Saturday, March 03, 2012

Oil Change for MINI

Just a quick post about an oil change I just completed on my MINI. Normally not a notable event, but this time I decided it was time for a change. Up through just over 50,000 miles I ran the MINI-branded oil (which I understand is a Castrol blend). Never been a big fan of Castrol, so I decided to make a switch once the warranty was up. At that time I switched over to Royal Purple 5W-30. Read a lot of good stuff about and decided to give it a try. Only a couple things I didn't like about it. One, I was going on faith that it was actually good enough for the MINI since Royal Purple doesn't normally get their oils certified (although I note that they have a new 0W-40 out that is certified to ACEA A3/B3 and BMW LL01 iirc). Second, the RP recommended oil change interval of only 12,000 miles is on the short side.

Since I passed through the 100k mile mark and was due for a change, I decided to look at some other options. Lots of folks on the MINI boards run either the MINI oil, the recommended Castrol European blend 0W-30 oil or Mobil1 0W-40. Then there are those like me that went outside the fold and run something like Royal Purple or Amsoil or a few other smaller brands.

One oil I rarely see anyone using is Pennzoil. According to MINI, the Pennzoil Platinum European Formula Ultra SAE 5W-30 is "approved" (along with a Valvoline oil that I never see anyone running either). However, upon checking the Pennzoil site, I discovered that there is no longer (if there ever was one) a product that matches the name that MINI provides. It looks like you can get either Platinum or Ultra, but not both. In the Platinum line I found a 5W-30 blend that meet the ACEA A3/B3 and BMW LL01 specs. In the Ultra line, I found Pennzoil European Formula Ultra 5W-40 which meets both of those specs and per Pennzoil, is the recommended oil for my MINI. And for those interested in marketing tie-ins, this is the oil used by Ferrari.  This second oil in the Ultra line is the one that I decided to go with.

One challenge though is that these oils cannot be found locally. So, I had to order some.  Fortunately, Amazon carries it in a six pack (so I have a quart+ left over if I need to top off between changes) and I got free shipping as a Prime member.

Anyway, I'll try to remember to post back again on how it does.

On a slightly related note, I had ordered an air filter through Amazon as well.  Unfortunately, it was not the right size despite Amazon thinking it would fit. I submitted it for a refund which processed with no problem and they even said I don't have to bother sending the incorrect filter back.  Of course, I think the refund may bounce because of the change in banks that is occurring this weekend. Always something.