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 Prevent Rust on Your BMW

In the history of the automobile, more prime specimens have probably fallen victim to rust than any other single cause of death. Oxidization can be difficult to avoid if your car makes its home somewhere near water or where cold weather requires many miles of driving on salted roads, but you can take steps to prevent this car cancer from setting in.

BMWs aren’t known for having particularly thin skin, but they are as susceptible to rust as the average car, and as any bimmer owner will tell you, that’s not a good thing. They’re worth preserving, which is why you should follow these simple tips to ensure your BMW enjoys a long, rust-free life.

Seal Your Car’s Undercarriage

This is a job you can do on your own, provided you’ve got some elementary bodywork experience. You can pick up sealant at your local auto parts store, but getting beneath your ride and performing the application process safely is something that might require a professional. Make sure you’re up to the task, and if you don’t feel certain you can do it, get some help.

Keep It Clean

A clean BMW owner is a happy BMW owner and not just because your car will look better for it. Keeping imperfections and corrosive road grime off your paint will make sure your car doesn’t suffer from oxidization. All the more reason to stay up on those regular wash jobs! And once you get it clean, keep your car covered or, better yet, in a garage where it’s safe from the elements.

Treat Scratches and Chips

Paint is your best defense against oxidization, so rust begins to form where paint has worn down and bare metal is exposed to air, typically from salt corrosion. For this reason, it’s crucial you spot chips and scratches early and fill them or repaint to prevent corrosion. Rust forms quickly from these, and if you don’t know what to look for, you might not see the problem until rust is already there.

Invest in Paint Sealing

There was a time when you might have wanted to spend the extra cash, but these days, you can probably get a BMW from the factory with its paint sealed. The new stuff works, and if your car has clean paint you want to protect, applying a sealant is a great step towards doing that. The process only takes an afternoon but will keep your bimmer from rusting for years to come.

Protect Your Interior

Many BMWs come with factory floor mats that are made of soft carpet, which looks great but doesn’t defend well against the elements. If you didn’t spring for the all-weather upgrade but live in a place where salt and snow are part of your daily life, throw a set of protective rubber mats down. If you don’t, salt that works its way to your floor panels could be a silent killer.

The best way to fix a rust problem is to avoid it altogether. You don’t want to go down the perilous road of using Bondo on your BMW. Leave that for the pick-n-pull crowd to apply to old muscle cars. A few preventative steps now, and you’ll enjoy a shiny coat of paint as long as you have your car!

How to Fix Your BMW’s Windshield

Bimmers are famous for masking speed, a major factor in the unfair reputation BMW owners get for always pushing the pace in traffic. We’re not here to pass judgment about your driving habits, but if you’re going to explore the upper registers of the speedometer, we recommend making sure you have good visibility. That means keeping your windshield well maintained.

Windshield repair and replacement can be an expensive operation, and even more expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s highly recommended to do this at a shop and let the professionals do it. However, if you have plenty of experience with other repairs, you could give it a shot.

When to Make a Repair

Sometimes windshield damage can appear minor and then propagate. You can probably drive your BMW following minor window damage, but it’s best to act quickly to avoid the risk that the crack will spread. It might take some time to do, but if you don’t make proper repairs it can lead to a very unsafe driving situation.

Removing a Damaged Windshield

As with many premium brands, BMW repairs can have strangely high prices even when the work is the same for your car as the average econobox. Removing a windshield is one of these cases. So again, this can be pretty expensive if you make a mistake, which is why it’s usually better to go to a pro.

Begin by removing plastic trim and molding around the windshield using a pry tool, being careful not to damage your BMW’s finish. With this complete, use a cold knife or razor and separate the window glass and body. Cut the urethane from inside the vehicle to avoid breaking glass. Do as little damage to the pinch weld where glass and body material meet as possible.

Prepping for the Install

With your damaged windshield removed, clean the open pinch weld where the glass seats in the body. Remove any excess urethane. Add tape to any exposed metal that is not sanded, and then apply primer to the bare metal in several thin coats. This will encourage the frit band on your new BMW windshield to seat properly.

Finally, use a caulk gun to apply new urethane around the entire pinch weld. While you can use a manual gun, we recommend using an electric one to get a consistent seal and avoid air bubbles that could result in a leak down the road.

Seat the New Windshield

You’re nearly finished. With help from a friend, carefully align the new windshield with the pinch weld. Some windshield glass will include mounting blocks that will help guide you. Avoid touching the frit band, as oils from your skin will contaminate the bond between your glass and the car’s body.

You may have seen tape around the windshield of cars that have had glass replaced. This is one technique you can use to help support the glass until the urethane dries. The last step is to remove any old windshield clips and push a new gasket into place. Replace the trim around the glass, and you’re good to go.

Nice work! The price of a new BMW windshield install can exceed $1,100 in many cases, so treat yourself to a beer.

BMW Considered Most Trusted When It Comes to Driverless Tech

More people trust BMW to build self-driving cars than any other automaker, says a survey by car-tracking company Satrak. The brand from Bavaria earned the top spot over competition that included tech companies like Tesla and Uber, as well as more traditional auto marques.

More than half of people surveyed, 52%, said they would trust a self-driving vehicle from BMW. That number handily trumps the next-closest result, 39%, which went to Volvo. Also competing for the top spot were BMW’s neighbors Mercedes and Audi.

Age and Wisdom Defeat Youth and Guile

Despite offering one of the most advanced autopilot features on the market, up-and-comer Tesla only earned a 19% trust rating. It’s possible the low score is due to questionable performance from these types of systems.

Uber, who have never actually marketed a vehicle, finished a single point short of Tesla with an 18% trust rating. Google, which has invested heavily in robotics and is already testing self-driving cars in California, got only a 3%.

Location, Location, Location

Consumers seemed more inclined to trust well-established automotive brands than upstarts that might offer some experience in the high-tech end of driving automation. While the three German brands represented all performed well, Great Britain earned the highest trust rating of any country, with a score of 48%. Germany was second at 41%. Apparently, none of those polled had ever driven an MG or Jaguar.

Brands from parts of the globe less well-known for cars did not fare so well. Skoda, a Czech brand, scored a 15% trust rating, beating out French brand Citroën by a single point. When compared from a geographic standpoint, Czech cars earned a low 7% to France’s 13%.

What Will Self-Driving Bimmers Be Like?

To call BMW — or any of the brands included in this poll — low-tech is really unfair. The entire automotive industry has thrown itself at producing self-driving cars. Many brands, BMW included, have promised to deliver these game-changing vehicles by 2021.

The blue and white brand has been committed to self-driving tech for some time now. They sent a 330i around the Top Gear track under its own control as far back as 2007, and more recently taught their cars to drift themselves.

Having a reputation as a luxury brand gives BMW access to a large market of consumers interested in features like autopilot. Their line of i cars, which is expected to receive a refresher soon with the new all-electric i8, will make the perfect marketing vehicle for self-driving tech, no pun intended.

There is still a large body of consumers to win over, and BMW will have to compete with other manufacturers expected to deliver similar offerings around the same time. These include Ford, Toyota/Lexus, Tesla and Audi, to name a few.

For now, however, it seems their public is in agreement. BMW really does build the ultimate driving machine.