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Thread: Need Advice on how to proceed with an oil consumption problem with my BMW.

  1. #1
    n00B
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    Thumbs down Need Advice on how to proceed with an oil consumption problem with my BMW.

    This is going to be long, Make a sandwich and a cup of coffee. BTW this story doesn't have a happy ending so far.

    I need advice I might be melodramatic here and if so let me know, I'll drop it. The problem is I am running into an oil consumption problem on my bike and have been since new, with no help from the Dealership or from BMW for that matter.

    Background story.

    In June of 2010 I bought my first ever BMW motorcycle due to the reviews being so super rad about how durable these bikes are. I bought a 2010 r1200 GSA after falling in love with it during the test ride. I was told that it would burn oil for the first few thousand miles until the bike broke in. Sometime in July of 2011 at 20,000 miles (roughly) I went to the dealer and told them my bike is still burning oil. I'm told the bike probably isn't broke in yet and that I should just wait it out.

    In between 20k and 30k I mention to the dealership my bike is still consuming oil and I hear the same excuse. It's not broke in yet.

    In October of 2011 the bike hits 30,000 miles and again I bring it up to the dealership that the bike is burning oil at quite an accelerated rate. The dealer asks me how much and I respond with a qt in about 1000 to 1500 miles depending on how I ride it. Again I'm told that it's because the bike isn't broken in.

    I start to get worried, So for the first time in my life I purchase an extended warranty through my dealer to cover my bike, unlimited miles for 5 years. At 42K I go back to the dealer knowing I am out of the warranty and explain my concern. I'm burning oil, have been since day one, and numerous times I have brought it to their attention with no plans for action from them.

    They offer to troubleshoot the cause of the consumption but they first need to know the rate of consumption and IF it burns more than BMW's allowed rate of oil consumption (1qt every 700miles). They would charge me to tear the motor apart (diagnostics) and then the extended warranty I bought would cover the repair.

    The consumption test. We fill the oil to the middle of the sight bubble and run the bike until it needs filled (light comes on). Then we fill it to the middle again record how much oil was added and how many miles the bike went.

    Everyone I have talked to with the same model of Bike as me has reported that their bikes burned oil when new then just quit burning between 10k - 22k miles. They go between oil changes without having to add any oil. My rate of consumption is between 10 and 13 oz every 1000 miles. Roughly Half of what BMW claims to be "Excessive Use." This means that in 6,000 miles I have to add on average 3 qts of oil between oil changes. If I go on a 3,000 mile trip I need to bring with me 1.5 qts of oil not to mention the frustration and cursing that goes on when/if one of those plastic bottles develop a leak and leaks oil all over my gear.

    FYI- BMW's excessive use for oil according to the manufacturer is 1qt in 700miles.

    I feel that I shouldn't have to cover the cost of the diagnostics since this is an issue I have brought up with my dealer repeatedly since day one. Finally frustrated that I spent $22k on a bike and I'm getting nowhere with the dealer I contact BMW North America to see where that gets me.

    On 10-3-2012 I sent an email to BMW NA explaining my issue. On 10-8-2012 I receive an email that it has been forwarded to the proper person. On 10-19-12 I call the person that the email was forwarded to because I hadn't heard a response from them. Today 10-31-12 I finally got connected to someone who could help, or so I thought.

    Max at BMW NA calls the dealer. He asks if my bike is running fine. The dealer says it is and the case is closed. He says he can file a complaint on my behalf if I want. (Yes max file a complaint on my behalf since my bike burns through 1/2 a qt every 700 miles (on Average)).

    So here I am reflecting on why I purchased a BMW motorcycle in the first place. I've owned a lot of Hondas, a Suzuki, and a Harley (We were all dumb once). But never have I owned a motorcycle nor a car for that matter that burned through so much oil (even in my college days ). When I get to the point of getting another bike this has seriously left me not wanting to spend the money to keep going BMW. Will probably switch to KTM, KLR, or something that won't burn as much oil. This has seriously left a black mark on the name for BMW for me.

    Is it common for these bikes to burn through this much oil? Granted this bike hasn't left me stranded anywhere but with this rate of oil consumption it really has me worried that something major could be wrong in there and any day now it'll go kaput.

    Maintenance History
    -------------------------
    I followed all of the BMW maintenance guidelines from break-in to service intervals (religiously).
    I've used the BMW stuff, purchased at the dealership, in case I had a warranty issues for every interval.
    Anything above my mechanical know how I paid the dealership to do, on time.
    I have receipts and detailed records of everything (including replacing the headlight bulb every 10 - 13k (seriously it is in my records)).
    I'm using the regular old dino oil I haven't even switched to the synthetic yet.

    Finally anyone have any advice they can offer? Any point of contacts to get this resolved? Even if it is just telling me to suck it up and keep spending the money for oil I have thick skin. I would just like some feedback and maybe any ideas from anyone who has gone through this or possibly has an idea I haven't thought of yet.

    Thanks for the read!
    -Nate-
    Last edited by viperh; 11-01-2012 at 04:06 PM. Reason: subscrbing to my own thread

  2. #2
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    Uh...

    Nate; your bike uses too much oil! Nobody gonna put up with adding near
    3 quarts on a 6,000 mile ride... or the Motorad acceptable 1 qt after 700 mi.
    Short term up front, maybe...but not at your mileage with consumption history.
    Hope the extended warranty is transferable; the new GS's are only 6 months out!
    travel'in john

  3. #3
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Find a good independent wrench who can perform a compression test and a leak down test. This will cost you a few bucks but not a huge amount.

    Or, since that dealer says the bike is fine, trade it in to them on a different bike. If they lowball the trade-in because of the bike's condition scream fraud to anybody who will listen.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
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  4. #4
    TNSTAAFL Troutluck's Avatar
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    I'm curious what your riding habits are. Do you "wring it out" frequently or do you lug it?
    Jack Pate | '09G650GS | '95 R100RT | Previously: '00R1100R, '87K75T
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  5. #5
    04 1150RS bigsur52's Avatar
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    I have an 2004 1150RS. It uses around a quart every 6000 miles. It is fully broken in, over 40,000 miles. I consider that normal for a BMW. Yours is way excessive.
    "all things in moderation - including moderation"

  6. #6
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    I understand that you're disappointed; your experience is indeed different from the majority of new-BMW riders. Still, I'm gonna be the grump.

    The oil consumption of many, perhaps most, of the new BMW twins declines over the first 15K-30K miles. Some continue to use oil after that point. The rate at which a specific bike uses oil depends on the quality and tolerances of its parts and their assembly, as well as on its break-in and how it's ridden.

    Like other manufacturers, BMW agrees that a certain rate of oil consumption is excessive; in its opinion, rates up to that point are acceptable. BMW has done this for decades. In effect, BMW agrees beforehand that oil consumption over that threshhold rate reflects a mechanical problem, for which they're responsible.

    Here, your bike's rate of using oil is far less than BMW's definition of "excessive." Unless you're a long-time customer for whom the dealer's willing to go to bat (as the dealer's input is very persuasive to BMWNA), BMW will say "Sorry, we see no problem here." If you want to argue, you'll have to collect your own engineer(s) and lawyer(s) to argue with theirs. From a fiscal point of view, this is not likely to be a winning strategy.

    A KLR is a significantly different machine. If you're really considering one, then perhaps you and BMW are not a marriage made in heaven. If OTOH you really do like the big BMW, then you can either accept the oil consumption rate (all the while hoping that it'll decrease in the future), have the (probably top end of the) motor torn down and rebuilt at your expense, or sell the bike and buy another.
    Last edited by dbrick; 11-01-2012 at 12:59 AM.
    David Brick
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    2007 R1200R

  7. #7
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    By now you know it is not going to get "broken in" if it is not by now.

    I appreciate your frustration with the situation.

    Surprised
    that Max wouldn't go to bat for you. They seem to have a good reputation in the BMW world.

    Now that you have put it out there, if you sell the bike yourself you have to disclose the issue to any potential buyer or run the risk of seeing them in court when they find out the history of the bike and your attempts to get it fixed.

    Trading it in may be the best way to go.

    Every mfg produces "lemons" from time to time.

    Good luck and please let us know how this all ends.
    I used to post here, but now I don't.

  8. #8
    Registered User der verge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIBUD View Post
    Every mfg produces "lemons" from time to time.
    I hate to say this, but it is not a lemon. Are the tolerances inside his engine on the large end of the spectrum? Obviously. Is it a lemon? No. It has not had the same consistent problem fixed multiple times, just to have that same problem reoccur. It has never been fixed, because the oil consumption is with in tolerance.

    Now, would I be estatic about my bike using that much oil? I would do pretty much what PGlaves said, but change the mechanic. I would not have an independant to the test. I would have the dealer, but insist I get to watch. For the few pennies more it will cost at the dealer, if there is a problem, you will not have to argue with them. Also, if there is a problem, BMW will be paying for the engine tear down, and any more diagnostics. If the tests come out ok, you may simply have one of your rings with the ring gap rotated to the bottom of the cylinder. That will help "use" a bit of oil.

    And as a reminder, all engines, regardless of age, make, config, burn some oil. Some more than others.
    02' K12LT ~ 83K '97 F650GS ~ 32K' 81 XS400 ~ 9K
    MOA #184190 Club #231 48035

  9. #9
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    What state do you live in? Some states, like New York, have Lemon Laws. For example, if you go back to the dealer 4 times for the same problem, they must provide you with a new vehicle. You might check with your state government to see if this is a possible avenue for a reasonable remedy.

    I agree with Paul. Get a compression test and a leak-down test. Whatever you do don't let your dealer do this. Get a good independent mechanic to do it. If you don't know one, ask people on-line. Most oil consumption problems usually comes from the rings or valve guides. Both are usually easy to fix. A scratch in the cylinder can also cause this problem. But, a scratch usually comes from a broken ring. If you finally do find the problem, make sure you post pictures and the story. Everyone would want to know if BMW caused the problem and then refused to fix it.

    Your oil consumption is FAR from normal and BMW and your dealer knows it too. If you belong to a local club, let them know your story. That way they will educated about a lousy dealer.

    Oh yeah...find another dealer. Your dealer sucks! Always remember that the customer is always right, and even when the customer is wrong, they are still right. Don't let BMW or your lousy dealer tell you otherwise.
    Last edited by 23217; 11-01-2012 at 01:06 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troutluck View Post
    I'm curious what your riding habits are. Do you "wring it out" frequently or do you lug it?
    It's a mixture. The time my bike consumes the most is if I wring it out and run through the twisties or take it through some serious off-road ridings. However the statistics I posted are from the consumption from my daily driving, to and from work in stop and go traffic, all year long.


    Quote Originally Posted by bigsur52 View Post
    I have an 2004 1150RS. It uses around a quart every 6000 miles. It is fully broken in, over 40,000 miles. I consider that normal for a BMW. Yours is way excessive.
    This would be acceptable to me. By the time the light came on I would have to do an oil change. Plus I wouldn't have to worry about taking oil with me on trips or worry about the containers leaking on my stuff (Before you ask I put them in ziplock bags and those will wear through and leak, I need to find a better way of transporting it). Now that I write this maybe an MSR bottle for oil will work.


    Quote Originally Posted by dbrick View Post
    I understand that you're disappointed; your experience is indeed different from the majority of new-BMW riders. Still, I'm gonna be the grump.

    The oil consumption of many, perhaps most, of the new BMW twins declines over the first 15K-30K miles. Some continue to use oil after that point. The rate at which a specific bike uses oil depends on the quality and tolerances of its parts and their assembly, as well as on its break-in and how it's ridden.

    Like other manufacturers, BMW agrees that a certain rate of oil consumption is excessive; in its opinion, rates up to that point are acceptable. BMW has done this for decades. In effect, BMW agrees beforehand that oil consumption over that threshhold rate reflects a mechanical problem, for which they're responsible.

    Here, your bike's rate of using oil is far less than BMW's definition of "excessive." Unless you're a long-time customer for whom the dealer's willing to go to bat (as the dealer's input is very persuasive to BMWNA), BMW will say "Sorry, we see no problem here." If you want to argue, you'll have to collect your own engineer(s) and lawyer(s) to argue with theirs. From a fiscal point of view, this is not likely to be a winning strategy.

    A KLR is a significantly different machine. If you're really considering one, then perhaps you and BMW are not a marriage made in heaven. If OTOH you really do like the big BMW, then you can either accept the oil consumption rate (all the while hoping that it'll decrease in the future), have the (probably top end of the) motor torn down and rebuilt at your expense, or sell the bike and buy another.
    Well stated, I was hoping during the break in period that it would go down significantly and that is exactly the feedback I received from everyone else I talked to about their bikes. I've contemplated trading in but who's to say I'm not going to get another bike with the same issue. Also I understand a KLR is an entirely different breed.

    My thing is when I had my $9,000 Honda and I took it to the dealer to get some work done they found issues with the head and the valve seats on that bike 6 months after the warranty expired. Honda picked up the tab and I was fully expecting to have to pay for some of it. I would have thought BMW would at least pay to get the diagnostic done to see if anything was out of spec. I mean I do have an extended warranty.


    Quote Originally Posted by der verge View Post
    I hate to say this, but it is not a lemon. Are the tolerances inside his engine on the large end of the spectrum? Obviously. Is it a lemon? No. It has not had the same consistent problem fixed multiple times, just to have that same problem reoccur. It has never been fixed, because the oil consumption is with in tolerance.

    Now, would I be estatic about my bike using that much oil? I would do pretty much what PGlaves said, but change the mechanic. I would not have an independant to the test. I would have the dealer, but insist I get to watch. For the few pennies more it will cost at the dealer, if there is a problem, you will not have to argue with them. Also, if there is a problem, BMW will be paying for the engine tear down, and any more diagnostics. If the tests come out ok, you may simply have one of your rings with the ring gap rotated to the bottom of the cylinder. That will help "use" a bit of oil.

    And as a reminder, all engines, regardless of age, make, config, burn some oil. Some more than others.
    This is a fantastic Idea! However I can't seem to get either the dealer or BMW to agree to this. This was the main reason I called BMW NA. To tell them I have the extended warranty, I'm wanting them to do diagnostics on it and if anything is wrong the extended warranty will cover it. If however everything is within specs well, I have a bike that consumes a lot of oil.

    Quote Originally Posted by 23217 View Post
    What state do you live in? Some states, like New York, have Lemon Laws. For example, if you go back to the dealer 3 times for the same problem, they must provide you with a new vehicle. You might check with your state government to see if this is a possible avenue for a reasonable remedy.

    I agree with Paul. Get a compression test and a leak-down test. Whatever you do don't let your dealer do this. Get a good independent mechanic to do it. If you don't know one, ask people on-line. Most oil consumption problems usually comes from the rings or valve guides. Both are usually easy to fix. A scratch in the cylinder can also cause this problem. But, a scratch usually comes from a broken ring. If you finally do find the problem, make sure you post pictures and the story. Everyone would want to know if BMW caused the problem and then refused to fix it.

    Your oil consumption is FAR from normal and BMW and your dealer knows it too. If you belong to a local club, let them know your story. That way they will educated about a lousy dealer.

    Oh yeah...find another dealer. Your dealer sucks! Always remember that the customer is always right, and even when the customer is wrong, they are still right. Don't let BMW or your lousy dealer tell you otherwise.
    No state lemon laws for motorcycles.. Also AFAIK lemon laws only cover things that have attempted to have been fixed and still have issues.. Such is not the case for me. The local club knows the issues I've been trying to work with and one of them actually got the owner involved. After getting advice on here I'm thinking I may call the St Louis Dealership and discuss with them everything in this thread and the course of action I should take. I don't want to start throwing the dealership under the bus yet. They still have a chance to work with me on this as of now. Also the dealership has been great on everything else and most of the people in the club recommend I bring up my concerns with the repair manager, which I have and has led me to this point.

    Thanks everyone for the feedback. I'm trying to keep a level head about this. When I first bought the bike I thought the money they were asking was a lot. But after reading reviews about their bikes, the support, the reliability, and the durability of these machines I figured I was getting something that was worth the price. I don't feel that way right now and I am frustrated. I don't see how BMW can say everything is good until the bike uses more than 1qt in 700 miles. That's practically pouring out the tailpipe at that point.

  11. #11
    Registered User stkmkt1's Avatar
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    I recommend you take that beast to another dealer. Regardless of what others have said or implied, in today's world, your bike is consuming way too much oil. And it is highly unlikely to ever get better. And ANY mechanic or dealer who says otherwise, regardless of his/her previous reputation, should be avoid BY EVERYONE!
    '09 BMW 1200 GSA, 2013 BMW 700GS, 2000 Goldwing SE, '09' V Star 950, '09 Honda Rebel,
    '77 Honda 750A. Holding at six til I get new garage built - need more room for more bikes!

  12. #12
    07 R1200GS Rich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by viperh View Post
    So here I am reflecting on why I purchased a BMW motorcycle in the first place. I've owned a lot of Hondas, a Suzuki, and a Harley (We were all dumb once).
    With that quote, I have to say, I have a Harley that uses zilch for oil.

    But to compare apples to apples with what you own, I also have a 2007 GS that doesn't use any either.

    Good luck, I hope BMW does do something for you. Your consumption rate is ridiculous.

  13. #13
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    How often do you top up your oil?

    I ask because some bikes don't like to be completely full. They will burn off some oil, perhaps down to the center of the site glass, and then stop. If your bike is one of these, and you top up every time you see the oil below the top line, you may just be burning that off.
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  14. #14
    Optically Corrected
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    ^ +1 this

  15. #15
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    No state lemon laws for motorcycles.. Also AFAIK lemon laws only cover things that have attempted to have been fixed and still have issues.. Such is not the case for me.
    According to NYS State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, General Business Law 180-a (Lemon Laws) cover ALL motor vehicles, excluding exclusive off-road vehicles and commercial vehicles. So yes, NYS Lemon Laws DO cover motorcycles. But, I don't know which state you have your motorcycle registered in, so I can't comment on your particular situation and potential remedies.

    Your only duty is to inform the dealer that you have a problem. The fact that your dealer refuses to do a simple and inexpensive test to determine what type of mechanical problem your bike has, doesn't alleviate him from his legal duties in the future. Even if your bike is out of warranty it doesn't erase his duty if it is later learned that there is a problem at the time you reported it. The Lemon Law still applies, if your registration state has one. Almost all states have Warranty Laws, and this would probably fall under that provision.

    I don't want to start throwing the dealership under the bus yet.
    If your dealer is so good, he would have taken 5 minutes to do a compression test and write the results down on your work order to protect you in the future. Over the past 40 years I have had countless BMW dealers, and they always went out of their way to protect me and make me happy. Of course, you could buy a compression tester for $25 and determine what type of mechanical problem you have on your own.

    You are free to attempt to get your dealer to be reasonable. From what you have posted, he appears to be defiant and unreasonable in determining what the problem is and resolving it reasonably. He has taken some specific actions to stone-wall you. Not sure why he would chance his position now.

    I wish you good luck in getting your problem resolved.

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