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.

Checklist for Buying Your First BMW

Dream cars are as many and as varied as the people who dream of them, but almost every driver has fantasized about owning a luxury car from German manufacturer BMW. While getting your hands on a brand-new BMW might seem out of reach, if the opportunity does present itself, what do you need to do first? Here’s an easy-to-follow checklist to help you navigate the purchase of your first BMW.

Know Your Credit Score

When was the last time you pulled your credit report? You might know how much money you bring home every payday, but even if you’re making $10,000 a month, you might have trouble getting your hands on the keys to a new BMW if you’ve got bad credit.

Tools like Credit Karma are useful for keeping track of your credit accounts and finding out if someone has opened a card or taken out a loan in your name, but the credit score they provide isn’t always accurate. Take advantage of the Federal Trade Commission’s offer of a free credit report once a year — you can pull one report from each of the three major credit reporting companies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) and compare them to your information.

Do Your Research

There are a lot of options when it comes to getting a new — or new-to-you — BMW. Do you want to pick up your new car at the dealership, or travel to Germany to pick it up in person? Do you want a new car or a used one? Do you want to buy or lease?

Do your research and make your decisions before you get to the dealership — or, if you’re buying used, before you meet with the seller. Not only will this help you get the car you really want, but it will also keep you from getting pressured into paying more for something you didn’t need in the first place.

Don’t Forget Insurance

BMW M2 Performance Parts

Whether you’re buying new or used, you need to make sure you have insurance before you drive away. If you’re going with a new or an expensive used model, you’re not going to want to choose one of the standard car insurance companies. Instead, find a company that specializes in insurance for high-dollar vehicles like BMWs and other luxury cars.

A good insurance policy will give you better overall protection, and keep you safe in the event of an accident or theft.

Go Certified

You might be able to find a BMW on Craigslist for a steal, but you’ve got no guarantee the previous owner didn’t ride the car hard and put it up wet, so to speak. If a new BMW is out of your price range, but you have your heart set on that German manufacturing, make sure you choose a certified pre-owned BMW. Not only do these come with a warranty and roadside assistance, but the mechanics at the dealership have inspected it and repaired any problems.

There’s nothing quite like getting behind the wheel of a BMW, especially if it’s yours. Just make sure you do plenty of research, and don’t forget to pick up a good car insurance plan to protect your new investment.

Why You Should Wrap Your BMW

We all love our BMW’s, but if you’re using yours as your daily driver, it can be difficult or even impossible to protect your paint job from the dings and scratches that come with driving down nearly every road in the world. One rock getting whipped up by the tire of a passing car can leave you with scratches and chips in your paint, no matter how careful you are behind the wheel.

One way to protect your paint job is to wrap your BMW. Why should you consider wrapping your BMW, and what will it do for your car in the long run?

What Are Car Wraps?

First, what does wrapping your car even mean?

Car wraps put a cover of formable ‘cast’ vinyl on top of your car’s paint job. A full wrap completely covers your car’s clear coat, protecting it from the elements. These wraps can last for up to 10 years — longer if your car isn’t parked in the sun — and are designed to fit over and around the curves and edges of the vehicle.

They’re frequently used for vehicle advertising — it turns the entire car into a billboard for the business that it’s representing — but solid-color ones can be a great option for protecting your BMW or any other vehicle you own.

Benefits of Car Wraps

What are the benefits of wrapping your car?

First, it can give your BMW a one-of-a-kind look. You’re not limited by the paints available for your particular model, or even the paints available on the market. You can create a look that’s completely you — whether that means you want a solid color, something flashy or to design your car to look like a Ninja Turtle…the possibilities are endless!

These wraps can also help to improve the resale value of your car. The cover creates a barrier between your paint job and the elements and can be removed without damaging the paint when you’re ready to sell the car. If you’re leasing your car, you can still use the wrap to change its color because it doesn’t violate your lease like painting does.

The benefits don’t stop there. Wraps can also let you enjoy the sleek look of a matte paint job without worrying about the paint chipping or getting damaged — matte paint jobs tend to chip because they don’t have a clear coat to protect them. And if you have minor damage or scratches on your car, a wrap can also be a great tool to hide those little nicks and prevent them from becoming a larger problem.

Whether you’re driving a BMW or an old beater, a wrap can be a great way to protect your investment while making it look awesome at the same time. Vinyl wraps are for more than just advertisements now — they can be a cost-effective way to protect your BMW’s paint job that can be removed at any time. If you’re the kind of person who would enjoy switching cars as often as you buy new shoes, you can do just that — keep the car and just change the wrap!

How to Stay Safe Working on Your BMW

We all love working on our cars, especially if you’ve got something like a classic BMW in your garage. While it can be a great hobby that saves you a lot of money in the long run, it is important to make sure you’re staying safe while working on your car.

Have Somewhere to Work

The last thing you want is to be laying under your BMW working on something, only to have someone run over your feet because you’re trying to repair your car on the side of the road or in your driveway. Before you loosen your first nut, make sure you have a safe place to work on your car. A garage or carport is ideal, but if that isn’t an option, make sure you block off your driveway to keep people from accidentally running you over or knocking your car off the jack stands.

Invest in Jack Stands

Speaking of jack stands, don’t ever get under your car if it’s just up on a jack. Even putting it up on concrete blocks isn’t enough. If you’re going to work on your car, you need to invest in a good set of jack stands that are rated for your car’s weight. These will keep your vehicle safely off the ground, and off of you, while you’re working. Unless you want your head to look like a watermelon that someone dropped on concrete — which is what will happen if a car falls on it — don’t skimp on your jack stands.

Protect Your Hearing

Engines are loud — especially if you’re under them while they’re running. Whether you’re looking for a leak or are checking your wiring harness, one thing you should definitely protect is your hearing with some earplugs. Inside a passenger car, you don’t hear much of your car’s engine noise because of sound-dampening technology that is worked into the frame, but under the hood, the engine can generate between 70 and 100 decibels of noise. Extended exposure can result in serious hearing damage, so invest in some good earplugs.

Ditch the Butts

Smoking is a nasty habit, but it can be a fatal one if you do it while you’re working on your BMW. It doesn’t take much to ignite gas fumes, turning your car — and possibly your face — into a fireball. If you have to smoke while you’re working on your car, walk away, smoke your cigarette and wait until you’re finished before you head back to work.

Of course, you can try to quit smoking. Even vaping around gasoline fumes isn’t a good idea, because the hot coil that creates your vape cloud could also ignite the fumes.

Wait for Cooldown

For the love of whatever you deem holy, wait until your car cools down before working on it — unless you really want a radiator cap embedded in the ceiling of your garage. Your engine can reach temperatures upwards of 230 degrees, and your cooling system is under pressure until the car cools off. Water only has to be 150 degrees to cause third-degree burns.

In addition to the chance of burns, your car’s radiator fans will keep spinning to help the engine cool down even after you’ve shut it off. If you absolutely have to work on a hot car, take precautions. Kevlar gloves can help protect your skin, and pulling the relay for the radiator fans can keep your fingers attached to your hands.

Don’t let this discourage you from working on your car. Just be safe so you can enjoy this fantastic hobby without ending up in the emergency room.