Gearbox oil - Andy
1987C BMW 316 with 97k on the clock. Parked overnight in the garage.

On my daily 22 mile drive to work, the gearbox is "tight" for the first few changes, which are between first and second gear. After that, as the car begins to warm up, the gearbox loosens and is very smooth.

Do these symptoms indicate that the gearbox oil needs changing? I have not owned the car for very long so have no idea when it was last changed. Whilst I will happily change the engine oil and filter, I have never replaced a car's gearbox oil, so I would appreciate any advice or comments, as well as any suggestions with regard to the specification for the replacement gearbox oil.

Many thanks in advance.

Andy
Re: Gearbox oil - John Slaughter
Andy

The gearbox on my 30k mile 323 definitely becomes slightly smoother once it's fully warmed up, but it's not really that significant.

I believe from when I owned an earlier E30 series BMW that gearbox oil changes were part of the recommended service procedure. That said, many previous comments on this site reckon that gearoil changes can have a beneficial effect, so given you don't know the history, and given the mileage, I'd certainly change the gearbox oil - it won't cost much and can't do any harm.

Regards

john
Re: Gearbox oil - Dan J
The only car I have ever noticed this effect on was the Maestro I used to own. The gearbox would be very stiff and rubbery during the worst of winter but would be back to normal within a few miles.

Oil does have a higher viscosity at lower temperatures so maybe depending on how your gearbox is contructed or the oil that is in it could both be affecting factors. I drove that car 70k with the gearbox like that and no harm done - though as John S recommends, an oil change is certainly at the very least not going to do any harm.
Re: Gearbox oil - David W
Andy,

As Dan/John say this is not unusual for the oil to take a few miles to free up the gearchange feel. Try driving an old Land Rover from cold with gearbox/transfer box/2 axles/hub UJs etc all full of 90 grade gear oil like treacle.

I would look at a gearbox oil change, 80 grade is the spec and you need less than 2lit. You may like to try a semi-syn gear oil. It'll make you feel better if not the car. You know all about that effect in your trade I'm sure.

Regards,

David
Re: Gearbox oil - John Slaughter
David's right about using one of the semisynthetics. Some (all?) are multigrade so should help those first few miles.

Regards

John
 

Ask Honest John Right column

Value my car