All posts by Scott Huntington

Scott Huntington writes all over the internet about cars. He was (probably accidentally) interviewed to be the host of the next Top Gear USA.

How to Tell If Your BMW Has a Blown Head Gasket

BMW may have the words “motor works” in their name, but no motor is impervious to damage. Many BMW fans prefer to keep older cars in their garage for the nostalgia and tactile driving experience they deliver. However, as cars age, they become more susceptible to breakdowns. One part that could break on older or higher mileage cars is the head gasket.

Head gasket failure is one of the most ominous issues that car owners deal with, but it doesn’t have to result in a totaled car. If you know what signs to look for to identify a leaking or blown gasket in your BMW, you can take steps to fix the problem before your situation becomes dangerous.

Here are a few signs to look for and some steps you can take to solve the problem.

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Guy Crashes His BMW While Trying to Impress His Date

If your friends accused you of only trying to impress women when you picked up your BMW, you’re not the first. Bradley Van Outen was hoping the roundel would come through for him on his first date with Carrie-Anne Knox. Unfortunately, all he did was ruin a nice car and injure an innocent woman.

Reckless Driving Only the Start

Van Outen spun the BMW once and then lost control, which led to their impact with a tree. Following the crash, the driver dragged Knox from the car by her broken arm, putting her in severe pain. Even worse, he insisted on fleeing the scene, due to his suspended license. Knox fainted, and her would-be date left her in the care of a stranger on a park bench.

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How to Wrap Your BMW

Until recently, changing your BMW’s exterior color meant repainting, but the development of several new techniques has made the prospect of a color change viable for a much larger crowd. The most widely used of these new techniques is wrapping, a process that places a thin layer of colored vinyl over your car’s paint to achieve just about any look you want.

Wraps aren’t permanent, so you can even apply one for a matter of months and then switch to a different look. The possibilities are very nearly endless.

Reasons to Wrap

What if you don’t have plans to change colors anytime soon, is it still a good idea to use a wrap over a paint job? The biggest factor in answering this question is cost. While a quality paint job for your BMW could cost upwards of $5,000, a wrap can be applied for a little more than half that amount.

These are rough figures, but the wrap delivers a better-looking car for a lower up-front cost. The drawback is that the wrap isn’t permanent, but it will provide protection for the car’s body, and, when professionally applied, manufacturers claim wraps can last as long as three years.

Wraps can be applied more quickly than paint. Typically, a skilled shop can apply a simple wrap inside a day or at a maximum over the course of a few days.

Get Your Wrap on

Check out other examples of wrapped BMWs to decide if the look is for you. Decide what colors or designs you want in the wrap, and locate a trustworthy shop that has good reviews to apply it.

DIY Wrapping

If you have some artistic talent and a place to work, you might decide to wrap your car yourself. Begin by measuring the lengths of vinyl you’ll need to cover all the bodywork on the car. For the job to look professional, you’ll need to go beneath many body panels and extend the vinyl to the car’s interior or under-hood.

Wraps are sold in standardized squares, so calculate your costs based on the sizing your manufacturer of choice uses. Order more than you’ll need because, if you need to order more material, it might not color-match well.

Applying Your Wrap

Remove items that can’t be covered by the wrap, such as side markers. Clean your car’s exterior thoroughly with standard car wash and then with alcohol to prepare to apply your wrap.

Remove any backing and carefully lay the wrap down, take care not to allow air beneath the wrap as you go. Make sure not to overstretch the vinyl. If you do, you’ll ruin its appearance and potentially tear the wrap. When you’ve completed the application, use a knife to cut away excess material.

The final step is post-heating the wrap. For this, we recommend using a sun-gun. This step is crucial for long-term adhesion, so don’t skip it.

Enjoy Your New Look!

Wrapping has become popular with exotic collectors who wrap their new cars upon purchase, only to remove the wrap before selling the car. The pristine factory paint, preserved beneath the wrap, makes sure they get top price.

You don’t need a brand-new exotic to enjoy a wrap, just express yourself and be happy about how awesome your bimmer looks!