How to Check Oil On BMW Without Dipstick? (Explained!)

One of the things that put BMW consumers into upheaval is the car company’s removal of the dipstick. In short, if you would get the newer models of BMWs, you can’t manually know if your car oil is low. Since oil is one of the most important things for a car, you may ask:

How to check the oil on BMW without dipstick? In general, the newer models without dipstick use electronic sensors to help you know if your car is low on oil. It shows in the car’s interface through a few clicks. Thus, if you’re also new or about to get a BMW car, you may want to read on, as we will provide instructions below.

Newer BMW models aren’t something you can play with easily as of now. In this article, we’ll give you a run through the whole oil checking process. This way, you’ll have a grasp on what to do if you want to check your car’s oil.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

How to Check Oil On BMW Without Dipstick

How to Check Oil On New BMWs Without Dipstick?

As I said earlier, BMW models come without a dipstick nowadays. Instead, these new cars come with electronic sensors to help you know the level of your car’s oil.

Before we get started with the oil checking, you need to know a few things first.

First, you can only check your oil when the engine is running. It means you can’t check the oil level when your car’s engine is off.

Second, you need to make sure you park your car on a leveled surface. While it’s not necessarily essential, it somewhat adds up to the accuracy.

Third, the electronic sensors which determine the oil level show up in the interface behind the steering wheel. Such a feature doesn’t come automatically. Thus, you need to do a few clicks before it shows up.

Now, here’s how you can check your BMW’s oil level without a dipstick.

  1. Start the engine and let it run. Since the oil will only be measurable when the engine is working, it needs to get hot enough.
  2. Twist the lever on the left of the steering wheel. Doing so would give you different settings on your car. Stop when it shows the oil symbol, which looks like a kettle with a wave below.
  3. Check the color. Amber orange color means the oil is low and red means it has low oil pressure.
  4. Wait for the sensor to give data. The interface comes with around 15-second intervals. The data usually shows up within 3-5 minutes, so you have to wait for it.
  5. Once it shows data, you may double-check it for better accuracy.
  6. The interface should show you minimum and maximum levels. With such an interface, you need to stay in between, so proceed with caution when adding.
  7. Go to the hood and add oil according to how much the car needs.
  8. Recheck the interface once you have put oil.

Now, the things you need to make sure of when checking oil are the following:

Make sure the engine is running as you check. If it isn’t, the sensor would always give you the wrong data, and you may end up filling it up.

Always do double-checking so you can ensure you get accurate data.

Related: BMW Oil Dipstick Reading

How to Check Oil On Old BMWs Without Dipstick?

In the case of old BMWs, it should have a dipstick included so that you can do it manually.

However, if you lost the dipstick, you can find one available online or in a BMW parts dealer.

Since this brand’s old models come equipped with dipstick, it doesn’t have the new ones’ sensors.

For this reason, if you want to check the oil on old models and you don’t have a dipstick, you may need to find one.

What BMW Models Have Dipstick?

In general, BMW stopped including dipstick on their car models way back in 2006. Thus, in general, every model released during and after the said year doesn’t have a dipstick.

Below is a list of every model released before the year 2006. You can also ask your dealer if it comes with a dipstick or not to be sure:

  • 3 Series (E36) 1990–2000
  • 7 Series (E38) 1994–2001
  • Z3 1995–2002
  • 5 Series (E39) 1995–2003
  • 3 Series (E46) 1998–2006
  • X5 (E53) 1999–2006
  • Z8 2000–2003

Below are models released before, during, and after 2006, so some models may have dipstick while others don’t.

  • Some 7 Series (E65/E66)
  • Some Z4 (E85/E86)
  • Some 5 Series (E60/E61)
  • Some 6 Series (E63/E64)
  • Some X3 (E83)
  • Some 1 Series (E81/E82/E87/E88)
  • Some 3 Series (E90/E91/E92/E93)

As always, it would be best to check it yourself first, so you may know if the car comes with a dipstick or not.

Why Do New BMWs Not Have Dipsticks?

It’s pretty unsure why BMW removed dipstick in their cars. However, some say that it’s for safety measures, as oil checking and other similar things should only be done by service professionals.

Another thing to note is that it’s not only BMW who did such a thing. Aside from this brand, other companies also did the same. Among these are Mercedes, Audi, Ford, Cadillac, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Mazda, etc.

Despite the safety claim, manufacturers are also aware that it may force consumers to trade or sell their cars. It’s all because they consider these simple fixes. In the end, if they can’t do such a task, it means it also adds up to expenses.

Also Read: BMW Oil Dipstick

When Did BMW Stop Using Dipsticks?

BMW stopped using dipstick when they released models in 2006 with sensors that can identify the oil level.

Thus, since 2006, many consumers already check oil through an interface, fearing that the system may break and provide them false data.

Still, some rumors suggest that the company would return the dipstick, though it’s still unsure as of the moment.


Oil is one of the essential components of cars, and so checking it once in a while is crucial.

The dipstick removal is truly a game-changer. On the surface, it seems like an easier way. For instance, you don’t need to dirty your hands using a dipstick to check the oil level.

Still, it comes with the fear that the system may malfunction, ending up causing damage. Some people still believe it’s more reliable to do it manually.

Whatever the case, understanding how it works would be the best thing to do if ever you use a car without a dipstick.


Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more