replace with new o-ring.

⚠️ PRO TIP: Prime the new OFH o-ring with new engine oil to create a better seal.

BMW E46 M3 Oil Change DIY

10. Replace the crush washer on the OFH bolt.

10.1 Replace the smaller o-ring on the bottom of the OFH bolt by using a small pick.

BMW E46 M3 Oil Change DIY

11. Install new oil filter.

11.1 Pour 0.75 liters of engine oil in the OFH while saturating the new oil filter. This prevents having a dry start-up after the oil change.

BMW E46 M3 Oil Change DIY

12. Install the OFH cap and install the 13mm bolt. Torque to 24 ft-lbs.

12.1 Plug the TPS back in.

BMW E46 M3 Oil Change DIY

13. Locate the oil cap and pour remaining engine oil into the engine.

13.1 The S54 calls for 5.5 liters (5.8 quarts) of engine oil.

13.2 Tighten oil cap after filling with oil.

BMW E46 M3 Oil Change DIY

14. After the oil change, run your car and get the oil to operating temperature.

14.1 Let the car idle for 3-5 minutes.

14.2 Check the oil level on the dip stick. The BMW recommended oil level (5.5 L) is right in the middle of the two marks. For reference, the bottom mark is 5 L and the top is 6 L.

14.3 Fill or extract if necessary.

S46 M3 Dip Stick
BMW E46 M3 Oil Change DIY

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