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.

7 Ways to Drive Improve Your BMW Driving

Driving is a great experience, but there are always ways you can make it better, especially if you’re enjoying a luxurious ride behind the wheel of a BMW.  If you’re not sure where to start, you’re in luck.  We’ve gathered a list of seven things you can do to drive your BMW a little better.

  1. Don’t Drain The Tank

This is especially important for the BMW 3 series, but you should keep it in mind for all of your BMWs — don’t run the car until the fuel tank is empty. There are much better ways to get some weight reduction. The fuel pump itself is inside the tank and is cooled by contact with the fuel — running the tank empty damages the fuel pump and can lead to an expensive and time-consuming repair.

  1. Eco Pro Mode for Winter Driving

We all love the traditionally turbocharged BMW engines, but that extra torque and spin put you at risk for getting stuck on snowy or wet roads.  No one likes the Eco Pro mode for standard driving — it makes your gas pedal feel heavy and you don’t accelerate as fast — but it’s ideal for wet or snow-covered roads.  You might accelerate a little slower, but it keeps you from spinning off into snowy oblivion.

  1. Pick the Right Shoes

Believe it or not, the shoes you wear can affect how you drive.  A good pair of driving shoes should securely fit on your feet but remain thin enough you can feel the car as you shift the pedals.  A good pair of Dockers will do the trick, and won’t break the bank either. They’ll allows you to get more responsiveness out of your car by providing tactile sensation and information through the bottom of your feet.

  1. Drive Defensively

When you’ve got the power of a BMW at your fingertips, it can be tempting to drive aggressively — speeding, accelerating quickly or braking heavily — simply because you can.  Not only does this put you at higher risk for an accident, but it’s also actually compromising your fuel economy. Studies have shown this type of driving lowers your fuel efficiency by up to 30 percent on the highway and up to 40 percent in city traffic. Drive safely and defensibly to improve your car’s fuel efficiency.

  1. Don’t Grind Your Gears

A manual transmission can take your driving experience to a whole new level, but only if you actually know how to drive it.  Grinding your gears, in addition to humiliating yourself, damages your transmission.  Shift properly, and avoid things like engine braking — shifting to a lower gear at high speeds to force the engine to slow the car down without pressing the brakes.  Yes, it is effective at slowing the car down, but it damages the car and leads to premature breakdowns.

  1. Stow the Cell Phone

This should be a no-brainer but it happens so often it bears repeating. Don’t mess around with your cell phone while you’re driving.  Distracted driving leads to more than 1.5 million accidents every single year — you can’t drive your BMW better if you’re watching a junker tow it away after you’ve totaled it. Stow the cell phone and if you absolutely need it, such as for navigation, use it in hands-free mode and stick it on your dashboard.

  1. Take a Class

If you’re like most of us, it’s been a while since you had a driver’s ed course — so you could probably use a refresher.  You can look into performance driving schools if you want to learn how to get the most out of your BMW, or you can simply look into your local DMV’s defensive driving course. Either way, you’re getting your skills refreshed, learning new skills and as an added bonus — many defensive driving courses qualify you for lower insurance rates!

Getting behind the wheel of a BMW should be something you enjoy — so take the time to become a better driver so you can enjoy it for many years to come.

How to Keep Your BMW From Getting Scratched

Purchasing a BMW is an investment, whether you’re buying one new off the lot or getting one secondhand. The last thing you want on your new, or new-to-you, BMW are scratches on that beautiful paint job. How can you keep your BMW from getting scratched, even if you drive it every day?

Don’t Skimp on the Car Wash Supplies

It might be tempting to wash your new BMW with whatever you have on hand — even if that’s just dish soap and an old washcloth.

Stop right there — especially if your car is a darker color.

For one thing, dish soap is designed to be a degreaser. It’s good for getting baked-on food off your favorite pans, but not so good for your car’s finish. It will strip away anything that’s protecting your paint job.

Invest in some good car wash soap, and use high-quality microfiber cloths to wash your car. If you’ve got two buckets handy, set one up for your dirty rinse water and one for your clean soapy water. That keeps any dirt or debris you wash off the car from sticking to your washcloth or sponge and scratching the paint.

Dark cars are the worst for this sort of thing — it doesn’t take much to get myriad cobweb-like scratches on your car’s surface. Be careful, and don’t be cheap with your supplies.

Be Sure to Apply Wax

A good car wax is a must to keep your paint protected. Think of it as sunscreen for your car. You wouldn’t go to the beach without protecting your skin, so you shouldn’t take your car out without protecting it as well.

Pick a good-quality wax you like and make sure you reapply it a few times a year. If you’ve got a black or darker-colored car, look for a wax that’s designed for darker paint. Not only does it protect better, but it’s also formulated to make your car look downright stunning.

Be Smart When You Park

Be prepared to walk — your parking skills might be great, but you can’t vouch for anyone else in any given parking lot. Instead of putting your paint job at risk by parking close to the store, park further away, where there are fewer cars. Sure, you’ll have to walk a bit more, but it’s worth it to keep some random person from knocking into your bumper or dinging your car door when they open theirs too hard.

This is especially important when it comes to long-term parking, such as at the airport. If you’re going to park for a while, make sure you pick a reputable parking lot, and put a good layer of wax on your car before you take it in. It might not be able to stop a determined vandal, but a good layer of wax can shrug off an accidental door ding or other minor contact damage.

Empty Your Car

This should be something you do no matter where you park. If your car is somewhere that is frequented by people, make sure you take all your valuables and belongings out of it before you park. Thieves aren’t trying to protect your paint job when they’re breaking into your car to steal your phone, tablet or laptop because you left it in plain sight.

Take everything with you — even chargers. If you absolutely must leave your valuables in your car, place them in your trunk or somewhere else completely out of sight. You can also opt for a car safe that you can use to lock up your belongings while you’re away.

Sometimes, taking care of your paint with a good wash and wax is all you need to do to keep your BMW from picking up a few stray scratches. It won’t prevent humans from intentionally damaging your car, but it does wonders to protect against accidental damage and regular wear and tear so you can drive your favorite BMW anywhere and everywhere.

How to Get the Most out of Your BMW’s Engine

BMW has always been known for powerful, high-quality engines, but no engine will keep running forever without a bit of maintenance and some TLC. What do you need to do to get the most of out of your new or new-to-you BMW engine?

Change Your Oil

Changing your oil is one of the most important things you can do to keep your engine running smoothly for as long as possible. You don’t need to change it every three months or 3,000 miles, though — that’s a sales gimmick to make you spend more money than necessary.

You might hear a rumor that you can go 15,000 miles between oil changes for a BMW, but this isn’t true either. While newer models can go up to 10,000 miles between changes, the manufacturer recommends an intermediate oil change somewhere in the middle to make sure everything is running smoothly. Plan on changing your oil every 7,500 miles or so.

Invest in Good Engine Treatments

A good engine treatment can give your oil an edge and help you get the most out of your engine.  Depending on the formula to the individual treatment, it can improve the lubrication of your engine oil, protect your moving parts from dirt and engine debris and even improve gas mileage.

It is important to note that not all engine treatments are created equal and there are tons of them on the market right now. Most auto parts stores have an entire wall dedicated just to engine treatments, so do your research to find out which treatment will work the best for your individual engine needs.

Don’t Buy Cheap Filters

When it comes to filters, you definitely get what you pay for.  Cheap filters clog quickly and have to be replaced more often, which can bog down your engine and, if left in place too long, potentially cause damage.

We’re not saying you have to drop a ton of money on a high-end reusable K&N filter or anything — just don’t buy the cheapest filters on the shelf, because you’ll end up regretting it. Think of car filters as you would shoes: you can spend $100 on a pair of sneakers that will last you a year or you can spend twenty bucks five times on cheap sneakers that hurt your feet and wear out after a month or two.

The same thing applies to filters.

Pick a Specialist, Not Your Neighborhood Mechanic

One of the best things you can do for your BMW is to drive right past your neighborhood mechanic and instead head to a local BMW specialist. Not only will they have a better idea of the kind of treatment your BMW needs, but they’ll also have easier access to the replacement parts and equipment you need to ensure your car keeps running for years to come.

A BMW is a good car to invest in if you want something that will see you through many years of daily driving — but no car can survive if you don’t take care of it. Keep these tips in mind to get the most out of your BMW engine.