BMW C-Series Scooter Maintenance
Several readers have asked about the maintenance schedule for the new BMW scooters.
So far, my only answer is “I wish I knew”.
The BMW C-series scooter owner’s manual has next to nothing on this subject.
Apparently, they want the dealership to do all the maintenance work.
I don’t know for sure, but I get the sneaking suspicion that BMW thinks that scooter owners aren’t capable of performing their own maintenance.
Although I have to admit, so far the C 650 GT is sealed up like a carefully crafted puzzle, defying efforts to unwrap the bodywork…a necessary step to maintenance tasks like CVT belt checks and replacement, spark plugs and more.
Even something as simple as checking the coolant on the BMW scooters (report) isn’t easy. It looks like the oil and filter change should be a snap, but we’ll see about that when the time comes.
Flushing and bleeding the brake fluid should be straightforward using the Actron brake bleeder (review), but that maintenance task won’t be necessary for some time at this point.
BMW Scooter Maintenance
The C-series scooter owner’s manual includes a few very basic pages in Chapter 8 that describe how to check the oil (illustrated in my BMW Scooter Features and Details YouTube video).
It also has some basic information on checking the thickness of the front and rear brake pads and the parking brake; checking the brake fluid level (front and rear); checking the coolant level (see link above); topping up the coolant (ditto); removing and installing the front and rear wheels; and using the BMW front wheel stand (part number 83 30 0 402 241 stand with adapter 83 30 0 402 242).
More information in the owner’s manual includes removing the side panel to access, service and replace the battery (report); replacing fuses; and replacing the front headlight (I’ll have both panel sides off soon to install a set of mini-LED auxiliary lights and I’ll report on that also).
Finally, there’s some guidance on replacing the marker and tail light bulbs (shouldn’t have to worry about that, as they’re LEDs.
By the way, the scooter fits on both the Baxley Sport Chock (review) and Acebikes Steadystand (review), with photos above. Of course, the scooters also have a built-in center stand, so no need for the front wheel stands, other than the fact that they keep the scooter level, whilst the center stand raises the rear slightly.
Also, it’s a bit difficult to see the front wheel as the scooter is being pushed on to the front wheel stand, but with a bit o’ practice, it works fine.
While we’re at it, here’s another photo of the underside of the scooter, showing the location of the oil filter and drain plug. Contrary to my initial report, the oil drain plug is the standard 8 mm hex and not a Torx fastener. It looks like there’s a metal crush washer under the drain plug and the dealer said the oil filter is a standard BMW part.
I plan on changing the oil and filter soon and will report back. The only issue I foresee is the limited amount of clearance under the scooter when it’s on the center stand. I’ll have to buy a shallower oil drain pan and I hope there won’t be any problem accessing and removing the filter…
BMW Scooter Maintenance Schedule
As I mentioned above, there is — so far — very limited information on the maintenance schedule for the BMW scooters. If anyone has more information, please send it to me and I can add to this page, which will help other owners. I’m hoping and wishing also that BMW will release a scooter shop manual soon, either a printed or disk-based version.
In the meantime, the only actual information on maintenance for the BMW scooters is contained in the “Consumer Warranty Information 2013 U.S. Motorcycles and Scooters” booklet that comes with the scooter. This has the standard information and disclaimers on U.S. emission control system warranty and maintenance and it includes the following table for the scooters:
UPDATE: BMW Scooter Maintenance Schedules
From BMW scooter owner “J.W.”, here are copies of the BMW maintenance schedules (.jpg, opens in separate window):
Checking the coolant level shouldn’t be this difficult, but I’ll check it a few more times as the scooter gains mileage, to make sure everything is OK.
So if I’m reading this chart correctly (if not, let me know), then the valve clearance, fuel filter, air filter and spark plugs are inspected/replaced once every 24,000 miles — not bad.
However, neither the owner’s manual nor the emission maintenance schedule say anything at all about the CVT belt. Nothing about checking, inspecting or replacement. In fact, I haven’t found anything yet that even mentions the “CVT” acronym.
In the meantime, as soon as (if) I learn anything more, I’ll post it here. If anyone has any insight or (let’s hope) if BMW is reading this, or perhaps a friendly and compassionate dealer, I’m sure many owners and potential owners would like more information, so feel free to send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
BMW Scooter Motor Oil
Here’s my report on Changing the Oil and Filter on the BMW Scooter.
It’s interesting (and not surprising) that BMW specified 15W50 oil with the SJ and JASO MA designation; most of the aftermarket motorcycle oil manufacturers make oil with the more common 20W50 weight.
SJ is a designation for 2001 and older automotive engines. More on API designations in this .pdffrom the American Petroleum Institute (API). JASO T904-MA and MA2 designate oils that are approved for wet clutch use; JASO T904-MB is not suitable for wet clutch use.
Checking the Oil Level
The owner’s manual (U.S. version, page 29 and 74) describes the procedure for checking the oil level in the BMW scooters. First, note that if the oil level is too low, a yellow dash light will come on and the oil level symbol appears in the display. But you don’t want to wait until that happens — check the oil manually on a regular basis instead.
I briefly illustrated an oil level check for the BMW scooter in my “Features and Details” video. The dipstick is under the left-hand side passenger footrest. First remove the rubber cover, then the plastic door and underneath is the dipstick.
BMW notes that “After longer Scooter [sic] immobilization periods, engine oil can collect in the oil pan; this must be pumped into the oil tank before the reading is taken.” They don’t say what a “longer” immobilization period is, but they go on to warn that the oil level should be read when the engine is warm. “Checking the oil level with the engine cold or after a short trip leads to mis-interpretations and therefore to incorrect oil fill quantities”, according to BMW.
“To ensure that the display of the engine oil level is correct, only check the oil level after a longer trip”, according to the owner’s manual. If this isn’t possible, they advise first placing the scooter on the center stand, then running the engine “in neutral” (huh?) for one minute. Switch off the ignition and check the oil level.
Here are some photos:
15W50 SJ JASO MA Motorcycle Oils
Here’s a selection of 15W50 motorcycle oil (mostly synthetic) meeting the SJ and JASO MA requirements for the BMW scooters.
Links are to our Amazon affiliate program. I searched specifically for motorcycle oils meeting those designations; some oil manufacturers list one or the other, but not both specifications and those are not included. Note that these prices jump up and down at various times; currently as of May 2013, prices are down.
Publication Date: November 2012
Owner Comments and Feedback
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From “M” (December 2012): “Hello from Malaysia. I’ve been reading your website for quite some time and also viewing your review on YouTube about the BMW C650GT. Thank you so much for sharing the info to all reader. It is one of my wish list maxi-scooter.
I’m also comparing the GT with other maxi-scooters such as the Honda Silver Wing 600, Honda Integra 700, Suzuki Burgman 650, Gilera GP800, Kymco Xciting 500R and Yamaha Tmax 530.
For now, I just compare it on paper. Not all I have seen live because of the difficulty to ever find one here. Hahaha… I need to travel far just to view it.
If money not an object, I think I would already buy the GT now. But in Malaysia, our vehicle tax is too high. The price of the GT in Malaysia is about USD $22,346.00 (after converting to USD). So I had to think very wisely which scooter to put my money on. Even though it is high, I think I can afford it.
The GT offers many features that are not offered on any scooter and I also really like the design. But…before that, I really had to make my homework very well about the maintenance too, because the maxi-scooter are a rare species here and not all mechanics are knowledgeable to repair it plus the spare parts are hard to get also.
I Googled everywhere to find and gather the best info about all the maxi-scooter maintenance in my list. Big cc maxi-scooters are rarely seen in our roads and the maxi-scooter is only sold by a few dealers (well.. not to mention they also do not have the spare parts in stock. Need to order from overseas).
The best way is I try to find the spare parts by myself from the net. I can’t rely 100% from the dealer getting the spare parts much. It will be more expensive to maintain. Of all the above list, the Honda is easier to get the spare parts online. But my heart keeps telling me to get the GT because I really like it.
Like you said in your article, BMW doesn’t give much info about the maintenance schedule and also the user manual also not giving a clear info about the maintenance. Not sure why they have done that. Especially about the CVT. CVT belt and roller need to be changed. They should state it in the manual because not all owners will be doing the servicing in their BMW Service Centre. Hmmm…
But I have email BMW Malaysia regarding the servicing and this the their reply plus some price info about the maintenance in Malaysia:
Maintenance Schedule BMW C 650 GT & Sport
1,000 km (Running-in service)
- Engine oil + filter + set strainer.
- Estimated parts $190.00 (after converting to USD). Too expensive to just change the engine oil + filter!
- Estimated labor $39.00.
10,000 km (Engine oil service)
- Engine oil + filter.
- Estimated parts $167.00.
- Estimated labor $39.00.
20,000 km (Minor service)
- Engine oil + filter, CVT belt + roller bearings, air filter and etc.
- Estimated parts $1,940.00.
- Estimated labor $77.
30,000 km (Engine oil service)
- Engine oil + filter.
- Estimated parts $167.00.
- Estimated labor $39.00.
40,000 km (Major service)
- Engine oil + filter, gearbox oil, rear axle oil, air filter, spark plug, CVT belt + roller bearings, chain + sprockets, gaskets + oil seals + O-rings and etc.
- Estimated parts $1,574.00.
- Estimated labor $248.00.
Even though these prices are estimated, it is too high for me and I can’t afford it. The total of the major servicing can get me a new moped/scooter.
For now, what I’m looking for is the scooter that is easy to maintain and the cheapest to maintain. So far the BMW is the highest maintenance amongst all. But, before I exclude the GT from my list, I want to ask directly and talk to the person in BMW regarding the servicing personally.
I still can’t believe the service price they emailed me…sigh… If I can get the spares myself from the net, I think the price sure will not be that high.
I just emailed you for sharing what I feel about this GT and hoping that you get some basic info about the servicing. Maybe you already know about it by now… BTW I really enjoy reading your website. Keep up the good work!”
Reply From “J.W.” (December 2012): “The (estimated maintenance schedule above seems) pretty well right for the major stuff and that is pretty well what I am going to follow then repeat the routine over every 40,000. I just don’t see the 20,000 costing more than the 40,000… The 40,000 has so much more to it.”
From “J.W.” (November 2012): “The following is a list I received from my dealer for the 600 and 6,000 mile inspections. Oil change is easy-peasy. No special filter wrench needed. The oil needed is (BMW/Castrol 15W50 API SJ / JASO MA2). The oil is only sold by BMW (not cheap), the SJ is important so you do not damage the catalytic converter.
This is the 1,000km (600) and 10,000km (6,000 mile) (service). I am in Canada we got our scooters 2 weeks before the Americans. Our scooters got to the warehouse on October 10 and I had my scooter in the morning on the 12th (the first one delivered in Canada).
I have developed a leak in the rear drive that will be fixed under warranty.
I also purchased a top box and the lock but the lock did not work so they sent it back to Germany for a new one. I already know it won’t work and I know how to make it work but the dealer does not listen to my idea. I could fix it in 10 minutes but I would void the warranty. So let them do it.”
Editor’s Note: SJ is a designation for 2001 and older automotive engines. More on API designations in this .pdf from the American Petroleum Institute (API). JASO T904-MA and MA2 designate oils that are approved for wet clutch use; JASO T904-MB is not suitable for wet clutch use.