It is widely known that oil changes are one of the most important service items on a car. The same can be said for an F15 BMW X5. Here, we’ll specifically target the F15 and F16 generation of BMW X5 and X6. However, this guide will still apply to any 2014-2018 BMW with an N55 engine, as the process is nearly identical and the oil and filter suggestions still apply.
Changing your own oil is one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to save money on BMW servicing. Typically, a certified BMW service center would charge upwards of $250 for a standard service and oil change. By doing it yourself, you could cut that cost in half. It is important that if you opt to do the service yourself, you do it right. In this guide, we’ll cover the following:
- Required Tools
- BMW X5 Engine Oil Capacity
- BMW X5 Oil and Filter Suggestions
- BMW X5 Oil Change Procedure
At the end of this article, you’ll know everything that you need to know to perform an oil change on an N55-powered BMW X5 or X6. If you follow this guide closely, you should be ready to go for around $100 and 30 minutes of your time.
Tools Needed for a BMW X5 Oil Change
- Vehicle Ramps/Jack and Jack Stands - If you aren’t able to get under your X5 to reach the drain plug while on the ground, you’ll need a way to raise the car. Rhino ramps, or something equivalent, are a good and cheap option. Otherwise, a jack and jack stands will suffice.
- 17mm Socket - For use on oil drain plug
- Oil Filter Removal Tool - This isn’t, strictly speaking, required. However, it will make your life quite a bit easier, especially if your oil filter is twisted tight. BMW sells specialty oil filter removal tools, otherwise there are other aftermarket options.
- 27mm Socket - A 25mm socket is only required if you have a BMW oil filter removal tool. The socket goes on the head of the tool to achieve proper leverage.
- Socket Wrench
- Flathead Screwdriver or Gasket Removal Tool
- Oil Catch Container
BMW X5 Oil Capacity
Most N55-equipped BMWs, including the F15 and F16 X5 and X6 take 6.9 quarts of oil. That is equivalent to 6.5 liters of oil. It is important to be accurate when adding oil to your BMW. Using too much oil can result in engine problems down the line. The same can be said from not using enough oil.
How to Check F15 BMW X5 Engine Oil
Upon completing your oil change, it is important to check the engine oil level. Since the F15 generation X5 does not have a physical engine oil dipstick, the oil level must be checked through the onboard iDrive system.
You can check your X5’s engine oil by following these steps:
- Press the ‘Menu’ button on the center console, located above the iDrive control dial.
- Use the iDrive control dial to scroll down to ‘Vehicle Information’ and press inward on the dial.
- Scroll down and select ‘Vehicle Status’
- Scroll down and select ‘Measure engine oil level’
As a note, it is extremely important to measure your X5’s oil on a flat surface with your engine running. Keep your X5 in park while the oil is being measured. If those conditions aren’t met, the X5 either won’t provide an accurate reading or will refuse to measure the oil altogether.
How to Reset BMW X5 Oil Service Indicator
This is obviously the last step in the X5 oil change procedure. Your X5 must have its engine off, but ignition and accessories on to do this. To reset your F15 X5’s oil service indicator, you'll first need to hold down the button located in the bottom left corner of your instrument cluster, under the gas gauge.
A prompt will then appear on the small, centrally located, dash screen alerting you that an engine oil reset is possible. Once the prompt appears, simply hold down the same button and the indicator will reset.
BMW X5 Oil and Filter Suggestion
As you could probably guess, it is best to use OEM BMW developed oil in your X5. With that being said, there are a number of other quality options if OEM oil isn’t an option. Whether you choose to go the OEM route or go with another option, make sure that your oil of choice is fully synthetic and long life certified. As long as those requisites are met, the oil should be fine.
Oil weight is also an important consideration during an X5 oil change, as this varies depending on climate. If you live in an area where winters get extremely cold, it is a good idea to opt for a slightly thinner X5 engine oil. Thicker viscosity oils are better for places with extremely warm weather, as oil thins as temperature increases.
Mann oil filters are the most common and best performing oil filter option for F15 X5s. Mann is also the most widely available filter option as well, available at most auto part stores. It is important to make sure that the oil filter that you opt for has the necessary gaskets included.
BMW X5 Oil Change - Oil Suggestions
- BMW LL-01 0W-30 Engine Oil - This is the best all around option for an F15 X5 oil change. 0W-30 oil is effective in most temperature ranges. Unless winters are abnormally cold in your area, this is the engine oil that you should be using.
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- BMW LL-01 0W-40 Engine Oil - This is the best option if temperatures in your region deviate towards the colder end of the spectrum.
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- LiquiMoly 0W-40 Synthetic Engine Oil - This is the best non-OEM option for an F15 X5 oil change. While it isn’t the same formula that BMW recommends, it meets all of the requirements to be used in N55 engines.
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BMW X5 Oil Filter Suggestion
- BMW X5 Mann Oil Filter Kit - This is the tried and true oil filter kit for F15 BMW X5s. Chances are, if you ask for one at an auto parts store, the Mann filter is the one you'll get.
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BMW X5 Oil Change Procedure
As stated earlier, changing the oil on your F15 X5 or F16 X6 is a relatively simple task. The entire procedure takes roughly 30 minutes to complete, depending on your experience level. Here are the necessary steps required to perform a BMW X5 oil change:
BMW X5 Oil Change Step 1 - Raise the Car
Depending on the materials that you have in your disposal, this step can vary. If you have vehicle ramps, center both ramps under the front two tires of your X5. Slowly apply gas until the X5 reaches the top of the ramp. Make sure that you apply the parking brake once the vehicle is stationary. This will ensure that the vehicle does not roll backwards off of them.
If you have a jack and jack stands, use the front reinforced jack point to lift the car. The jack point is located directly in front of the stiffening plate on a horizontal cross brace. The point is underneath some acoustic covering and is located between two fasteners. Two holes in the acoustic covering mark its location, as can be seen in the picture below.
Once the vehicle is in the air, you can place jack stands under the front two jack points. These will be marked in a diagram below. While it is possible to use only the two front jack stands, it is not advised. It is a better idea to use the rear central jacking point (marked in diagram below) to jack up the rear of the X5 and to put the other two jack stands under the rear jack points. This allows the vehicle to be level in the air, allowing all of the oil to drain.
BMW X5 Oil Change Step 2 - Loosen Oil Fill Cap and Oil Filter Cap
Once the X5 is in the air, you can begin the process of performing the oil change. First, loosen the oil cap located at the front of the engine cover (shown below). Loosening the oil cap will relieve pressure in the system and allow the oil to drain faster.
Next, place the oil filter removal tool on top of the oil filter housing cap, located to the right of the oil fill cap. Use the socket wrench with a 27mm socket to turn the oil filter removal tool counter-clockwise. Do not remove the oil filter yet. Simply loosen the housing and listen for a release of pressure. This will allow the excess oil in the filter to drain out, preventing a mess later.
BMW X5 Oil Change Step 3 - Place Oil Catch Container and Remove Oil Drain Plug
After loosening both the oil fill cap and oil filter cap, the next step is draining the engine oil. Before doing that, you’ll need to place your used oil receptacle under your X5. Remember, the oil is pressurized before the drain plug is unscrewed. That means that the used oil will stream out fairly forcefully, so place the receptacle in a position to compensate for that.
After the catch container is in place, you can unscrew the oil drain plug. It is located within a cut-out portion of the reinforcement plate towards the front of the underside of the X5 (picture provided below). Use a socket wrench with a 17mm 6-point socket to turn the drain plug counter-clockwise. Make sure that the drain plug doesn’t fall into the dirty oil as it drains.
The oil drain process typically takes around 5 minutes to complete. Don’t get impatient with the process. Wait until the oil is infrequently dripping from the drain before continuing.
BMW X5 Oil Change Step 4 - Install New Crush Washer and Oil Drain Plug
After the oil is finished draining, you can reinstall the oil drain plug with a new crush washer. Some X5 owners use this as an opportunity to replace an aging or damaged drain plug. If you aren’t interested in replacing your drain plug with a new one, the old drain plug with an unused crush washer will do just fine. Typically, the new oil filter that you will use later comes with a new crush washer for the drain plug.
Slide the crush washer onto the drain plug until it rests at the head of the bolt. The oil drain plug can be reinstalled the inverse of how it was removed, once again using the 17mm socket and socket wrench. The torque spec for the oil drain plug is 18 ft-lbs, but good and tight should do.
BMW X5 Oil Change Step 5 - Remove Oil Filter and Install New Oil Filter Gaskets
With the drain plug reinstalled, you can then remove the oil filter. Since you loosened the oil filter housing earlier, it should be easy to remove it the rest of the way. Despite relieving the pressure in the system, there might still be residual oil in the filter once you remove it. It is normal for there to also be residual oil within the housing.
Remove the oil filter from inside the housing and dispose of it. The next step is to remove the small green gasket at the top of the filter housing stand (shown below). The easiest way to remove it is by using a flathead screwdriver or gasket removal tool to pry it off. Be careful to not use too much force and break the housing stand.
There is also a sealing O-ring located near the bottom of the housing that must be replaced as well. This one is larger and can be harder to see due to its darker color. Use a screwdriver or gasket removal tool to remove this one as well.
BMW X5 Oil Change Step 6 - Install New Filter O-Rings and Reinstall the Oil Filter
Once you have removed the oil filter gaskets, you’ll know where their new replacements go. The required gaskets will almost certainly be provided with the new oil filter. Lubricate the new gaskets with a small amount of oil before installing them. It is easiest to roll them into their correct position.
Once the new gaskets are installed, you can then slip the new oil filter over the oil filter stand and seat it in the bottom of the housing. The entire assembly can then be put back into the oil filter housing at the front part of the engine where it was removed from. Screw the oil filter cap on as tight as you can get it with your hands, or 18 ft-lbs of torque.
BMW X5 Oil Change Step 7 - Fill the Engine With New Oil
The last step in the X5 oil change process is adding the oil itself. As stated above, the F15 X5 and F16 X6 both take 6.9 quarts, or 6.5 liters of oil to reach max oil capacity. The best way to fill your X5 engine oil is with a funnel. It is good to use one to prevent any spillage on surrounding engine components. If you do spill some, wipe the spill clean to prevent smoke from the oil burning off.
There are markings on the side of each oil container which let you know how much oil you have already poured. Simply pour the majority of the oil into the oil fill port, stopping at 6.9 quarts. Screw the oil cap back on.
That’s it! Following completion, make sure to follow the instructions listed above to check the oil level through the iDrive system. The oil level should fall close to the max level oil line. Typically, a small overfill won’t hurt, as the N55 tends to burn off excess oil.
For other BMW X5 content, check out our BMW X5 Buyer's Guide. As always, safe driving!