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.

What to Do If You Inherit a Classic BMW

No one likes to think about inheritances. They can be a fantastic windfall for many people, but to get them, someone has to die. That’s why we often don’t prepare for them, and end up scrambling to sort through the will, probate and any related inheritance paperwork. One tricky thing to navigate is car inheritance. What should you do if you inherit a classic BMW?

First, Paperwork

The first thing you’ll have to do is navigate the paperwork — which can be a pain if your deceased relative didn’t leave a will, or you don’t have an inheritance lawyer to help you figure it out.

If they did leave a will, once the will has gone through probate, all you will need is the car title and a copy of the probated will to transfer the car title into your name. Once that’s done, the car is yours.

If they didn’t leave a will, you will still need the title, but in addition to that, you will also need a letter signed by all the heirs stating the car belongs to you. If the inheritance gets contested, will or no will, you will absolutely need a lawyer in your corner to help iron out the wrinkles.

Bring the Car Home

Step two is bringing your new car home. This can be tricky, depending on where the car is and whether it is running at the time. If it drives well, you can drive it home with you. If it won’t start, you’re left either paying for an auto shipper to bring the car home to you, or renting an A-frame trailer to tow it home yourself.

Towing it yourself is the cheaper of the two options — even if your car doesn’t have the kind of towing capacity you need, renting a truck and an A-frame to tow your new car home is still more cost-effective than paying for an auto shipper.

Storing the New Car

Storage is especially important with a classic BMW — they tend to be quite popular with car thieves, so the last thing you want is to bring your new BMW home and leave it in the driveway. Make sure you have somewhere safe to store your new car before you bring it home — this could be in your garage, in a local storage unit or in a family member’s garage until you can clean all the clutter that is currently in yours.

It becomes especially important if your deceased friend or relative was a collector and you inherited a bunch of different cars. Selling a few of them is an option, but if you want to keep the collection together, you will need a large garage to store them in. Make sure you invest in a good commercial garage door, so you can easily get your cars in and out, but can also ensure your inheritance is secure.

Inheriting a car or a collection of cars can be an excellent way to get your hands on some amazing classics. Just make sure you’re prepared to navigate the inheritance paperwork and have somewhere to store them when you finally get them home.

Check out These European BMW Car Seats

Car seats are an essential tool to ensure our youngest passengers are safe and secure, especially in the event of a car accident. Unfortunately, they’re not exactly fashion-forward — most of them have kid-friendly colors and cartoon characters which can look pretty silly in your snazzy BMW. Thankfully, the German car giant is on top of that, too — they just released some BMW-branded car seats that will look good in nearly any car. Let’s take a closer look at these seats and the brilliant configuration.

This design lets you fit 3 car seats in a normal back seat, giving each one plenty of room. We just wish this happened in the US.

Baby Seat Group 0+

These car seats are currently only available in Europe, but hopefully, we’ll be seeing them in the States before too long. BMW currently lists three seats as part of its BMW accessory line — The Baby Seat Group 0+ is an infant car seat, the BMW Junior Seat Group 1 is for children from 12 months to 4 years, and the BMW Junior Seat Group 2/3 is an adjustable booster chair for children age 3 to 12 who are too large for the previous two seats.

BMW writes all the names in caps, but we felt like we were screaming so we skipped that part.

Car Seat Safety

Car crashes aren’t just dangerous for adults. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children under 13. They also estimate 71 percent of these accident-related fatalities would have been preventable if the driver adequately secured the child.

Child restraint laws might vary from state to state, but in general, you need to ensure:

  • You have appropriately restrained all children under age 4 in a car seat
  • All children under 2 are in a rear-facing car seat
  • Children over 4 but under 8 need to be in a booster seat and a seatbelt
  • Children over 8 and under 18 must be in a seat with a belt that fits properly

The American Academy of Pediatrics takes these rules to a new level to include height and weight restrictions. Toddlers up to 2 should stay rear-facing until they exceed the height and weight requirements of their infant car seat — which will depend on the exact make and model of car seat you purchase. Children who have outgrown their infant car seats should be in forward-facing car seats as long as possible.

To ensure safety in the event of a car accident, children who are too big for a car seat should sit in the backseat until they are at least 13. Most children will require a booster seat or belt positioner until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall.

Car seats don’t have to look like an eyesore in the backseat to be able to keep your little ones safe. BMW has proven that — even if you don’t drive a BMW, you might want to think about picking up one of these sleek BMW car seats for your car.

What to Look for When Buying a Used BMW 3 Series

Owning a BMW is a fantastic experience, but for most of us, buying a new one off the lot isn’t an option because of the cost. Luckily, plenty of used BMWs are on the market just waiting for you to pick them up. If you’re want to purchase a used BMW 3 series, what should you be on the lookout for? Here are four things.

  1. Cooling System Problems

The BMW 3 series is an excellent line of vehicles, but it’s notorious for coolant system failures between 80,000 and 100,000 miles. The 3 series has three main failure points: the expansion tank, the thermostat and the water pump.

If you’re getting a BMW that has more than 100,000 miles on the odometer, find out if the cooling system has ever been serviced, and how long ago the service happened. If it hasn’t been, expect to replace all three of those parts at the same time to prevent cooling system failure.

  1. Frame Damage

Older cars are always at risk for rust or frame damage, and 3 Series BMWs are no exception. If you’ve found a good car you’re interested in purchasing, make sure to have it inspected at a BMW shop or a shop that has a BMW specialist on staff.

It isn’t a deal-breaker — especially if you’ve found your dream BMW — but it is an expensive repair, so make sure you keep that in mind.

  1. Too Many Stickers

The fact that stickers are on the car isn’t going to be a huge deal. However, it could be a clue into how the car was handled in the past. If the car is covered with racing stickers, chances are it was at least autocrossed. Again, this may not be a bad thing if it was done right, but it could also mean the car was driven hard. If the car has a snarky “eat my dust” or middle finger bumper sticker, chances are it wasn’t driven at exactly the speed limit everywhere it went.

Don’t worry, though — with the right tools, removing decals and stickers is simple. All you need is a razor blade and an adhesive remover. Slide the razor blade under the edges of the sticker, then spray beneath it with the adhesive remover. Repeat as necessary until the label comes off, then use the adhesive remover again to get rid of any remaining residue.

  1. Car History

This is a given for any used car — you should always write down the VIN and research the car’s history before you buy it. A site like CarFax or other similar resources will help you discover how many owners the vehicle had, whether the mileage is accurate and how well past owners have maintained it over the course of its life. It will also let you know if the car has ever been damaged or totaled. If anything in the car’s history doesn’t add up, you know this is probably a car you should avoid.

Picking up a used BMW 3 Series is a fantastic way to get your feet wet, so to speak, in the vast pool that is owning a BMW. Just do your research before you sign on the dotted line to make sure you’re getting the most for your money and aren’t buying a piece of junk.