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 Not Crash Your First BMW

Congratulations — you just signed on the dotted line and got to take home your first BMW. It’s so tempting to put the pedal to the metal and see what your new car can really do — but the last thing you want to do is crash your new car right after you pick it up! Here are a few tips and tricks to help you keep your new BMW on the road.

Know Your Car

Before you get behind the wheel, make sure you do some research on your new car. What is its top speed? How fast can it go from 0 to 60? What about stopping distance? If this is your first time owning something quick, you might be shocked at the difference between this and your old clucker.

While you probably won’t be trying to break that speed record, it’s still a good idea to know what your car’s capabilities are before you start driving it. It lets you know what to expect when you take off from a stoplight or have to slam on the brakes to avoid a distracted driver in front of you.

No Lead Feet

The BMW M5 30th anniversary edition can do 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds, with a top speed of 199 miles per hour. Even if this isn’t the model that’s sitting in your garage, chances are your BMW has more power than you’re used to in a car. Take off your lead boots and drive smart — you’re not going to hit that top speed on your daily commute or anywhere else unless you’re on a track, so stick to the posted speed limit when you’re on public roads. It can be tempting to push it on a straight highway, but remember you’re not the only one on the road.

No Distractions

It’s important to remember this anytime you’re driving, but it’s especially important if you’re behind the wheel of a powerful car like a BMW — be aware of your surroundings. Don’t let an accident on the side of the road, your favorite jam on the radio or a lovely sunrise distract you from driving. In this same vein, leave the cell phone in your pocket or your glove compartment. Distracted driving was responsible for 3,450 fatalities in 2016. And according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 83,000 accidents each year are the direct result of people driving while sleep-deprived. Driving without sleeping for 24 hours slows your reaction times — it’s roughly equal to a 0.10 blood alcohol level.

Don’t Show Off

Just search YouTube for “BMW Show Off Fail” and you’ll find hours of footage that is fun to watch but not so fun to be a part of. If this is your first time in a fast car, you might be surprised at how many people want to race you at a stoplight. It might seem like a fun challenge, but the pride you get from beating someone off the line isn’t worth the dozens of things that could go terribly wrong.

Getting your first BMW is an awesome experience, but you want to make sure you’re driving safely. The last thing you want to do is have to tow your BMW to the shop because you crashed it. Don’t speed, don’t get distracted and don’t open up that throttle unless you’re on the track. BMWs are powerful, but that power can be dangerous in inexperienced hands. Other than that, enjoy your new BMW and the fantastic comfort and security it offers — you’ve earned it.

How to Stay Safe Working on Your BMW

Working on your car is a great hobby — and a great way to save money on car repairs — but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful.  Here are three tips and tricks to help you stay safe while you’re working on your BMW.

  1. Invest in Jack Stands

Your car probably came with a spare tire, a lug wrench and a half-way decent jack to get it off the ground — but that isn’t all you need to stay safe.

If you’re going to be working on your car regularly, invest in a good set of jack stands or blocks, and don’t ever get under your BMW if it is just up on a jack. It doesn’t take much to knock a car off a single jack, and you don’t want 2000+ pounds dropping on your head while you’re trying to change your oil or swap out your starter.

Invest in jack stands — they could save your life.

  1. Make Your Garage Safer

If you’re working on a car, chances are you’re either in your garage or driveway. Working in a garage can present its own hazards, so it’s important to be aware of them.

First, get your garage door inspected and repaired if necessary. Garage doors are involved in more than 30,000 injuries every year, so having it checked by a professional can help to prevent injuries.  It also helps to ensure your door will open and close properly, so you don’t end up with your project car stuck in the garage.

Don’t ever start your car — even for just a few minutes — with the garage door closed. It might be tempting, especially if it’s excessively cold or hot outside, but it puts you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. If you expect to have to run your car with the door closed, invest in a high-end ventilation system to ensure no car exhaust gets a chance to build up in your garage.

Keep your tools organized and your floor clear. Get rid of any potential trip hazards you might not see if you’re focused on your repair job.

  1. Be Aware

Even if your car is off, under the hood can be a dangerous place.  Be aware of other potential dangers, including:

  • Spinning Fans: Your radiator fans can keep spinning for 15 to 20 minutes after the engine is shut off to facilitate cooling, and a swiftly spinning fan can easily cause lacerations. Be cautious when working with these fans or pull their relay to ensure that they won’t be spinning while you’re working.
  • Radiator Caps: Coolant gets hot when your engine is running — sometimes upwards of 230 degrees F — and the system is under high pressure while the engine is running and for some time after you shut it off. Don’t crack the radiator cap when the engine is hot if you can avoid it.
  • Fuel Lines: Fuel lines are pressurized, so if you need to remove them for whatever reason, make sure you release the pressure before you start disconnecting things. Spilled fuel is a fire hazard, especially if you’re working with electricity or anything else that generates sparks.

Take the time to be aware of the hazards that come with working on your car. Even something as simple as a spinning radiator fan could send you to the hospital for stitches if you’re not careful.

We all love working on our cars, but no one likes having to spend time in the hospital because we’ve injured ourselves while trying to repair a project car. Stay safe and enjoy working on your BMW. A busted knuckle is a badge of honor, but a hospital bill because you couldn’t be bothered to invest in jack stands is not.

Tips for working at a BMW dealership

Building your own cars in your garage can be a great way to learn the ins and outs of automotive engineering, but it usually won’t get you close to any new luxury cars. If you want to get closer to your favorite car brand, try getting a job at one of their dealerships. If you love luxury cars but worry you’ll never afford one, getting in on the ground floor at a BMW dealership is a great way to make that dream a reality. Plus you’ll get to spend all day around your favorite cars.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you land a job at a BMW dealership and how to succeed once you are hired.

Remember Your Job Interview Class

Applying for a job at a BMW dealership isn’t something you can do by walking in off the street and asking for a job — especially if you slum around the city in cargo shorts, a t-shirt and sandals. Think back to your high school job interview class — if you were lucky enough to go to high school before they got rid of those life skills classes. Some things that will make a huge difference are:

  • Your Appearance — They say dress for the job you want, so if you want a job at a BMW dealership, you need to dress it up. Take a peek inside the dealership to get an idea of what the average person there wears. You’ll want to go business professional — suit and tie — to create the best first impression even if you end up working as a porter in cargo shorts and a polo shirt.
  • Your Resume — Have a neatly printed one-page resume handy, even if you had to submit one during an online application.
  • Your Knowledge — Most of what you need to know for a dealership job you’ll learn on the job — but don’t walk in without some knowledge of the brand or the different models available. Take the time to study up.

Don’t be unprepared if you do manage to land an interview.

The Interview

An interview at a BMW dealership will be pretty straightforward. You will receive questions regarding your work history, your professionalism and work ethic, and your knowledge of the brand. Most interviews will be a one on one between you and a hiring manager. In addition to two interviews, you will likely need to complete a personality assessment and, depending on the position you apply for, a skills assessment as well.

As with most modern jobs, a career with BMW is also contingent on a drug screening and criminal background check.

It’s a good time to get into an automotive-adjacent career — car sales and other automotive services were an $862 billion industry in 2015. This is a nearly seven percent increase from the year before.

Expect to Start at the Bottom

Don’t expect to walk in the door and immediately start making over $100,000 a year. This is one of the few industries you can start at the bottom with the ability to work your way up — so expect to start at the bottom. You may want the role of a BMW salesman, but the best way to make it into that position is to start small — apply for a job as a lot porter or a car detailer. This is a great way to showcase your work ethic and professionalism. Impress your immediate supervisors, and you may find yourself on the fast track to sales or even management, depending on where your skills lie.

Working for a BMW dealership is a great way to be around the cars you love while still building a profitable career. Be professional, dress for the job you want and whatever you do, don’t peel out with a customer’s car in the parking lot — at least not where anyone can see you.