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 Improve Your Bimmer’s Gas Mileage

We all love our BMWs — they’re fantastic and powerful cars, but they don’t always have the best gas mileage due to their large engines and heavy frames.

If you’ve got a favorite Bimmer in your garage but aren’t driving it because of the rising price of gas, what can you do to improve your car’s gas mileage? Here are four tips.

  1. Drive Smart

Believe it or not, a lot of your car’s gas mileage depends on how you drive it. Having a lead foot on your gas pedal can both reduce your car’s overall fuel efficiency. Keeping it to the speed limit might annoy the other speed junkies on the road, but it can help improve your car’s gas mileage.

Leaving your windows down can also reduce your car’s gas mileage. Your Bimmer is designed to be aerodynamic, and that includes closed windows — messing with your car’s aerodynamics can cost you. If your air conditioner is broken, that’s a different story — no one expects you to lock yourself in a sweltering car — but if it works and you’re trying to improve your gas mileage, keep the windows up.

  1. Air Up Your Tires

Keeping your tires at the proper pressure is vital for more than one reason, but it can also help you improve your car’s fuel efficiency. If your tires are a little flat, it makes your engine work harder to push the car forward. A harder working engine burns more fuel.

Also, adequately inflated tires wear out quicker and might have trouble gripping the road. If your Bimmer’s tires are nine psi below the manufacturer recommended specs, it can cost you nearly $250 a year in fuel, depending on fuel costs at the time.

  1. Schedule a Tune Up

You should be keeping up with the maintenance on your car anyway, but if you haven’t scheduled a tune-up in a while, it could be costing you extra dollars at the pump.

A set of old spark plugs can cost you more than $500 a year in wasted fuel. Replacing a dirty air filter can save you upwards of $350. Changing your fluids regularly and making sure that they’re topped off before you drive can also help save you some money by allowing your engine to run more efficiently.

If you’re a little overdue on your tune-up, it’s time to schedule one or get to work. Not only will it make your car run better, but it can also help you save a bit of money at the pump.

  1. Go Extreme

Hypermiling, or extreme driving techniques, can help you save quite a bit. According to the MythBusters, you can increase your cars gas mileage by a whopping 70 percent by employing some or all of these techniques — though they’re not always practical.

Hypermiling includes:

  • Never driving faster than 45 miles per hour
  • Removing your side view mirrors to improve car aerodynamics
  • Shutting off your A/C but keeping the windows rolled up
  • Turning your engine off at red lights
  • Drafting, or driving as close to the back of a tractor-trailer as safely possible

While you might not be able to do all of these safely — no one wants to try to drive 45 miles an hour on the interstate, after all — a few extreme measures could save you quite a bit of money on your next trip to the gas station.

Even if you’re not drafting behind a big rig, there are plenty of ways to help you save a little bit of money while you’re filling your tank. Just remember, no savings are worth your life. Be safe no matter what you choose to do to increase your Bimmer’s fuel efficiency.

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!